Meet 1 People: A Fashion Brand That Cares

Meet 1 People – a fashion brand that truly cares about people, and the planet, too

By Chere Di Boscio

In these turbulent, fast-changing times, I personally hold up brands that put people before profits in higher regard than ever before. While it may be tempting to fire people to cut corners, or hire robots to do the work of humans to save money in the long run, only those fashion brands that continue to stay dedicated to people and the planet can ever be considered ‘ethical’.

And that’s one reason we love 1 People.

This is an ethical fashion brand truly dedicated to its artisans. Not only do they pay them fair wages, but they’ve also built a free entrepreneurial program called Business For Planet that aims to provide education, mentoring, startup capital and other tools for consciously minded business men and women. The brand hopes to support these small entrepreneurs to become self-sufficient, whilst acting as guardians for the planet.

Although 1 People has gained a reputation for making activewear and bathing suits from fabrics made from recycled materials, such as ECONYL, the label has recently branched out to include a line of vegan bags.

Called ‘Memorable Treasures,’ the unique silhouette of each style is the result of extensive research and innovation that borrows from the philosophy of minimalistic Danish Design. Although it’s focused mainly on neutral colours intended to match all kinds of outfits, the collection also plays with a pop of red to cater to the more daring fashionista. 

A Nod To The 80s

Styles in the collection vary from casual, oversized shoulder totes and ladylike purses to one of our favourite throwbacks to the 80’s – the belt bag.

Though the ‘fanny pack’ is now associated with large-haired ladies in Spandex, the belt bag is just as convenient as the legendary fanny pack, but with its strong lines and subtle logo, it’s a lot more elegant.

There’s something else we love about the collection, though: all the bags have been entirely designed using Piñatex, an innovative vegan textile engineered from pineapple agriculture byproducts.

The invention of Piñatex has put the ‘leather vs vegan fabrics’ debate to rest – and the vegan side wins. There’s simply no way leather even comes close to being as eco-friendly as this material. Piñatex requires no new land for planting, requires no pesticides, and very little water. That being said, it has the same feeling, durability and texture of leather – but without any cruelty to animals whatsoever.

In fact, these bags are so strong, 1 People is offering their customers a three year warranty and a 365 day return policy, showing these accessories are truly made to last.

Launched simultaneously in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Indonesia, this vegan bag collection ships internationally, and makes a strong statement by 1 People about their dedication to both people and the planet. 

Here below, I interviewed the two founders of the brand, a husband and wife team by the name of Jonathan and Rea Tjoa Algreen, to know more about the vision behind 1 People.

Meet 1 People: A Fashion Brand That Cares

Meet 1 People: A Fashion Brand That Cares

Originally, you made activewear, and now you’re moving on to bags. What’s the connection?

For us it’s about bringing fashion and lifestyle products to the conscious woman and through fashion changing the way business is done by having people and planet in mind through all processes and all decisions. This to also impact the fashion industry to show there is another way, another approach, to how fashion is manufactured and goes to market. In this way, the connection is fashion and lifestyle products made with people and the planet in mind and heart.

Some would argue that using leather remnants or organic leather is better for the planet than most vegan fabrics. Why did you decide to make your first bag vegan?

It’s actually simple. We want to have as little negative impact on the planet and nature as possible, and this also includes animals. We have found this fantastic material made of pineapple leaves that has a low impact in the farming and manufacturing processes and at the same time, we support a good, premium quality and animal-free alternative to conventional animal leather. We are very proud of the result and we have already experienced a huge interest in our new bag collection even way before launch.

What made you choose Pinatex over other eco-friendly vegan materials like cork or apple leather?

The crucial thing for us is the quality of the products and therefore also the materials, and of course also the impact on the environment. And Pinatex fully lives up to our very high standard we require for all our materials.

Meet 1 People: A Fashion Brand That Cares

Tell us a bit about Bali. What’s the brand’s history with this place? And why do you produce there?

We are a Danish design brand but we chose to set up a regional office in Bali in 2016 which were finished and opened in 2018. We have a very international work environment with people from all over the world, but of course most from Indonesia in Bali.

It’s always challenging to build international companies when many different cultures is a part of it, but we are very proud of what we have managed so far with all the good people under “the same roof.” This is what 1 People also stand for, togetherness and oneness, because that’s what we believe in the bigger scale of one humanity.

If we can’t manage to build that internally, in our own offices around the globe, how should we then ever manage to build it externally in humanity as a whole. We are truly a big family and that’s also the culture in everything we do and stand for, and people meet this from their first interview to the first day at work and as long they are a part of the journey together with us.

Who is the ideal customer for your new bag range?

She is conscious about herself and the world around her and what she wears, and she is not compromising when it comes to the unique design, the best quality and the perfect finish on the product.

Covid has affected many fashion brands. Has it impacted your label in any way?

Mainly on the event side, where we haven’t been able to making any events since the lockdowns around the globe. Since our events are an important part of our brand building and getting to meet and know our audience and community better.

This has, of course, had a negative impact not being able of using this approach for more than two months. However, the overall experience is that we haven’t been strongly negative impacted since we are still in the relatively early stages of building our brand.

Now that the world has been shaken up by the virus, where do you see the future of sustainable fashion in say, 5 years?

This is really a good question and it’s very relevant.

At the moment this question is being debated within the industry, and the same question for the climate debate is debated across countries and industries. Because of the economic challenges, there is no doubt there will be a stronger political focus on the economy short term, but I don’t think the agenda of implementing a more sustainable approach to fashion will be slowed down. However, the development on this agenda after our point of view should move much faster.

But we know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and it takes time to change things for the better. We push it forward by our own approaches by being among the first movers and showing the industry and the world that it is possible to build successful sustainable and socially responsible fashion brands with a very strong focus on the people and the planet.

If you combine this with the consumers I actually think that the crisis we have because of Covid 19 has just pushed even more people to think on alternative approaches to how we can all live in better balance with ourselves, each other and the planet.

So we are very optimistic on behalf of humanity and the planet, and we strongly believe that we are experiencing a kind of paradigm shift in how we think, consume and live, all towards bringing better solutions to the world and therefore bringing positive change to the world.

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Chere Di Boscio
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