When House of Dagmar was founded in 2005, we had a desire to establish a long-lasting business based on a high quality-approach throughout everything we do. High quality contributes to a longer life span for clothes, which is ultimately better for the environment. We do not need to destroy the earth’s recourses unnecessarily. Over the years, we have learned a lot about which fibers and production methods are better for the earth, and we still learn every day. Today, as the term “sustainability” is widely known and clearly defined, we need to collectively become more engaged and together make better choices.
So why is sustainability so important to us? Growing up in a family of five with two young parents who combined hard work with studies, we spent a lot of time with our grandmother Dagmar. She was a tailor and became an early style inspiration for us. Spending time at our grandmother’s house encouraged us to learn about the art of sewing, knitting and pattern cutting. We loved to look through fashion magazines for inspiration and created our own fashionable clothing pieces, guided by her expertise. Not only was she a positive person who saw opportunities in everything, but she was also very loving and caring. Her positive spirit and work ethics laid the foundation to House of Dagmar and is still the number one inspiration source for us.
Our father was an entrepreneur who ran his own business and our mother is a humanist with a background in teaching about nutrition. Healthy food, sports and regular outdoor activities became natural for us as a result of our parents’ strong interest in healthy living. Although we grew up in a household where a healthy lifestyle was advocated, we have to admit that we are no saints. Growing older and wiser, we have learnt from our mistakes and strive to do better for every day that passes.
Our mother’s closet consisted of a small amount of high-quality clothes. Growing up in a time characterized by scarcity and simplicity, our mother was used to creating or investing in a few clothing pieces that she could wear for many years. Taking good care of her clothes was essential to making them last long. Instead of washing woolen clothes too often, she used to air them outside to freshen them up. As teens, we used to think her wardrobe was boring and rarely found something to borrow. Today, we consider her an inspiration and a role model when building our own wardrobes, where we believe that less truly is more.
Although we chose different career paths, all of us ended up working within the retail and fashion industry. We struggled to find brands who made timeless, yet sustainable clothes in high-quality materials and our strong passion for this paved the way for the establishment of House of Dagmar. Since the very start in 2005, we have embraced a holistic philosophy and business strategy. Choosing materials and designs that are long-lasting yet kind to the earth, humans and animals are central to our business and brand.
Karin had started a PR-firm, Kristina was pregnant, and Sofia lived in another city. We thought it was a great time to start a business together, maybe you need to be a bit naive to be an entrepreneur. While discussing our heritage and our different backgrounds from the fashion industry, it struck us that our late grandmother Dagmar was our primary inspiration. Naming our brand after her, in honor of her hard work and style, became natural for us. We all agreed upon embracing our Scandinavian roots yet wanted House of Dagmar to become global. The Art Deco era has always inspired the three of us, and we all have a weakness for its design and architectural language. Our partner and friend, art director Robert Ahlborg, made our logo in which he managed to unite everything we are inspired of. Our first collection consisted of 10 knitwear pieces made from wool, cashmere and alpaca, fabrics we to this day love and can’t live without.
There is a way to put fashion first without putting the environment second. We have been working from a sustainable standpoint since the very start, meaning that it was an important part of our business long before the term was coined and became a buzzword in the fashion industry. For us, this is not only a trend but an important journey. It is an important part of who we are and what we do, it is a part of the Dagmar-DNA. Below, we have listed a timeline showing the history of House of Dagmar.
With the establishment of House of Dagmar, we proclaimed our three sustainability pillars; high quality in our fabrics, high quality in our production processes and high quality in our designs. We decided to create sustainable and contemporary designs that would last for many years. During this year, our first collection landed in stores. Half of the collection was made from mercerized cotton, a durable and long-lasting material. Some still have and wear their cardigans from our first collection, showing the importance of good care and high-quality.
In January, Swedish ELLE awarded us with the “New designer of the year” prize. A few months later, we were also awarded with the honorable “Greta Garbo Hat”.
We won the “Fresh Faces” award in New York. The prize was to arrange a fashion show there. During the fashion show, we chose to play heavy metal music and loved every second of it.
We launched a collection consisting of lace knitted dresses and tops made from organic cotton.
We implemented the use of certified mulesing-free merino wool.
We became the winners of Guldknappen, Scandinavia’s most prestigious design award. We also started to work with lyocell jersey, an environmentally friendly and bio-degradable fiber.
We collaborated with Värmlands Alpacka, an organic alpaca farm in Sweden. Sven, who owns the alpaca farm, was fantastic and treated his animals with great kindness and care. He even gave them different names and haircuts. We made handknitted alpaca cardigans that sold not only in Sweden, but also at Harrod’s in London. The same year, we were honored to design the Pink Ribbon.
We launched our first animal-friendly fur, made from real mohair wool sewn onto a fabric piece (the same process as making a wig). By using real mohair wool, we assure warmth and longevity in the garment.
Recycled PET-bottles were turned into raincoats and other jackets.
Swedish ELLE awarded us with the “Designer of the year” prize. The same year, we started a sustainable cashmere production using less water and contributing to less waste in the manufacturing process. We also designed handbags in collaborated with Swedish Tärnsjö Garveri, who is among the remaining 5% of the worlds tanning houses still employing the tradition of vegetable tanning. They have chosen to respect and preserve the environment by only using bark extracts, water and water-based finishing.
From this year, all the cotton used to make our clothes is organic.
25% of our collections was sustainable and a GOOD CHOICE
We started to measure our climate footprint with the help of the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP). During 2018, 35% of our collections were sustainable and a GOOD CHOICE. We also started to collaborate with Svensk Skog and Borås Textilhögskola with the ambition to find a new, natural viscose fiber.
At the beginning of the year, 50% of our collections were sustainable and a GOOD CHOICE. By the end of the year 70% of our collections will be GOOD CHOICE-garments. We also started to work with RENEWCELL to explore the possibility of turning materials such as used cotton and viscose into new fibers, new yarn, new fabrics and later on new garment that can be produced and worn with a clear conscience. Our aim is to close the loop and show that recycling clothes finally works.
90% of our collections will be sustainable and a GOOD CHOICE.