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SUSTAINABLE FASHION: INTERVIEW WITH SO GOOD TO WEAR

Sustainable fashion that has mindful design at its core remains one of the main pillars at The Collaborative Store. We are so proud to have found and partnered with one of the best premium cashmere brands out there, So Good To Wear, who make ethical and sustainable practices their main goal; placing people, animals and traditions at the core of their business while producing quality, lasting and beautiful designs! So Good To Wear is a cooperation of entrepreneurs, farmers, spinners and weavers based in Nepal; as well as activist entrepreneurs, sustainable luxury lovers and passionate designers, knitting nerds in the Netherlands. All profits of the company are reinvested or spent on improving the living conditions in Nepal, one of the poorest countries of Asia. Here we delve into the conversation with one of its co-founders, Jacqui Burger, to discuss all the facets of sustainably made fashion and why the brand decided to base their production and goat farm in Nepal.

- What has motivated you to start So Good To Wear? and what is the philosophy behind the brand?

During a visit to Nepal, we were so impressed by the beauty of the mountain-region. We discovered that behind the beauty there was a tragedy, there was no economic perspective and the people were seduced to work in Dubai or India, under very poor conditions. We wanted to see if we could help to create a safe and rewarding economic perspective, without harming the amazing ecosystem. We found out that there used to be a thriving cashmere market, but it was now all dominated by China and India. We decided to investigate if we could bring this old tradition back to life, combined with the latest insights on animal welfare and eco-restoration. This was 2014. In 2015, the region was hit by a tremendous earthquake, which made it more urgent. And this is how we begun. Currently we have a devoted team in the Netherlands and in Nepal. 

- So Good To Wear is a very quality-focused brand. Can you tell us about the characteristics of your cashmere and how it is sourced?

We started out by sourcing animal-friendly and fairly produced wool from China. Since we could not investigate the source with our own team, we soon decided to work towards gaining control over the whole chain, from the goat to consumer. We embarked on a new adventure, we started to breed our own breed of cashmere goats, by crossing top cashmere bucks from Austalia with a local breed, in order to get a climate resilient breed, with top quality cashmere. It will take us 6 years to be able to produce all items from our own wool. We have started spinning workshops in the mountain region. 

- What we love about So Good To Wear is that you place a big emphasis on sustainability. Could you tell us more about your ethical values?

We strongly believe in adding value, in a holistic sense. In our minds products are beautiful when they are made with love, with respect for every aspect of the chain, from animal to consumer. We also believe in slow fashion, creating wardrobe investments that you can treasure for a long time. That is why we place high standards not only in Nepal, but also in the Western countries where our items are sold. We are not there yet, but we keep improving. We recently concluded a succesful pilot with the packaging, and we hope to present beautiful waxpaper packaging, that is useful to keep our items safe, but can also serve our custormers as wastebins or laundrybags.