Meet Vegan Moms From Stockholm: Talking With Nina
As a part of the interviews series with vegan moms from Stockholm and the Raise Vegan’s ‘people of veganism’ features, our Sweden-based PR Director Annika Lundkvist interviewed Stockholm-based vegan mother Nina Färdig.
A mother to two children, Nina is the founder and general manager of Green Laces, an all vegan fashion store in Stockholm.
“We keep our ethical standards strict and work on the communication to get the word out. Our customers are super smart and they know that they want: high quality, ecological, vegan products and not just vegan plastics. Our focus has always been on the overall ethics and we are now able to have even higher demands on our suppliers.”Nina
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Meet Vegan Moms From Stockholm: Talking With Nina
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
You own and manage Green Laces, a company selling vegan, and in many cases also organic and fair trade shoes. How long have you been in business and how has the company developed and changed since you first established it?
Nina: We have been around since 2011, and when I started there were not many products to choose from. I bought a lot of things that weren’t that nice, but I had to have it because people wanted this type of boot or bag. A lot of the stuff I bought for the shop was imported from the US, and it was difficult to test the quality before having received the total shipment. Everything was trickier back then. Now there are so many more brands, and we are contacted by a lot of brands asking us to carry their products. Several established brands also started making vegan shoes, and if the ethics and aesthetics are intact, we will consider them of course. We are clearly seeing an expanding market!
I really appreciate your focus not only on the ethics of production in fashion but also style. What is your outlook on the growth of ‘stylish vegan and ethical fashion’ in Sweden particularly, but also more broadly Europe and globally?
Nina: Listening to the financial and corporate experts out there I’d say that the outlook is fantastic. What we have seen during recent years in the food industry, will be seen within the fashion and furniture industry in the next 4-5 years. Companies are striving to be more environmentally friendly, and one of the first things to do then is to cut out the animal-derived products. As a result, more companies are seeing financial growth in this, and when this happens, investors are interested and things start moving faster. The supply follows the demand regardless of the origin of the demand. The supply is where money can be made. As an ethically-oriented company, I see no problems with this. We keep our ethical standards strict and work on the communication to get the word out. Our customers are super smart and they know that they want: high quality, ecological, vegan products and not just vegan plastics. Our focus has always been on the overall ethics and we are now able to have even higher demands on our suppliers.
You also have at your shop bags, wallets, and belts- goods that are so often traditionally associated with leather. What unique developments are you seeing in the ethical production of these types of goods by companies who are forgoing the use of leather and choosing innovative, plant-based materials instead?
Nina: These are interesting times to be alive indeed! Looking back 10 years, we often saw PVC in bags and belts, which is an excellent material due to its durability. It holds forever! This is however super disturbing when it comes to waste disposal. It never disappears or it intoxicates the lot of us when we try to burn the waste product! Nowadays we mainly use PU and lately, we started mixing this up with fruit fibers, tea leaves, vegetables, and cereal. The high tech people have created materials such as Pinatex, Lino Leather and Muskin. These materials bring us even closer to a degradable product, which is the only sustainable approach in the long run.
Are there some materials you are particularly excited about seeing more use of in the sustainable fashion industry?
Nina: One of the most intriguing materials to me at this point in time is the Lino Leather and the Muskin. The idea of making a really strong upper in winter boots with a linoleum related material is exciting, and Muskin’s ability to cut the CO2 emissions by growing the material in a lab is simply an amazing thought. I know that these materials still need further refinement to be suitable for shoes, but we have at least a start of something here.
What do you feel is still lacking in the vegan shoe industry?
Nina: Oh my dream is a boot that is made by somebody who really understands the meaning of Swedish winter for the urban citizen. We need beautifully designed winter boots with soles that can handle the slippery pavements, an upper that can handle the slush and the salt (that is used to combat the ice over here), and a lining that can keep your feet warm in -10 Celsius, but is breathable at the same time. I am always looking for those types of boots!
Lastly, I cannot do an interview without asking about Stockholm – your home and the location of your store! What is your perspective on the growth of the vegan scene in Stockholm as well as the city’s role in global sustainable fashion?
Nina: I think Stockholm is a very interesting place to be for somebody who is into fashion and design. Stockholm is a beautiful and creative place but also filled with quite a few anxious and fearful people. This seems to be a good cocktail for fashion and designer minds to stay alert. Up until lately, the sustainable brands, in my opinion, have produced boring basics thus never really qualifying as fashion brands; whereas now there’s room for these brands to be more creative as they gain attention from artists, musicians, and other renowned people. Moreover, sustainability is a huge thing for a lot of the millennials as they are big on second-hand shopping, and this attitude also makes them keen on styling. As for vegan food, we have a few places offering fine dining, which is a token of the importance of this type of food. I’d say that no restaurant with self-respect would have a menu without at least one vegan option.
Stay tuned to meet a few more vegan moms from Stockholm. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.