Wyilda af Norden is a brand for women that refuse to compromise between ethics and aesthetics. This is the short answer I give to people when asked about the brand. My name is Petra and I am the CEO and co-founder of the first ever Scandinavian sustainable luxury accessories brand. We might even be the first in the World. This is a great starting position for any new company. However, being the first often means trying to change an existing paradigm, which can be very challenging at times. At www.wyilda.com you can follow our journey building a sustainable business. We will share stories and reflections on the fashion industry, give practical advice to our fellow entrepreneurs and write about things that inspire us. In this, our first, post I will reflect upon the current “fashion-paradigm” and our response to it. But first let me tell you a little bit about how we got to where we are.
It all started in Haparanda, my hometown. For those of you that never heard about Haparanda, it is a small community in the far North of Sweden. It is a dark and cold place for most parts of the year except for the summers when the sun never sets. It is a magical place that triggers your imagination and inspires greatness. I’ve always thought of Hanna, our Creative Director and co-founder, as proof of that. I still remember watching in awe as she was drawing intricate fashion illustrations. We were seven years old and I struggled drawing a house. Despite a total lack of artistic talent, in my mind I could do anything and go anywhere. Fantasies about riding foxes in far-away places kept me awake during the light summer nights. I was thirsting for adventure.
Sheltered by lush green forests, I never understood how unjust the world could be. Not before it was staring me in the eye. Somewhere along the road I realized that experiencing the world wasn’t enough – I wanted to make it better. Together, Hanna and I started envisioning a fashion brand that was built on Nordic values and principles. Hanna told me that she wanted to make beautiful patterns inspired by the world, with a hint of childhood nostalgia, and I couldn’t think of anything that made more sense. Wyilda was born.
In the North we are very simple people, with a clear understanding of “right and wrong”. This brings me back to the fashion-paradigm. A paradigm is a pattern of something. When I talk about the fashion-paradigm, I refer to the mass consumption of cheap clothes. According to our logic there is no such thing as cheap clothes. Underpaid workers laboring under hazardous conditions in fashion-factories are the ones that are left with the tab. As consumers, we also pay with our health. You wouldn’t believe how many toxic chemicals that are used in the production of clothes. Now, the first thing people should understand about paradigms is that they are hard to change. Luckily Wyilda af Norden is founded by two pigheaded women.
As we enter our thirties, Hanna and I still dare to dream big. We want to improve the working conditions of the global fashion industry and our vision is to be in complete control of our production in developing countries. This way we can guarantee the safety of our employees, offer them competitive salaries and introduce Nordic-like employment benefits on less regulated labor markets. This also ensures that production is conducted in a manner that does not inflict any unnecessary harm on the environment. We believe that leading by example is the best, and perhaps only, way to change the world and end the exploitation and abuse of millions of people working in fashion factories.
However, without your support we cannot do any of this. Be the change you want to see in the world by joining our community! A first step could be following us on social media.
Together we can color the world!