As a fashionista and an eco-advocate, I am absolutely in love with the Danish eco-luxury collection Noir and their newer street label offered at a more price conscious level, Bllack Noir. “We want to be known as the first brand to bring sophistication and sexiness to corporate social responsibility,” says Peter Ingwersen, founder of Noir, with a smile that exudes confidence, commitment and passion.
These days, I find that young fashion consumers are not only concerned with looking chic and stylish, but that they care deeply about corporate social responsibility. I recently had the chance to sit down with Peter during Copenhagen’s Fashion Week to talk about his inspiration for his latest collection and emerging trends in the eco fashion world.
Q: What was your inspiration in launching Noir with a focus on sustainability and eco consciousness at a time when these concepts were far from mainstream?
A: In 2005, when the idea of NOIR came to be, the zeitgeist and megatrends were environmental concerns regarding CO2 emissions and the global concerns of melting icebergs, which gave me the idea of bringing a deeper level of meaning, such as planetary awareness and corporate social responsibility into the fashion industry. I come from the fashion industry, and I knew I wanted to stay within the scope of fashion.
Q: In which areas does Noir fare best?
A: North America and Western Europe are the areas where Noir does best. This is directly related to the level of education in those regions. It requires a higher level of awareness on a larger global scale in order to make conscious purchasing decisions regarding the products we consume, such as fashion. Of course, those countries also have the level of funds required to purchase a high end fashion label.
Q: Does the concept of green fashion work as a business model?
A: Setting out to revolutionize an industry and change people’s behavioral patterns and level of awareness takes time. It’s important to take a step back and create a long-term five year plan; then execute step by step. It is imperative that innovation comes from the heart.
Q: What do you think is the hottest new trend in eco fashion?
A: Technology will save us all. I think that man-made fibers are truly amazing and will be the new hot thing in eco materials. We will all need to overcome our prejudice that natural made fibers are more ecofriendly. Producing organic cotton takes an incredible amount of water to produce, which we now know is not as sustainable as we once thought it was. I believe that man-made fibers are truly the next hot trend in sustainable fashion.
Q: The use of leather and fur is a bit challenging in some eco circles. What is your take on using these materials in Noir’s collections?
A: NOIR designs with leather and fur. We are not Mother Theresa and our focus sits with the cotton production, environmental concerns and socio ethics in the manufacturing. We cannot focus on all aspects of the supply chain. We do fashion, and secondly, we ensure a sustainable supply chain in our key focal areas. And in this order.
Peter shares his vision for a better tomorrow in the following interview:
The NOIR SS11 collection is a tribute to renew femininity, celebrating the female shape and paying tribute to all strong and beautiful women with a delicate, yet very modern silhouette and sculptural look for spring/summer 2011.
Fabrics are heavily emphasized by Illuminati II, Noir´s own organically grown and fair traded cotton from the heart of Africa, combined with a mix of the most delicate silks, laces and of course Noir’s signature styling, leather. Colors are very light and soft like nude rose shades, morning mist powder greys and hazy midnight blues set off against very strong black and clean white.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Sandja BrÃ¼gmann. Sandja is managing partner of Refresh Agency, a leading specialist PR and communications agency focusing on the green lifestyle market [LOHAS – lifestyles of health and sustainability]. She has served leading brands at the cutting edge of the LOHAS phenomenon such as GoodBelly, Crocs, Sterling Rice Group, Addis Creson, Clementine Art, FASHIONmeGREEN, SNAP gathering, Vickerey, Neve Designs and Chocolove. Sandja was born and raised in the fashion-centric and sustainability-minded Denmark. She grew up in a household run mostly on solar power by an entrepreneurial mother and an eco-conscientious father. Her career began, after receiving top honors at University of Colorado, Boulder, as a Scandinavian-focused renewable energy researcher for Financial Times, before she served as Marketing Manager for lifestyle company Gaiam. Sandja’s vibrant and passionate commitment to inspiring positive planetary change, without compromising on style, is visible throughout her work. “My passion is to bring fun, adventure, style and sex appeal to living a greener and more sustainable lifestyle,” she explains. Sandja’s aw-inspiring sense of style and her global “˜finger on the pulse’ has made her a sought after eco trend spotter. Her written work has been featured in Scandinavian PURE Magazine, IN Magazine, USA-based leading green lifestyle media EcoSalon, LOHAS Journal and Elephant Journal. Sandja is a certified yogini, a Danish national team Olympic hopeful archery champion and she adores her daily lessons as a parent. Follow Sandja
Images: Copenhagen Fashion Week