Going beyond sustainability

 A NEW SWEDEN makes versatile clothing that can be worn in the city or the outdoors that leave no trace on the planet. We guarantee this by being involved with all stages of the production process, from farm through to finished product.

Everything we do aims to set a new standard of sustainability.

We continually examine every detail of our business to ensure that it is uncompromising in its commitment to sustainability.

But sustainability is a huge topic, covering farming, materials, shipping, labour and more. Below is our statement on where we are on each of these items.

If you’d like more information, we’d love to help. Start a chat, or email us at info (a) anewsweden.com

Freshly shorn woollen fleece

We produce plastic-free garments.

The amount of plastic we are filling the environment with is alarming. Studies show that humans get the equivalent of one credit card of micro plastics into our bodies every week.

One of the most pervasive ways plastic enters our environment is through wearing and washing synthetic clothing, made from materials like polyester, acrylic and nylon. Microplastics both absorb and give off chemicals and harmful pollutants. Plastic's toxic ingredients don't biodegrade and may stay in the environment and continue to be harmful to all life.

None of our garments contain any plastic fibres. All materials we use are natural or derived naturally.

A hand sorting through a crate of newly sheared wool

We prevent waste of precious natural resources.

In 2016, Sweden destroyed approximately 1,500 tonnes of perfectly good wool. This is approximately 82% of the wool produced that year. At the same time, Sweden imported 400 million SEK worth of wool and wool products.

Why not use the wool that we already have in Sweden? Many say it's too coarse or too dirty. But if we design after the type of wool that exists locally, all wool could be used.

A NEW SWEDEN aims to show what wool from different sheep breeds can be used for. We do this by creating one new garment every year from a different type of Swedish wool.

Curious sheep at Norrbro Fårgård with their view

We create chemical-free clothing.

Our quality of life would not be what it is today without chemicals, but overuse of them is having an impact on our environment and on our health. Millions of chemicals are used to produce textiles from plastic materials such as polyester and acrylic.

In non-organic cotton farming, 100g of cotton requires 27g of pesticides to produce. Pesticides are having a huge impact on insect populations worldwide, which in turn has an impact on our food supply. Unfortunately only 1% of the world's cotton is produced organically today.

Even though wool naturally grows on sheep, the production chain can contain a lot of chemicals. When producing the wool yarn, many choose a Superwash, also called TEC (Total Easy Care) treatment on their wool. With this treatment the wool garments can be washed in warmer temperatures in the washing machine, and in some cases even put in the dryer. But the TEC treatment removes some of the natural properties of the wool fiber. The treatment first chemically burns off some of the natural scales of the wool fiber and then coats it with a polymer (in other words plastic). So that the fiber will not be able to attach itself to other fibers that will cause felting.

A NEW SWEDEN prefers to keep all wool natural. Since wool is naturally antibacterial, as well as odour and stain resistant, we do not need to wash our wool garments often. It’s better to hang out wool garments to air. This also saves a lot of energy instead of using the washing machine and dryer.

We have also sourced a non-chemical detergent, made from by-products from a dairy, to wash our knitted fabric prior to construction.

Ann Rudsby, one of our farmers, with one of her beloved grey sheep

We work only with farmers who care for their animals.

Wool production can involve a lot of horrible animal conditions around the world. On some industrial farms, sheep can be submerged in chemical baths to kill pests. A horrible practice named mulesing is used on Merino sheep in Australia. It involves deliberately scarring the flesh around the sheep's genitals to prevent infection from fly strikes. After a lot of media attention a few years back, many farms now offer “Mulesing free wool”. But the sheep are then instead sprayed or dipped with chemical pesticides to keep the flies away.

In Sweden we don't have these flies attacking the sheep, and mulesing has never been carried out here. The cool Swedish climate makes it easy for the farmer to avoid any chemical sprays or other methods used to keep insects away.

Sweden also has some of the strictest animal welfare standards in the world. It has the highest rating on the Animal Protection Index.

We have visited all the farmers we work with to make sure that they take care of their sheep in the best way possible.

Carina, shearing at Rudsby Jord & Skog, one of our wool suppliers

We pay for proper living wages and conditions.

The garment industry could not be profitable without underpaid labour. The Rana Plaza catastrophe brought the modern day slavery of textile workers to global attention, but little has changed since it happened.

From unsafe working conditions, to toxic chemical exposure, to being separated from their families, and not being paid enough to live on, life can be difficult for garment workers in the developing world.

While we believe it is important to people in developing nations to get more job opportunities, we have chosen to keep our production as local as possible. Both to minimize the emissions from transportations all around the world, and because we have a chance to work closer with our suppliers and manufacturers locally. We have visited them all, and know that employees in Sweden and the near European countries all have fair wages and good working conditions.

A wool sweatshirt, hanging up on a tree branch in a natural environment

Our garments are designed and made for longevity.

So much energy and resource goes into producing a single garment that it doesn't seem right to not cherish every garment that is made. Fast fashion isn't optimised to produce garments with longevity, either from a style or quality perspective.

A NEW SWEDEN does not follow the fashion cycle or trends. We offer quality clothing made to last. We intend for each garment that we make, to serve for years to come. This philosophy informs our designs, but also what styles we choose to pursue.

Our collection only consists of timeless items that are versatile enough to be used in your ensemble many times a week, for many years to come.

A NEW SWEDEN also offers free lifetime repairs, to make every garment last longer.

The road from Östersund to Vemdalen

We don’t believe in infinite growth.

Companies with investors, whether the investors are shareholders, venture capitalists or private investors, have an obligation to grow.

To grow at the rates expected of investors, demand needs to be created. In fashion, this demand can be created through trend cycles or replacement cycles. Replacement cycles can be expedited through poor quality products that require replacement sooner.

The average consumer is purchasing 60% more clothing today then they did in 2020. If this trend continues, we will need three times as many resources to satisfy the demand by 2050. This means more deforestation, more chemicals in the waterways, and more plastic everywhere.

We believe that growth for the sake of growth is fundamentally unsustainable.

At our core is the belief that a truly sustainable business needs to be structured in a completely different way to a traditional business. We are experimenting with different business models to find a way of ensuring sustainability and solvency, and we only take on investors who understand and believe in our business philosophy.

A forest in Jämtland with tall trees enveloped in mist

Continuously pursuing better.

We are always looking for ways to improve, because sustainability for us is not a box to check or a marketing campaign, it is our way of being. We rather speak about accountability than sustainability. In the end, every person and company is accountable for what they consume or produce.

A NEW SWEDEN was created to offer an option to the mass-produced clothing out there. We offer clothing made without compromises. It’s not always easy, but we must manufacture in this way in order to stay true to our beliefs and to be able to look our children in the eyes.

If you have identified anything that we can do better, please get in touch at info (at) anewsweden.com.