Last week I had the chance to interview Peter Simonsson, founder of the Swedish Underwear Label THE WHITE BRIEFS. I’m a fan of the label since March this year and my Summer 2013 Collection review for Kalinka.Kalinka. For Kirsten Brodde’s „Grüne Mode“ Blog I did a Q&A with Peter about the first days of his label, his own way „doing Green Fashion“, the expectation of his customers concerning Organic Material and the fact, that „Green“ is slightly named the „New Black“.
Question: Many times there is a certain moment when a designer and/or a team of creative people decide to do “fashion” with an own label. When did you and your team decide to start THE WHITE BRIEFS? And how come, that you focus on Underwear for Her, Him and the Little Ones?
Peter Simonsson: Initially, we started THE WHITE BRIEFS back in 2009, with the idea to create a compelling brand providing lush underwear and sleek functional garments. THE WHITE BRIEFS remained central to our original plan, yet we slowly incorporated a Women’s and children’s line as well, allowing for diversity and also meeting our customer demands. This, next to the extensive and edgy seasonal collaborations, further shaped our current dynamic foundation.
Question: You only use GOTS-certified materials, “sourced and selected from local eco-communities”. Where are these eco-communities located and what experiences do you have with them? Are your collections strictly “Made in Sweden”?
Peter Simonsson: All the collections are made with GOTS certified materials, focussing on sustainability and ecology. We work with selected manufacturers, all based in Europe and adhering to the highest standards. Since we work closely with our manufacturers, after the integral design process in Sweden, we aim to visit our local communities in Lithuania and Portugal, twice a year. These visits always turn into long luncheons, discussing improvements, sustainability and ecological responsibility. It is a very holistic process overall.
Question: With your special line you also create a kind of regular Menswear / Womenswear which is, like your underwear line, minimal and timeless, too. Are there any plans to do more Menswear / Womenswear in the future to be more than an underwear label?
Peter Simonsson: Indeed, we have grown towards expanding our philosophy by diversifying to new product categories. This is a very demanding, exciting and challenging process, much to our liking. It takes time, but we feel that the new additions to functional day-to-day solutions when it comes to garment innovations fit well to THE WHITE BRIEFS. Henceforth, we shall showcase our new SS14 collection in June, also featuring a new international collaboration.
Question: As a father of a little girl: Are you planning to have a kids line also for girls?
Peter Simonsson: That is an interesting question. Perhaps we shall do so in the future. For now, the focus shall however remain on our quality MENS and WOMENS collections, which deserve all our attention.
Question: What do you think about the recent developments in Green Fashion, e.g. stated as “Green is the new Black”?
Peter Simonsson: According to me, this sounds great, promising and relevant. Personally, l have been thinking about why this statement comes up only now, since it has such relevance. For it to have made a bigger impact in the struggle against fast-fashion, this should perhaps have been on the fashion agenda, since the early 90s.
Question: What are your experiences with your customers concerning “doing Green Fashion”?
Peter Simonsson: The fashion industry is interested in news, green fashion is not new, so the interest is sometimes surprisingly low when it comes to this particular topic. In my opinion it is only common sense and it should be everyone’s natural first choice. Nonetheless, we are experiencing a lean for some of our international clients towards green and GOTS certified garment only, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel, when it comes to corporate sustainability.
Question: What are your plans in general for 2014?
Peter Simonsson: As mentioned, THE WHITE BRIEFS shall present a most dynamic new collaborative collection and we shall deliver our new collection in lightweight wool. Next to this, amongst the plans for 2014 is to open our first physical brick and mortar store, to focus on the creation of more shop in shops and participate in unexpected design related events around the globe.
Text/Interview: Alf-Tobias Zahn
Fotos: Jesper Brandt // THE WHITE BRIEFS