Olen Organics combines modern, gender-neutral style with sustainable practices to create safer, softer, better apparel and accessories for baby and Mother Earth. A portion of all sales is donated to PL+US, an organization fighting to win paid family leave for all in the United States.
“My co-founder and I created Olen Organic after a combined twenty years in the fashion industry to offer beautifully designed, mindfully made organic cotton baby clothing and blankets. “
What drives your motivation?
“Olen” means “I am” in Finnish and reflects our commitment to individuality while serving as our homage to Scandinavian design, social policies, and eco-friendly practices. We love clothes but don’t love that the fashion industry is one of the dirtiest in the world, so we hope our small-batch styles will be well-loved for years to come, either passed on to friends and family or donated to new homes using a pre-paid shipping label courtesy of givebackbox.com.
What’s your relationship with ever-changing fashion trends?
We don’t really believe in trends, especially for baby clothes! The idea of “must have trends” has driven the rise of fast fashion and the resulting rise in mass-produced, throw-away clothing. Instead, we believe in defining your own personal style and filling your world with beautiful products and ideas that reflect your own aesthetic and beliefs. We make sure all of our prints look beautiful together, no matter when we release them so that no one ever feels like they have to get rid of an “old” style just because something new is released. We want our clothes to be functional as long as possible and then responsibly recycled or passed on.
Taking into account that you are a creator that works with challenges every day, what’s in your opinion the biggest challenge of the fashion industry today?
The fashion industry has become too reliant on growth at all costs, which essentially means more manufacturing at cheaper prices to improve top line sales and margins. Brands have led their customers into a world where clothing has lost its value. We want to return fashion and clothing back to a state when what we wear is cherished and taken care of, and people understand the true cost of their clothes.
What is your personal view of fast fashion? Do you feel that the industry as a whole is falling a bit behind if comparing to sustainable fashion?
Fast fashion has hurt our industry and our planet. It has degraded creativity by offering design at the lowest quality and value, it has increased our industry’s waste, and it has cheapened people’s relationship to their clothing.
Virtually all major clothing companies have a work in progress in the field of sustainability. What makes your brand stand out?
We are thrilled that any clothing company would work towards progress in sustainability. However, we feel our brand stands out because of our commitment to slow fashion and growth, our emphasis on long-term value and quality through small-batch production, and our egalitarian belief in gender-neutral design and parenting.
What does the future hold for your brand? Any plans you could share with us?
We continue to expand our retail partnerships around the world by establishing relationships with like-minded businesses, often small, women-owned boutiques with the same commitment to quality and sustainability. We will be launching a new print in Spring 2019 designed by our in-house artist, Nick Fusedale, and a portion of proceeds from that print will be donated to ocean conservationism and getting micro-plastic out of our seas. We will also be introducing beautiful solid gender-neutral solids to maximize mixing and matching opportunities within our collection and with other beautiful brands that people own and love.