We are living in a world where companies are deeply rooted in a linear approach of growth: make, use, and dispose. Yet, to create a better future, we need to redesign every single part of our lives. We understand this all requires both systemic and cultural change, and at the same time, every decision towards circular ecosystem matters.
We need to shift our focus from designing products to designing ecosystems. We must find ways to create value for every player in the wider ecosystem, and nature is our most important stakeholder.
For this circular economy article, we wanted to interview Seija Lukkala the Founder of Globe Hope.
"The world does not suffer from the lack of material but the lack of mind. Being innovative and full of fresh thinking Globe Hope came up with the idea of fabric redefined." - Globe Hope
Globe Hope is a sustainable forerunner brand from Finland that is known for its positive social and ecological impact. Since 2003 they have created design items that require no new raw materials.
Interview with Seija Lukkala
What gave you the spark to create a brand based on circular economy in 2003?
At the beginning of the millennium, fast fashion was rising and becoming an alarming trend in Finland and the world. I had been working in the textile industry for years, and this new way of consuming cheap and low-quality apparel gave me chills and made me think it's my responsibility to do something about it. Globe Hope was launched from the idea to create design products from textile waste and became a Finnish pioneer in the circular economy.
What has been the best in leading a sustainable brand for almost 20 years? And, what has kept you motivated?
What always motivates me, is the hope for a better future. To see the consumers or other businesses become more sustainable and contributing to circularity, makes me feel like all the hard work matters. During these years, we've worked together with numerous companies with textile waste and leftovers, saving tons of usable materials from being burned or discarded. Only thinking about it, keeps me motivated.
What have been the biggest challenges?
Being a forerunner in circular fashion has not always been easy. We started at a time, when sustainability was only at the level of thought in Finland, especially in the textile industry. When our first recycled clothing collection was launched in 2003, it received a mixed reaction: sustainable consumers loved it, but at the same time the fashion industry was outraged. From the start until today, we've had to fight our way forward.
Sometimes, it's a challenge to compete with other brands that create their products from virgin materials. Using only recycled materials is more challenging, as the materials are limited, varying, and sometimes need careful sorting and cleaning. This makes the process more time-consuming and we can't always produce enough items to meet demand.
How do you source your materials, and is it easy to find surplus materials?
Most of the materials we use come from Finnish companies and factories. Exceptions are the materials sourced from the military of Sweden, and the recycled yarn from India, that we use in our clothes.
Unfortunately, the world is still full of abandoned materials and our Nummela warehouse has an abundant stock of different fabrics, waiting for their second chance. Sometimes it takes time to find suitable materials for specific designs, and the design process a lot of times is done in terms of the available materials.
How do you see the future of the garment industry?
After all these years, I still have hope. I envision a world where circularity and sustainability are norms, also in the fashion industry. It won't happen in a short time frame, but I strongly believe we are going in the right direction. There is an increasing number of innovative companies trying to solve the environmental issues caused by the textile industry. With the hard work and co-operation, there's a chance to make an impact.
What would you like to say to our readers to encourage them to take action for a better future?
Large rivers are formed from small streams. Every action matters, and only with easy steps, you can already make a difference. By taking actions for the future, you don't only take actions for yourself, but for the generations after.
We hope you feel as inspired about the future as we do after reading this interview. Globe Hope is one of the pioneer textile companies in Finland, and there are many things we can learn from their example when creating a more sustainable future. As Seija said, there is still hope, and together we can make a difference.
Népra is an activewear brand that does good. We think charity work is part of a sustainable business and doing good is in Népra’s DNA. This year, we will continue to work with the John Nurminen Foundation to help protect the Baltic Sea. For every product sold online, we donate 50 cents to charity. Read more on the Speak Of The Frog Népra blog.