It was always Gesa Bollmus’ claim to follow her conviction and goals and it was always her dream to be responsible for a fashion brand. In our interview she explains, among other things, how she came to Funktion Schnitt, why sustainable production is important to her and how she implements sustainability into her own wardrobe.
Gesa, can you tell our readers something about yourself personally and how you came to found Funktion Schnitt?
I like to follow my convictions and goals. It was always my dream to be responsible for all facets of a fashion brand. I love to travel and to experience diversity in culture, nature, food and people. My last trips brought me to Bhutan, Mongolia and Patagonia. One of my own convictions is sustainable living. That’s why I joined Funktion Schnitt, to lead an apparel brand that turns the ordinary into something meaningful. We blend creative passion and ethically sourced apparel with artisan detailing to enhance the everyday experience. With this, we want to bring meaning to every product. Because, at the heart of it all, we believe nothing should be ordinary.
Behind Funktion Schnitt is the Cologne-based Fond Of GmbH, which has made a name for itself above all with children's backpacks and school satchels. How did this merger come about?
In August 2018, the Fond Of product portfolio grew through the integration of the fashion label Funktion Schnitt which was initially launched independently by the Fond Of founders and managed separately. The initial idea behind Funktion Schnitt was to become the expert on T-shirts that blend function and style. Like all Fond Of products, Funktion Schnitt is based on sustainability, high-quality and functionality. After the integration of Funktion Schnitt, Fond Of dropped “Bags” from its name and has since followed with products beyond backpacks.
According to your own statements, when choosing your fabrics you focus on care, quality and functionality. Responsible production is as important to you as innovative design. How do you implement your standards and how do you secure them? Where is Funktion Schnitt's clothing produced?
We have carefully selected suppliers and producers. All our jersey styles are produced in Portugal. Knits ae made in Italy. We want to be transparent regarding the supply chain and with our production processes. We maintain close partnerships with our manufacturing facilities and suppliers. Every single piece of clothing contains the work of many people. We care about their work environment and the living conditions of all workers. That’s why we are members of the Fair Wear foundation. Every production partner is audited and their facilities inspected, fair wages and fair treatment is paramount.
Why is responsible production important to you?
Because a product is only as good as its production. For us responsible production is much more than just a certificate. It’s real interest for your partners in the supply chain. It is an ongoing process in which we constantly question ourselves and everyone around us. Additionally, it’s important for us because we are consuming raw materials from the Earth. We are using natural renewable materials such as organic cotton, linen, plant-based Tencel and merino-wool. Overconsumption or unilateral consumption of those materials will destroy the environment. That’s why we offer a diversity of materials and always focus on a sustainable handling e.g. we only use mulesing-free merino-wool. We are always on the lookout for new and better methods to make our products even more sustainable. It's on us to make a difference.
The sustainable label Sanvt only offers year-round collections and does not offer any sales promotions. What does this look like for Funktion Schnitt? What is your opinion?
In my opinion it’s important to control the total amount of pieces that are produced and put into the market. Every season we are improving our forecast and ordering processes to reduce the amount of overstock. But there are seasonal styles, colors that are not sold. When the total amount is under control, there won’t be excess or overproduction. For us, sale is a fair way to offer our high-quality products also for the people who are more price sensitive.
Sustainability was THE topic last year and its relevance will not decrease in 2020. How do you try to implement sustainability in your wardrobe? Maybe you have some concrete tips?
Well, that’s quite easy: I buy less and choose long-lasting quality. I always look on the material composition and avoid buying products with non-recycled polyester, polyamide, nylon or acryl. All clothes are visibly placed in my wardrobe–no boxes. I care for my products e.g. washing them in a washing bag, knits and jersey separated from jackets and jeans. Protect what you love!
What new projects are next in the pipeline?
This summer we have a new pioneering Tencel material in our collection: Refibra. It’ s made from cotton scraps e.g. from garment production and wood pulp resulting in a silky, soft T-Shirt material with 95% less water consumption than a normal cotton T-Shirt. We will also introduce natural dyed materials and recycled cashmere, which is made from surplus fibers from the manufacture of virgin cashmere yarn–a resource that would otherwise have been discarded.