Scandinavian sustainability and scarves: Wyilda af Norden

Thirty years ago, Petra Salenvall and Hanna Wallo became friends as children in a small town called Haparanda in North Sweden. While Hanna was destined to find a future in fashion, Petra simply wanted to help build a better world. Many years later, their desires combined to create a single journey- that of Wyilda, a sustainable, Scandinavian accessories brand for the woman who would not compromise on ethics nor aesthetics. However, finding an appropriate production partner proved to be difficult and included a hundred unanswered emails, a handful of rejections and ended with a trip to Premiere Vision in Paris to kickstart their vision of an ethical, inspirational brand.

Inspired by beautiful landscapes, the cool breeze of the ocean, ice cold winter nights and the Northern mystique of Sweden, Wyilda’s scarves with their unique prints are designed to be investment pieces, meant to be passed down from one generation to another

“Sustainability is in our DNA, our entire brand is built around the concept. We are guided by the idea of sustainable business practices; we don’t need separate policies for it.”

Their luxurious stoles are crafted from pure mulberry silk with hand-stitched hems, each with a certificate of authenticity, signed by either of the founders. Eliminating all hazardous chemicals including formaldehyde, APEOs and AZOs, Wyilda ensures that all their production partners adhere to international standards.

“Almost all fashion brands are aspiring to build a sustainable business. However, if all major brands were already excelling in sustainable practices it wouldn’t have taken us so long to find a producer with the right certificates. If everyone was asking the tough questions and demanded certain standards, producers would improve their practices as long as they can cover their costs. The true cost of manufacturing has to be reflected in the price – every step of the way.”

Wyilda discloses all information about where their products are made, including suppliers and sub-contractors, believing that transparency is key to truly ethical fashion. Wyilda also collaborates with AWAJ – a trade union in Bangladesh that represents hundreds of thousands of women working in fashion factories and provides services that include legal aid, education, assistance with negotiations and childcare, by donating 5% of profits to them.

“Although fast fashion is convenient, I still believe that people are slowly starting to long for something real and more genuine. I believe that we are entering into a time when we want to distinguish ourselves from others, and the most apparent way of doing so is by wearing something different. A piece that sets you apart from others, or a piece that clearly connects you to a set of values that you stand behind. Our customers can achieve both. “

By elevating the standards of their processes and promoting ethical, sustainable luxury, Wyilda has created a brand whose products that customers can trust and cherish for a long time.

“Big brands can create change – have a real impact on how we manufacture and consume clothes and accessories. A small brand can together with other small brands be a driving force of change, but can never alone accomplish what a big brand can. In the future, I hope, Wyilda will be one of the big players when it comes to sustainable luxury.”

Author Nayanika Bharadwaj

Designer, artist, illustrator and writer passionate about sustainable design and living. Recently graduated with a degree in fashion from NIFT, Mumbai. Currently living in Chennai, India

More posts by Nayanika Bharadwaj

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