(Excerpt from Spanish Vogue)
The Deadwood way
We strive for sustainability in everything we do. Whether we can achieve it is another matter but it’s certainly a guiding star. For us that means making use of materials that otherwise would have gone to waste. Of course, durability is also a big concern, we need to create garments that will stand the test of time and garments that when they finally wear out actually deserve repairing. But sustainability also means trying to create timeless designs that age well.
Recycled Leather for a Better World.
Our leather products are made from rescued deadstock skins, repurposed vintage clothing and upcycled post-production waste. That means for some of our production we actually chop up old leather garments that have reached their expiration date in terms of style and turn them into new beautiful jackets and accessories with a vintage soul. This not only gives the product a soft worn-in feel but also makes it a far more sustainable alternative to the average newly produced leather garment. Other times we use offcuts from the garment industry or rejected skins from the tanneries. An increased number of cut-lines in each garment enable us to use what otherwise would have gone to waste. And it adds character!
Far from fast fashion
Deadwood’s approach is far from fast fashion and anxious design. We will never be about reinventing fashion. Instead, Deadwood sets out to reinvent how we think about fashion. We are about rebooting iconic styles, gently updating them with a modern touch and inspiring customers to buy and wear consciously. Our collections are updated bi-annually and contain a large core of iconic carry-over styles, all in line with our idea of slow fashion.
Are Deadwood leather jackets environmentally sustainable?
In short, they are better than all the rest!
Deadwood’s leather jackets are made of 100% recycled leather which is our way to contribute to a saner fashion industry. However, the question is difficult to answer since the concept of “sustainability” depends on so many factors. Would it be possible to scale up our production into infinity? No, obviously our production relies on the previous production of leather garments (which is usually quite strenuous on the environment). But we believe it’s always a good thing to make use of existing resources that would otherwise have gone to waste.
What is your opinion on vegan leather?
(Excerpt from Spanish Vogue)
Felix von Bahder, co-founder and chief designer: I get asked this question a lot and I always try to explain the nuances. You see there is really bad vegan leather, not just bad because it feels cheap, is non-durable, non-breathable etcetera but also because it is really bad for the environment. This is the old type of "vegan leather" which used to be called PU leather or pleather. This is basically plastic and comes with all the downsides of plastic like non-biodegradability and some toxicity. Unfortunately, this is still the most common type of leather alternative out there. Listen, I get that people don’t want to support factory farming and if animal welfare is your top priority then pleather could be an alternative, no doubt. It’s cheap and looks almost like the real thing. But there are so much better alternatives! Because yes, there are other ways of imitating leather. Recently scientists and farmers have refined ancient methods of using mushrooms and plants as main ingredients in fabric that very much resembles the leather surface with much of its functionality. My favorite at the moment is cactus leather. This is basically a material made from harvesting the nopal cactus, a plant that requires minimal water and creates a beautiful finish. This is why we have released our cactus capsule collection!
Are there any side effects negative for the environment?
Yes, of course there are. Nobody’s perfect. We are not zero polluting; no business or person is. That being said, compared to a new leather garment from any brand out there (or a garment made from cotton or polyester for that matter), our products are made from 100% recycled leather which cuts the impact on the environment into only a fraction. That’s why we think our project is good for the world!
Why do you produce your garments in India and not in Sweden?
First of all, there is virtually no garment manufacture left in Sweden. Second of all we are happy to be working with our factory in Noida in north India. It’s a fairly small family owned business, thoroughly SMETA-audited by Sedex for working conditions as well as sustainable practices. We have become good friends with the owners and we are impressed by their mindful approach, to life as well as to garment production. No country has it all figured out, but in our eyes India is a wonderful country in many ways. And we would rather contribute to a developing economy than to “aid” an already extremely rich country like Sweden.
What are your working conditions like?
Our working conditions follow practices from the internationally recognized Standards of the ILO International Labour Organisation :
1: Employment is freely chosen
2: No discrimination
3: No child labor
4: Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
5: Payment of Living Wage
6: Reasonable Hours of Work
7: Safe and healthy working conditions
8: Legally Binding employment relationship
Do you have any certifications?
All our R-PET lining fabric is GRS-certified (Global Recycle Standard).
For the Cactus Collection are certified with OEKO-Tex Standard 100, USDA Organic, in some instances GRS (Global Recycle Standard), PETA approved etc.
With leather we are in a more difficult position as our idea of leather re-/up-cycling is somewhat rare. Due to the nature of our main material (recycled leather) neither GOTS, nor Bluesign is applicable. When it comes to Fair-trade this is all about paying farmers fair wages, but since our materials are sourced among offcuts and production waste Fair-trade certification goes out the window as well.
Again, nobody’s perfect and we’re no exception - but we think we’re onto something important and it feels great doing it!