Mamquam is a Swiss design-fashion house that creates innovative urban lifestyle solutions by harmonizing technology and apparel within the context of an ever-changing world.
Our inspiration stems from the Mamquam river, typically described as a unique river which moves swiftly. Adopting this philosophy of swiftly moving, Mamquam hopes to swiftly foster transitions in 1) a greater infusion of technologies in apparel and 2) general consumer thought in purchase decision-making (i.e. from a ‘throw-away’ to a more sustainable fashion).
Mamquam has certain values, including but not limited to, functionality, aesthetic appeal, comfort, sturdiness, sustainability, passion, Innovation and harmony. These values underpin a holistic mentality, which is the ethos of Mamquam. Rather than selling products for the sake of sales, Mamquam desires to give consumers the opportunity to reflect on these values through the experience created by wearing mamquam goods. In short, Mamquam does not sell products itself, but rather experiences to like-minded people and tries to convince others to do the same.
What drives your motivation for art and design?
- Art allows us to communicate who we are;
- Art has a lot to do with expression, with the way you see the world. It’s a way of communicating our message and connecting with humans on a deep level;
- Design, minimalism, reducing to the essence is our motive, vowing to always improve our products, and services; ultimately bring more value to the customer.
How do you explain your designs in relation to sustainability and consciousness?
We are trying to reduce the number of clothes you need to own, by offering overarching clothing. People own ridiculous amounts of clothes, they have various outfits for any occasion, whether its colours, fabric etc. we provide solutions which are practical and designed very well; clothing suitable for most occasions. Truly, Mamquam is defined by our way of understanding the world and reflected through our garments – the textiles we use, the details in production, the transparency behind and beyond each process- to set an example for how high fashion can be both ethical, durable and aesthetically pleasing.
Despite our design being rather contemporary, we place a lot of value on minimalism and functional design. One of our early inspirations was a paper written by Adolf Loos, the Austria/Czech Architect/theorist.
The notions that ornamentation can have the effect of causing objects to go out of style and thus become obsolete is a key factor when we think about our products. Loos highlights the idea of the incredible waste created in buildings since the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object too soon go out of style is not sustainable. We believe this goes in architecture as well as products, and apparel.
“We don’t follow icons. We have a lot of inspiration, of great creatives before us, but no specific icon. I guess we are working towards some kind of Utopia, this is what inspires us, people who are creating a better world.”
Do your views on society and social behaviours reflect on your work?
Mamquam desires to inspire consumers and other fashion brands/businesses to make decisions that foster values such as quality, practicality, comfort, elegant style, sustainability, and harmony. Upon reflection of these values, we urge people to rethink their fast choices and embrace the perception of the world as valuable and vulnerable; our aim, to move towards a better future in harmony.
Mamquam’s short run goal is to increase the awareness of its brand to let the world know its efforts/intentions and products. Our long-run goal is to progressively evolve our product design and technologies to better solve ever-changing customer needs. Furthermore, Mamquam would like to include and improve services that support product modifications and alterations. We do not wish to offer slight improvements but to create a holistic product and service experience that would be considered a quantum leap to our consumers.
We believe in rewarding and collaborating with honest and progressive suppliers and brands, and will encourage others to do the same. Through this archetype, we want to inspire others to make decisions that foster these values, rethink our fashion choices and embrace the perception of the world as valuable and vulnerable- all in order to aim towards a future in harmony.
The slow movement, self-consciousness and sustainability have been in trend for the past few years and still are developing. Would you say that most people are affected and more aware of the aspects purely because of the trend? Or, society really has changed in regards to our attitudes towards the environments? What are your viewpoints on this?
Yes, people are becoming more aware and self-conscious of the necessity to prioritize sustainability as well as the benefits of the slow movement. Yet this does not necessarily translate into changed action, habits, or behaviour. It is critical to overcoming this knowledge-action gap through positive reinforcement, using nudging theory strategies that are coherent with the following principles: “other people’s behaviour matter, people are motivated to do the right thing, people want their actions to be in line with their values and their commitments, and people need to feel involved and effective to make a change” (Dawnay and Shah 2005).
The ultimate drive-in fashion is emotional, as we buy fashion because of its characteristics, how it makes us feel, and how it makes us look to ourselves and others. This is how fashion works. However, this does not mean that consumers cannot make a conscious choice when purchasing items on how to use it. Neither is it means that the fashion industry cannot deliver a sustainable alternative to its consumers. It can and it should, and consumers should likewise become more self-conscious with respect to the benefits of the slow movement, minimalism, quality, and the anti-Mcfashion lifestyle which is ecologically sustainable as well as builds and fosters connections among people globally.
People are social animals and feel a need to connect with other people (e.g. a sense of community), connect to nature (i.e. a sense of sustainable belonging on earth), and most importantly to connect to a true sense of themselves (i.e. self-consciousness).
In relation to the previous question, vintage has become a popular fashion trend, and many people think sustainable fashion interlinks with vintage and expensive garments. What are your views on this?
Vintage is definitely trending. It’s possible that there is a link in the sense, that people used to have fewer clothes, but better qualities. Clothes were often custom made for individuals, a much larger importance and the value was placed on the good which results in a high respect for the garment. This is opposite to throwaway fashion, which is thrown away or deposited in the clothing charity bins year by year.
Sustainable fashion can be described in many ways depending on the person. For you, personally, what relates to the outcome and input of your sustainability?
Changing consumer behaviour is extremely difficult. We need to focus on the environment and find a way to harmoniously get what we need without destroying everything. Our key focus is to mitigate the negative environmental impacts the apparel industry creates. There needs to be a conscious awakening.
How would you recommend consumers to be more sustainable in consumption?
Consumers should reflect on their desires, become more aware and mentally internalize the consequences of their actions on the environment, on society and on themselves (e.g. health via unnecessary stress building). A Mcfashion lifestyle is not only expensive over the long run, it is very stressful as people struggle to outshine each other with the newest collection for a short time, only to throw those same clothes for even newer editions. Nature’s resilience is limited with respect to the outrageous amounts of waste produced by such unsustainable consumer habits. Therefore it is imperative that consumers think of values such as the quality and longevity of the clothes they wear.
Information through education is effective but is not enough to guarantee behaviour change. Acknowledging and overcoming the knowledge-action gap is challenging, yet nudge theory tactics using positive reinforcement or consequence visualization and realization may awaken people to realize their habits must be sustainable. Dawnay and Shah describe the following principles in behavioural economics that shape policy-making, which Mamquam believes can be applied to curb consumer patterns in the fashion industry: “other people’s behaviour matter, people are motivated to do the right thing, people want their actions to be in line with their values and their commitments, and people need to feel involved and effective to make a change” (Dawnay and Shah 2005). Getting consumers to feel good about purchasing sustainably produced products is one form of positive reinforcement strategy. Consequence realization methods are effective for those who choose products that are produced unsustainably. Controversial, attention-grabbing messages such as “You’ve just cost the environment 200 Liters of Water buy purchasing this T-shirt” or “Thanks for being a loyal Mcfashion customer” could do the trick.
Mamquam is dedicated to helping make a fashion towards a greater sense of awareness with respect to consumer choices, human behaviour, sustainability and fashion. We use empathic design as a tool to influence consumers to engage in more sustainable practices. We understand that people value practicality, comfort, and elegant timeless style. This is why we created products that 1) are ethically sourced, 2) display a timelessly elegant design, 3)provide practical functions like sweat-absorption and water repellency & 4) have a high longevity. We hope that purchasing clothes that are convenient and practical in many scenarios (e.g. formal events,) as well as having a timeless aesthetic appeal to them, will help reduce the negative environmental and social effects overproduction and overconsumption has done thus far.
How does the technology developments affect your values and ethics on sustainability, and how does it affect your sales?
Technological advancements do not affect Mamquam’s commitment to sustainability; rather, Mamquam wishes to acquire the positive outcomes of technological advancements to further man’s efforts to live within the ecological constraints posed by nature.
Technological development increases the possibility to infuse ever-evolving technologies to introduce new functionality that can increase the customer’s experience in day-to-day life activities. Moreover, we hope technological developments will increase the longevity of the pants, which ultimately contributes to the reduction of waste efforts – a value Mamquam cherishes. Steering away from Mcfashion, Mamquam wishes to constantly improve its products to grow the added value experienced by customers. Through an actualization of this added value, consumers will join the Mamquam community, which will ultimately translate into sales.
What are your trend forecasts for 30 years from now?
People will increasingly become more self-conscious of their actions valuing brands that source their products socially ethically and conduct operations that are within the ecological constraints of our earth (i.e. is produced sustainably). The stressful, ecologically unsustainable Mcfashion lifestyle will be superseded by a lifestyle governed by quality over quantity, desiring functional practicality and timeless aesthetic appeal. Greater attention will be paid to the life cycle of company’s products as material waste caused by overproduction increasingly challenges society. Hence increasing the quality and longevity of Mamquam’s pants is key, as we see this to be one of the future trends. Things will be smart, adaptive and Interconnected.