After completing their training to become tailors, Kira Kimm & Sophie Roscher decided they didn’t want to contribute to unsustainable conditions within the fashion industry. For a very short time, Kira worked for a company whose garments were produced under terrible conditions in Bangladesh. She quickly knew she didn’t want to be part of this. They sat down together and thought about alternative approaches in which they could incorporate our philosophy of sustainable, fair fashion.
‘Over a glass of red wine, we decided it was time to create something special. And so our fashion label, soki, was born.’
Tell us more about the story of your brand and its mission.
We set up a studio at my parents’ home initially, and immediately implemented our upcycling mission by sewing boxer shorts from old bedsheets! We designed two collections, which we sold in four stores in Kassel. We got a lot of positive feedback straight away. We started to promote our ideas more widely. Showing what could be done with old bed linen really captured peoples’ imaginations. Soon, space became very tight in our small workshop and we started looking for larger premises. We found a shop with a lot of space and were able to open our soki store in April 2016. In addition to our own collections, we also sell sustainable products from other labels. So now we’re a green concept store that offers even more options for sustainable living.
What drives your motivation?
We can be inspired in many places, be it at home, in the store, with friends or at events. The funny thing is that we usually have the same ideas! Most of the things we produce is a unique item. Our customers have the opportunity to participate in the design process by selecting the bed linen themselves before a piece of clothing is created. So when you buy a piece of soki clothing, no-one else in the entire world has it. Each piece has something unique about it.
What’s your relationship with ever-changing fashion trends?
In our winter collection, we always try to create a simple and timeless design. It is very important to us that you fall in love with our fashion and hold that love as long as possible. So you do not ask yourself next season, why did I just buy it ?!
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?
It is important that the consumers learn again that a mass consumption cannot be good for the earth and the people. Everyone has to ask themselves again do I need 15 different tops and 10 pants? As long as the big companies do not limit their constantly changing offer this will be difficult. But that does not mean that it is not possible. Many of our customers make a conscious purchasing decision. They want to wear clothes with a good conscience and know where and under what circumstances it was made. That is a good thing! #dontworrywearhappy
Virtually all major clothing companies have a work in progress in the field of sustainability. What makes your brand stand out?
Upcycling is the most sustainable method to create fair clothing: no new resources are needed and less waste is generated. Before any old garment is thrown away, we will always make a new piece of clothing out of it. We sew special, one-of-a-kind pieces which can be purchased with a clear conscience. We’re very glad that people are showing more and more interest in sustainable lifestyles. Many people find it surprising what wonderful things can be done with old bed sheets! From the fashion perspective, it’s actually great that the amount of the fabric is limited. It means we can guarantee everyone gets a piece of clothing that no-one else is wearing. Our colourful boxer shorts from granny’s old bed linen are lovingly sewn by the brave little tailors of the Baunataler Diakonie Kassel, a facility for people with handicaps. By the method of upcycling our knickers give old bedding a new purpose – and thus every part is unique! Our winter collections made of organic cotton are also limited. Every piece of clothing has some bedding included.
“Upcycling is the most sustainable method to create fair clothing: no new resources are needed and less waste is generated. Before any old garment is thrown away, we will always make a new piece of clothing out of it. We sew special, one-of-a-kind pieces which can be purchased with a clear conscience. “
What does the future hold for your brand? Any plans you could share with us?
We are curious what the collaboration with PAUSE Fashion Hub brings. We look forward to furthering cooperation with a small factory in Portugal. Because only two girls on the sewing machine, as we started, is no longer enough.