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"In times of athleisurewear and the influx of fast fashion, niche and heritage denim brands are feeling the pressure: the demand for innovation is huge. Alexander Graah, the co-founder and CEO of Dr. Denim, told us how the brand is managing to stay relevant and exciting after 15 years in the business."
Interview by Aylin Yavuz

 

 

Let's start off by talking about the new season: what can we expect from the AW20 collection and what trends will Dr. Denim be adapting?

Alexander: Well, there are no pions for guessing we're serving up some great jeans for AW20! We are offering an even bigger family of great jeans in washes with the exceptional look and feel of authentic retro jeans. We have everything from super-skinny to super-wide with a streetwear flavour, as we have been coming up with since 2004. This season though, there's also a good portion of utility style elements entering the collection, and we're working with a subtle but fresh color scale with lots of khaki shades that go really well with our range of indigo blues. 

 

In our last interview you said that sustainability was a huge topic within the company but that you weren't top of the class just yet. Have you made any headway since then? If so, how?

Alexander: We'll soon be switching over one of our best-selling jeans to organic cotton – that will happen in 2020 and it's a great thing. We are focusing more on improving sustainability in our highest volume products instead of taking the easy route and greenwashing the collection. This is more challenging but it makes a bigger difference and that's what it all comes down to. So, making better products that last longer is the path we'll continue taking. 

  

Are there any measures – other than primarily using sustainable fibres by 2020 – that you plan to implement?

Alexander: We're constantly challenging ourselves in how we can do better. Sometimes it happens in dialogue with our consumers. For example, one of them reached out to us and asked why we use two strings to attach the labels on the jeans – something that we, in all honesty, hadn't even thought about. But now, thanks to the feedback, we're making an effort to reduce that to one string. The little things matter too. 

 

A big part of sustainability is being transparent. But as a brand, can you actually show the consumer everything? What does transparency mean to you?

Alexander: Transparency, in the sense of publicly sharing details about the supply chain and its wage standards, working conditions etc., can be a very good thing but I think the usefulness depends on the brand's context. Because we primarily work with retailers around the world  and depend on them for the communication of our products, we don't have the ideal set up for a transparent business model. Instead, our focus is to keep ur promise of delivering great jeans, which includes aspects of production and the supply chain. 

 

2020 is here, it's the beginning of a new decade. You mentioned switching over one of your best selling jeans models to organic cotton this year. What else does the new year hold for Dr. Denim?

Alexander: We're really looking forward to 2020! It's no secret that the whole industry is undergoing lots of changes, and we're tackling them all head on by making a stronger range – very much going back to the roots. It's so much fun to work with denim and fashion but the drawback is that you have to wait  for your stuff to be produced and made available, and right now the wait is killing me!