Emma Jorn may live, work, and cycle in one of the wettest cities in the world, but she’d rather get soaked than don the “practically too practical and boring” rain gear available in her native Denmark. A trip to Tokyo led the Copenhagen-based designer to create a better alternative: a line of stylish rain clothes that will “make you look like a million dollars, even on a bicycle,” she says. Takaokami, named after the Japanese rain god, marries classic Nordic aesthetics, Asian-inspired whimsy, and environmental ethics. Although the terms “‘sustainable’ and ‘waterproof’ are not natural allies,” Jorn admits to Ecouterre, she soon found a happy medium with recycled polyester. Not long after, Jorn launched her campaign to Kickstarter.
“I do not buy into the capitalist cycle of buy and throwaway culture,” she tells us. “Thus, my designs will only change slightly, evolve and adapt. There is no new collection every season, which is the normal cycle of the fashion industry.”
It’s Jorn’s hope, she says, that Takaokami will also encourage more urban commuters to choose their sneakers or bikes over their cars.
“If this could result in more people commuting by non-fossil-fuel-driven means of transportation, then I am happy,” she says. “With more and more rain to come with climate change we will have to adapt. Architects around the globe do this as we speak. They adapt. So will I.”
Still, Jorn knows she has to make certain compromises to bring her line to market. One of them is manufacturing in China, albeit in a green, ethical facility.
“I would certainly like to have the production local, where I could follow all steps and be sure that standards are splendid,” she says. “I curse the carbon-dioxide footprint stemming from the voyage of the clothes from China to Denmark but calm myself, knowing that China is adopting alternative energy sources faster than any other country.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ecouterre is a website devoted to the future of sustainable fashion design. We’re dedicated to showcasing and supporting designers who not only contemplate cut, form, and drape, but also a garment’s social and environmental impact, from the cultivation of its fibers to its use and disposal. Our ethos: To follow the evolution of the apparel industry toward a more environmentally sound future, as well as facilitate a conversation about why sustainable fashion matters.