our products are not exactly cheap. there are three reasons for that: one, we are a small label and produce small badges; two, some of the production takes place in switzerland (about 55% in terms of cost per unit in case of our boxer shorts); three, we use organic materials and the people who do all the sewing are paid fair or, as they say in romanian, echitabil wages.
the story of our boxer shorts illustrates production from three different angles:
PRODUCTION AS A PROCESS
we developed a prototype of the boxer shorts in cooperation with socialfabric.ch in zurich. the organic cotton fabric for production was ordered from turkey. in zurich, we cut the 200+ meters of poplin into screen printing friendly rectangles. siebdruck27.ch beautifully printed our designs in sweltering summer heat. all the materials and the sewing pattern, which was graded in the uk, were then shipped to romania, where maibine.org sewed the shorts. after being shipped back to switzerland we, as a final touch, embroidered the l’n’l logo on the finished product.
oh, and everything always got stuck at customs. ugh, customs!
PRODUCTION AS A RECIPE
here’s the full made in & of list (#whomademyclothes). and some explanations.
organic poplin fabric made of GOTS certified cotton: turkey
elastic waistband: austria
buttons made of nacre*: china
polyester** thread: germany
water based screen printing ink: belgium
* we thought they were organic, because we bought them from a company that sells organic materials. turns out they’re just “natural” and not necessarily organic and/or harvested responsibly. dropped the ball there. will investigate better next time.
** organic cotton thread has a lower tensile strength than polyester thread, and the seams tend to break more easily when cotton thread is used. we used polyester thread, because we think that extending clothing life-cycles has a bigger impact than using organic thread.
design: l’n’l, zurich, switzerland
prototyping: socialfabric.ch and l’n’l, zurich, switzerland
grading: gradeline.co.uk, london, united kingdom
printing: siebdruck27.ch, zurich, switzerland
sewing: maibine.org, iasi, romania
embroidery: l’n’l, zurich, switzerland
PRODUCTION AS A COLLABORATION
our production partners are:
- siebdruck27.ch (printing): Siebdruck27 is a workshop for screen printing in all shapes and sizes. they print for artists and companies alike. the lovely and experimental people they are, they put a lot of time and effort into our nonsense.
- socialfabric.ch (prototyping, liaising with mai bine): Social Fabric is a community-based organisation in zurich, that supports the use of textiles and clothing with a small ecological and positive social footprint. they kind of do it all: from offering courses and a shared working space through producing transparently and sustainably made textiles to empowering refugees through textiles. and they are very kind and helpful people.
- maibine.org (cutting, sewing): mai bine is a romanian ngo. they promote sustainable lifestyle and ecology initiatives in romania through a number of projects, and they have founded two social enterprises. the first is a vegetarian café, and the second is a textile enterprise, which promotes textile recycling and the use of sustainable textiles. since their founding, they have employed over 100 romanian youth. mai bine is a partner of social fabric. we didn’t have a chance to meet them in person, but on the pictures they sent us they seem very nice. and they have mean sewing skills.
l’n’l boxer shorts would not have come to existence without the kind support of:
- shlomberger grafik (creative conscience, photography): a one-woman graphic design outfit with a unique sense for beauty, a crazy work ethic and a company cat.
- thursday club (financial muscle behind this site): a loose but determined association of friends who sometimes eat, drink and party together (and exchange thousands of text messages about it).
- vera and reto (models): took time out of their busy lives as beautiful people to model for us on an early sunday morning.
- sonja and lidija (photo shoot location providers): kind and awake enough to let us take pictures in their very chic apartments on said early sunday morning.