New Generals - Ethicoolness S/S 12

How does a label define itself? How does it differ from others? What is its essence? For years, fashion labels were divided into two categories: ‘eco brands’ and ‘fashion brands’. And for a long time, that is also what they looked like, but that hasn’t been the case for a while now. The latter is particularly true of New Generals from Denmark.

Clean lines and dedication to the environment define New Generals as both: “Some tend to categorize us as an eco brand, because we do organic certified garments. But we are in fact a cutting edge fashion brand.” According to co-founder Majbrit Weidemann. “We do, in fact, exclusively use organic cotton grown under ecologically sound conditions for our collection, which includes underwear and basics. Some 95% of the upcoming spring/summer collection for 2012 consists of organic cotton with 5% Lycra, for better wear and comfort.”

New Generals has also been certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), with a registered license number, and can thus guarantee that all steps of the production process are conducted in a manner that is friendly both to the environment and to people. From cultivation through to dying, printing and general working conditions, and also including packaging and labelling. In addition, newly purchased New Generals products do not have to be washed before they can be worn, because they do not contain any dangerous chemicals.

Majbrit Weidemann established the Sort Group, a kind of creative collective involved in the fields of fashion, design, communication and art, together with her husband, Joen, in 2008. The group also includes the children’s fashion label New Generals, the design agency Sort and the online magazine solongasitisblack.com.

This is an essential aspect of this entrepreneurial couple’s stylistic creed. Long before they knew each other, both of them had a weakness for the colour black, this infatuation permeated the lives of both of them. Black is a determining factor in choosing their own clothing and is now reflected in the timeless elegance and intelligent functionalism found throughout the children’s collection. “We work on the forefront of fashion, and our designs are mostly black and grey, with big bold illustrations.”

The coming season is characterized by beetle prints for the boys and butterflies printed on the girls’ shirts so that they seem a little cuter, but still cool.

Coolness remains the central focus alongside responsible, ethical production. Majbrit Weidemann defines this more precisely: “The new thing about this is that this is not what you normally expect from an eco brand. They tend to look ‘eco’. We actually invented our own word for it: ethicool.”

Hence, New Generals is part of a young movement involving children’s fashion labels that emphasize clear-cut designs and sustainability. This movement includes many labels from Scandinavia and the Benelux countries established by parents who were looking for clothing alternatives for their own children. Now they are passing their responsible value system on to their children through their work. Quintessentially ethicool. However, Majbrit Weidemann also believes that this value system must play a role in our everyday lives. “To establish a brand for future demands, we believe you need to do both. So we do categorize ourselves as a fashion brand, and the eco part is a natural benefit.”

 

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