From an idea sparked by one woolen sweater the Icelandic design company and clothing brand As We Grow has built a growing design business with an ambitious, sustainable approach to the use and life cycle of the products, resulting in less waste. In just five years the company has made it to the highest podium of the Icelandic Design Award 2016.
A sustainable story from Iceland
A mother in Reykjavík knitted a woolen sweater for her son. After years of use, he eventually grew out of it, and the sweater was passed on to a friend’s daughter. For a while the little girl refused to wear much else. Eventually, the sweater moved on again, to the next family. One winter it got lost, but as spring came the sweater appeared from underneath a pile of snow in the backyard. With a bit of care it was as good as new again. Captured in photos in family albums, carried in backpacks on countryside hikes, folded in wardrobes in kids’ rooms from Reykjavík to Akureyri, Amsterdam and back, the sweater has been traveling from one child to another as a hand-me-down amidst this group of friends and family for well over a decade now.
The As We Grow look leans to tradition. The pieces carry references to the Icelandic rural past, a nostalgic retro flair from the time when children’s clothes were still made at home by hand. More than merely a style choice, simplicity and timelessness add to the life cycle of the product. From the beginning, we have believed in designing products that offer real value to their users. This means, offering garments that last over generations, as well as always being mindful of the environment and communities. Each As We Grow piece is fair trade for the benefit of all people.
As We Grow uses natural, biodegradable fabrics and yarns; mostly warm, water-resistant alpaca and wool, and soft and fine hand-harvested pima cotton and linen, all of which are supremely durable.
As We Grow products are made in factories with the best possible methods, facilities and staff policies, chosen by the owners personally to ensure that all parts of the production are lean and environmental. Excess yarn is used in hand knitted scarves and hats. Producing like this tends to cost slightly more, but the benefits to both the people making the clothing and the environment are huge.