How German fashion brand PHYNE brings sustainability into mainstream fashion e-commerce

Is it really sustainable to order online 10 t-shirts and return 9? We all know the answer to this question, but would you be willing to give up your right to return goods for the sake of a more sustainable world? The topic suddenly becomes quite personal, doesn’t it? So here’s the truth: sustainable fashion isn’t an easy topic”.

Guest journal Andri Stocker, CEO of fashion brand PHYNE

This simple example shows sustainable fashion’s complexity, which includes countless ecological and social aspects along the value chain, ranging from the production of raw materials all the way to product packaging. And that’s just the beginning. It also challenges many strategic aspects of a business, like customer service.

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Sustainability; it’s an endless journey

At PHYNE we create basics for men and women, distributed mainly through e-commerce platforms. It is fair to ask if fashion e-commerce per se is unsustainable, but it doesn’t solve the challenge.

Positive progress has rarely been about instant changes but about developing new and better ways of doing things. Why shouldn’t this apply to sustainable fashion? Despite all these questions one thing is for sure: turning a company into a sustainable business isn’t a digital step to take. Its many aspects make it a long journey that probably never ends. Up until today we haven’t come across a single company that claims to have reached complete sustainability. Fortunately, that’s a good thing. It forces us to keep challenging the way we do business. It keeps us receptive of changes and let’s us focus on taking the next step towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

The power of small steps

We believe in the power of small improvements. Within the past two years we have taken countless steps towards making our products and our business more sustainable.

We’ve added new materials, like organic cotton and tencel to our collection and adapted the full value chain to GOTS requirements (GOTS = global organic textile standard). We’ve also made some radical decisions regarding our product strategy. As of today, every new product has to be sustainable and durable enough to remain in our collection forever. This not only motivates us to produce a high quality product, but also allows our manufacturers to break away from the stressful business of fast fashion, where collections come and go within only 3-4 months.

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“Every new product has to be sustainable and durable enough to remain in our collection forever”

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Feeding our ego with sustainable fashion

We’ve learnt that sustainability is not easy and that it takes countless small steps to become and remain a sustainable fashion brand. But how does this change main-stream fashion e-commerce?

Here’s another truth: It doesn’t! Even in a truly social economy, where people care about others and the environment, some decisions are still strongly driven by a person’s ego. Buying a fashion piece is definitely one of them. Only a small fraction of the market buys fashion because it’s good for others. Most buy fashion because they want to look good, feel comfortable, appear special … you name it.

So if a fashion brand wants to foster sustainability it also has to satisfy the ego’s desire to look good. And that’s the core of what we do at PHYNE. We develop high quality basics that underline your smart and modern personality instead of counteracting it. That’s how we open the door to mainstream fashion and have a sustainable impact through our business and our products.

> PHYNE is available at its own webshop, but also at e-commerce platforms like Zalando.

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About Andri

This guest columns is written by Andri Stocker, CEO of PHYNE. With a track record in finance he decided to embark on his entrepreneurial journey in 2012 when he joined a young big data technology startup. He started his first company in herb-based products in 2015 to promote tastier and healthier nutrition and co-founded PHYNE in early 2017. With his curiosity for the unknown and a passion for inventions, he aims to bring sustainability into the mainstream fashion scene.

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