Sustainable Men's Denim Brand: Swonne
Sustainable Men's Denim Brand: Swonne
Designer Name: Katie Golinczak for the brand Swonne (Pronounced Swan)
Tells Us About Your Background:
I am from Surrey, England, but now currently live in Brooklyn. Back in England, during my final year of BA Honors Degree at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in Kent, I was lucky to cross paths with a teacher who inspired me to try a menswear project. Up to that point I always designed women’s clothing. As a result, I decided to design my final collection for men. After completing my BA Honors Degree, I didn’t feel ready to go out into the world and call myself a “menswear designer.” I continued my studies and completed my Master’s Degree in Fashion menswear at the Royal College of Art in London.
With menswear, I was drawn to the deep-rooted practicality and elegance of each piece of clothing. Something I felt that womenswear didn’t really have at the time. Tailored details, functional pockets, inspiring trims and thoughtful details. I started to question the contents of my own wardrobe. I would ask, why as a woman I am destined to own jeans with inefficient pockets? Jackets with no interior details? Why does menswear possess all these interesting details? For me, menswear was and continues to be about expression of functionality and lasting comfort that only gets better with time.
As a child, I had unusually long legs. Tired of wearing pants that were too short, I started to make my own pants and customize jeans to fit. I have a vivid memory of asking my mother to show me how to sew on a button. She has taught me first sewing basics and planted the seed of fashion in my life forever.
3. What was the process to start a new label?
I started the collection about a year ago, it’s very new. Though the concept of the brand has been developing in my head for many years. After fifteen years of designing menswear in the denim industry for brands such as Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos, DKNY, Levi’s, Paul Smith, John Galliano to name a few. I felt it was time to make my dream a reality and create my own brand named Swonne.
4. What inspired your collection?
The current collection is influenced by merging the opposing sensibilities of the Mods and the Rockers of London, Savile Row tailoring and motorcycle performance wear. The Mods wore slim fitted tailored suits and outfits that were more dressy and elegant. In fact they rode scooters. The rockers, wore customized denim and leather and they drove Café Racer motorcycles The collection is a blend of the two.
Swonne takes pride in designing seasonless and timeless denim pieces that are essential go-to items for every man’s wardrobe.
5. How long have you been working on it?
6. Any Celebrities Wearing Swonne?
Digby Edgley from the reality tv show “Made In Chelsea” wears Swonne and trendsetter, Bryan Griffin: https://swonne.com/blogs/press
7. Is your collection made in the USA?
Few selected styles are made in US and looking to develop that more as we move into the next season. The process is more expensive but it is more beneficial since you are closer to the product and able to check in on the sewing and washing more regularly.
8. How did you make the decision on using Eco-friendly materials?
Swonne takes pride in using return cotton in our jeans. Woven in Japan by Kurabo using unique technology and involves proactively recycling various * unused fibers (such as wasted cotton) that are generated in the cotton-spinning process.
Kurabo Denim established in 1888 is the first company to make denim in Japan that is quantifiably committed to a sustainable denim production process. Examples of some the sustainable processes used at Kurabo’s facilities include: unique spinning process that weaves recycled yarns into denim; water recycling; chemical control; eco-friendly dying; fuel reduction efficiency; solar power on premises for renewable energy; on premises effluent treatment of the dye by-products and contaminates to attain zero emissions.
In addition, each season we run limited edition styles that are garments reimaged from what aleady exists. Up-cycling pieces making them one of a kind.
Click link for more sustainability info: http://www.kurabodenim.com/pdf/sustainability_en.pdf
Click link for more about our Japanese fabrications from Kurabo: http://www.kurabo-denim.com/
9. How have you seen the sustainable fashion industry change in the past 5 years?
Yes, when I started to notice it was in 2009, that was the year that sand blasting was banned worldwide. This was huge for the denim industry as this technique created the worn in distressed look by blasting particles of sand onto a jean. This created many health impacts on the workers with many lung ailments, diseases and deaths. Since then, I started to look into more health conscious methods and focused on sustainability. MR Magazine recently featured Swonne, naming our jean the “Greener Jean.” Katie feels it’s important for every brand to pay some kind of attention to the planet, check out this article here: https://swonne.com/blogs/press/mr-magazine-denim-report-august-2018.
10. Your clothes will be sold at Brooklyn Denim Co., any other locations that your collection would be found?
It’s my first season, and still in process of working through accounts. Local boutiques in NYC and Brooklyn such as Wolf & Badger, which is located in NYC and London. We are working with accounts in Europe and hope to announce a new location in Amsterdam soon. I am starting small and focused as far as selling Swonne in stores, and of course you can shop on our website. So stay tunned to our website with updates on where to buy our product and visit our pop-up events that are currently being planned.
11. Where is your favourite place to shop?
Well, apart from NYC, I have to say the most inspiring has to be in Tokyo. This place blew me way for vintage shopping, new brands and street style. The Japanese love denim too. So I was in heaven there!
*Interview by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director, Jejune Magazine