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Sustainable streetwear brand unless first launched in Portland – WWD

NS Street clothing The brand has from the start billed as “Sustainable Supremacy” launching its first collection on Friday, and it’s about fun, not just sense.

With all plant-based products that decompose at the end of their life, Unless working hard to bring Sustainability a type of swag that it doesn’t have yet. And co-founder Eric Liedtke’s way is not the way to “wake up” other eco-service providers.

“Ideas are how you do things.” Sustainability great instead of always walking in with your fingers waving, [saying] “We should feel really bad, we should feel really bad right now because COP26 is a failure and all of this is happening here,” he told WWD before the drop. and ahead of Friday’s launch party in the startup’s headquarters city. of Portland, Oregon. “Yes, all of those things may be true, but we are going to provide a positive solution to them so that people can take advantage and feel good about being a part of the change they want to see. .”

The approach is to put style before sustainability because that’s still what consumers connect to first – sustainability is a reward from a brand that believes it’s the right thing to do. And because Street clothing is about culture, subculture and counterculture, community and collaboration tied to the business model Unless, that’s why brands keep the small and local things in their promotion products made from things like cotton, Tencel, corozo beads for buttons, and all with a promise of zero plastic waste. (Its website reads: “Every drop is made of elements, for elements, and is designed to return harmlessly to elements.”)

“Every order, I send an individual [handwritten] Note how much we appreciate their support in making things better,” said Liedtke. “It’s just trying to do some small things that add a lot of value.”

This first sale, unless the first sale (after a soft launch earlier this month), lends itself to a “street-by-street, block-by-city” approach to branding, introduced products in the line, including parachute jackets and three Dr. , as well as TS and jacket made in collaboration with Portland creators. After Portland, Unless will show off its sustainable streetwear, followed by city collabs in Atlanta and Los Angeles and beyond.

“The idea is that cities give us inspiration and communities to tap into, and our job is to be honest about those cultural insights and present them in a way that doesn’t distort, ‘ said Liedtke.

To approach things authentically, Unless has tapped streetwear veteran, creator and storyteller Frank Cooke – who is credited with designing his past sneakers for Jordan. Brand – to manage the PDX drop. Cooke, as well as three other collaborators, have each designed a limited edition product Except that speaks for themselves and the city they live in.

Frank Cooke wears "Bury me" t-shirt for Unless

Frank Cooke wore his “Bury Me” t-shirt design for Unless.

One of Cooke’s designs sets the tone for Friday’s launch festival – which will be held at Portland Pearl County’s Pomarius Nursery, easily marking the first time a streetwear brand has participated. a botanical house – with the words “Bury Me” on the headboard by tattoo artist and hand-drawn leaf illustrator BJ Betts.

“We’re running with a slogan like, ‘Bury me.’ So it’s like burying me in this shirt but like a pun because it’s biodegradable. We just wanted something jarring to get people’s attention because if you see someone walking around with that shirt on, that could be a good conversation starter,” Cooke said. . “I just really want to educate more people about plastic waste and you know, just want to get it out there… I think Portland is going to be different and I’m excited about that.”

As Liedtke added, “Here’s a really cool idea: decomposition products at the end of life – guess what else decomposes at the end of life? We do. Therefore [Cooke’s] like, ‘why don’t we talk about you being buried in this shirt?’ … It gives streetwear an edge where it has an attitude to it, where the first reading won’t be like, ‘oh, that’s a sustainable brand. ‘”

Quanie, also a tattoo artist and illustrator who was part of the PDX drop, created a design channel “Exotic Fruit”, as Cooke explains, “”Exotic Fruit” by Nina Simone [song] But also talking about GMOs is the same as in our community, just not the best food out there, you know what I mean? So he wants to talk through that. ”

Unless the man who collaborated with the Portland brand wears the Exotic Fruit design on his jacket

Tattoo artist and illustrator of Quanie’s “Exotic Fruit” design for Unless.

Each creator brought their own graphics Unless the blanks (t-shirts and jackets) with no branding are prohibited.

Admittedly, giving new collaborators the freedom to edit gave the new brand a bit of a pause, according to Liedtke, who previously served as Adidas’ brand president.

“We squeezed our hands a little bit into some of the work because it was like, ‘Is it ours?’ And Paul Gaudi [our cofounder and creative and innovation officer] very clearly, it’s not about us. We gave the platform, we gave up control and let the creators create,” he said. “And that’s what Frank took and really ran with and he managed it for us. And then there’s the event about celebrating that. “

Friday’s Pomarius event promises tunes from DJ Nature (real name Milo Johnson) and Statik Selektah (Patrick Baril), food (matching the theme, all plant-based), custom tweaked t-shirts, screens featuring Unless Ts in multiple stages of decomposition to bring the plant-based score home, and a little branding in the background for the expected guest list about 250 people. On Saturday, the space will open as a pop-up retail for local shoppers.

‘We’re making it interesting. Once again, we’re trying to represent the community,” Liedtke said, noting that Unless you want to avoid going the way most brands go, those brands often skip intimate events and events. less famous influencers in favor of everything famous. “We’ll be there to talk about the product, we’ll be there to talk about the good it has to offer, the ‘Bury Me’ kind of tongue and cheek tip that’s a great idea and by it says benefit the product – so finding the appeal of that product and that’s fun. Storytelling is 90 percent of this game. ”

Unless the PDX city sale hits shelves on Friday and will sit with a handful of logo t-shirts and flannel jackets (priced from $50 for the Ts to $159 for the jacket). ) that the brand launched earlier this month.

So far so good for the startup, the company is determined to expand its reach without shrinking its commitment to making better products.

“It’s been less than three weeks since we started testing the site so it’s still early days, but I have to say we’re meeting expectations,” said Liedtke. “It’s a start-up, yes, three steps forward is two to four steps back and so you’re learning a lot every day. But I think what’s great is that we get great feedback about our product, we get great feedback from our consumers, we get interest from the right people, and now the problem is. The point is just to really get the brand to a wider audience and start presenting itself in all the different establishments it has, so not just a sustainable one but a time one. street page. ”



https://wwd.com/sustainability/business/unless-collective-sustainable-streetwear-brand-plant-based-erik-liedtke-1234999064/ Sustainable streetwear brand unless first launched in Portland – WWD

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