In these times, sustainability is an ambiguous concept. As a clothing brand, it is difficult and problematic to proclaim sustainability, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our utmost to do the least harm possible.
At Berner Kühl, we acknowledge the harmful nature of producing and creating clothing. Simply put, the best thing would be to not do it. So what do you do when you have a desire to create, design and put out a beautiful product? We try to be mindful of our practices and create in the most responsible way we can.
First and foremost, we make a long-lasting product, something you can wear for years. It is the easiest way to consume as little as possible, and thereby, produce less.
Secondly, we are 100 per cent transparent about our supply chain. We can always tell you exactly where your product comes from. Traceability is key if we want to make a product more sustainable.
We produce as close to home as possible in order to minimise the pollution related to transportation of our goods. Every product is made in one of two countries: Portugal or Italy.
Our fabrics are sourced from well-known mills in Italy, many of them known to invest heavily in green energy and renewable fibres. We would never ask our garment manufacturers to choose something for us. We always go and visit the second tier, meaning the fabric suppliers, the providers of our raw materials. We thus know exactly where our textile comes from.
Thirdly, we only work with people we know. We never start up a production with a factory we don’t know personally or haven’t visited. We work closely with small family-owned businesses that we’ve known for years. Both the owners and the people on the floor. Not only does it ease our mind to know how the product is made, it also gives us an idea of the work environments in the places that we produce.
Whenever possible, we use ”better” fibres. We work closely with our fabric mills to always provide us with the better alternative:
Choosing organic, GOTS certified cotton over conventional cotton. Using post- or pre-consumer recycled fibres where available: GRS certified, whether wool, cotton or polyester.
At Berner Kühl, we create a lot of technical outerwear, and therefore focus majorly on synthetic fibres. Our main fabric supplier, Olmetex, located close to Como in Italy, invests heavily in this area.
In their production line, they use machinery that provides PFC free finishings, they use biodegradable membranes (for water-resistant fabrics), and they even had a cogeneration plant installed, which is capable of self-producing electrical and thermal energy.
All of their fabrics undergo rigorous control, and they always strive to offer more sustainable options.
Within polyester, they provide:
• Newlife ™ is an eco-friendly high tech yarn made from 100% recycled polyester yarn made from post-consumer plastic bottles.
• R-Starlight® is a continuous filament polyester yarn produced from post-consumer recycled PET.
• Eco-Antex® is a recycled polyester thread that provides for the use of post-industrial waste from the textile chain and material from the selective collection of PET packaging.
For nylon, they work with:
• Econyl ™ is a highly innovative industrial system which enables the substitution of virgin raw materials of a non-reusable origin with a raw material of second use derived from recycling various forms of rubbish including fishing nets which are no longer usable.
Olmetex serves as a great example of the suppliers we want to work with in our company.
Every day, factories and fabric mills are improving their ways of working. So should we. It will forever remain a compromise, but we commit ourselves to making it the best compromise possible.