Behind The Collection: Cheap Monday Goes Sustainable

  • Style
posted by James Willmott

Sustainability: avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

Leaders in the denim game, Cheap Monday have hit the market with their latest collection, this time with a strong message we can all get excited about; sustainability. A concept and value very close to heart for the Swedish label, the brand is proud to have implemented several key aspects to help minimise their environmental impact through careful modifications involving production, design, materials and shipping.

Cheap Monday’s proud brand ambition says it all – “to be the most relevant and sustainable jeanswear brand on the street”. Now dedicated to using recycled, raw supplies to form eco-friendlier materials across their collections, all while improving labor and shipping techniques, the secret is out – why sliding on a fresh pair of jeans or throwing a jacket over your shoulders never felt so good!

To learn more about the brand’s sustainable range and the specific details behind it, we caught up with the brand’s Marketing Director, Rocky af Ekenstam Brennicke. Join us as we discover a more sustainable future!

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Thanks for catching up Rocky! For those who don’t know, what’s your role at Cheap Monday?
Thanks for having me. I’ve been the Marketing Director, since March, 2017.

What about denim interests you and how did you end up working at Cheap Monday?
Denim is such an iconic product category that literally has a fit for each generation and occasion. Even if you trash them good they still look amazing meaning they also have a long lifespan. From a personal perspective, I find it crucial that the company I work for focuses heavily on sustainability and that the brand has great potential, the choice was therefore not that hard to make!

For those who don’t know, can you give us a bird’s eye view of what Cheap Monday is all about?
Cheap Monday was created in 2004, disrupting the denim industry by offering the tightest jeans possible at a low price. The market was then saturated with over-priced denim. The first 800 pairs flew off the shelves in a couple of weeks and from 2005, Cheap Monday was offering full collections for men and women. Since then, the brand continues to stay at the forefront of the industry, particularly with its sustainable offering.

Your latest collection has blown open sustainability stereotypes and we couldn’t be happier – can you tell us what we are looking at in this new collection?
From FW17, our entire range of denim will be sustainable. We are replacing traditionally grown cotton with organic cotton which uses 71% less water and ultimately causes 46% less climate impact. But we are not stopping there! We are also drastically increasing the percentage of eco-friendlier materials in the rest of the collection. Especially recycled fibers such as polyester or wool. In our C/O Cheap Monday collection we even use Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) to create new denim. Worn out textiles and garments which are turned into fibers, mixed with organic cotton and gets spun into new yarn to ultimately make new garments. The journey to a more sustainable production of clothing is long and sometimes the technology is not even here yet, but we try new options all the time and have set the bar pretty high with the goal to have our entire collection labelled sustainable by Fall/Winter 2018.

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What inspired the Cheap Monday crew to create a fully sustainable range?
The sustainability issue can no longer be ignored! It is simple: if we don’t change our way of producing garments, we simply won’t be able to exist in the future. Resources are scarce, we need to adapt. We also believe everyone needs to do its part, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to better our range and contribute to lowering climate impact.

What did the process involve to develop these pieces – we’re hearing recycling taken to a whole new level with drop-off bins in store?
Absolutely, we want to facilitate the process with the in store bins for instance but the process for us starts also at the drawing table. It is the entire cycle that needed to be reviewed in order to always question how we create our collections and what their impact will be.

What are the benefits of the sustainable range, both for the customer and the planet?
As mentioned before, using eco-friendlier material has a direct impact on the amount of resources used to create a collection. Using old fibers means you don’t need to grow new ones. Recycled polyester is made from oil based waste such as PET bottles, giving them a new life instead of just throwing them. Organic cotton uses in total 62% less energy than conventionally grown cotton.

For the consumer, it gives them the possibility to contribute by making an active choice. We want to involve our followers in the process by clearly stating what we do, being fully transparent on the way.

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Who is the sustainable range designed for?
For everyone, nobody is excluded!

Where is the Cheap Monday office based and where is the range produced?
Our office is based in Stockholm, Sweden. The range is produced in a variety of countries, depending on which product. In order to be fully transparent, we will update our website during the fall with a complete list of our suppliers.

What kind of challenges did you face to get this collection up and running?
It is a lot of research and involves re-thinking entirely how you work. We started working on the entire process over two years ago.

What has been your favourite part of the whole experience?
The result! Seeing that we can make a difference while preserving the boldness and aesthetic of our brand.

More importantly, what will we catch you wearing from the sustainable range?
I can’t wait to put on a pair of our In Law’s in the Deep Black wash, we’re loving that straighter cut!