August 3, 2021

‘We reached a point at which sustainability is not limiting us anymore’

4 min read

It has almost been three months since Michael Kampe started as the first creative director at German sustainable fashion label Armedangels. In his role, he leads the design team, always keeps the vision of the brand’s eco and fair fashion collections in mind and is responsible for the design of the products as well as projects that are closely linked to the brand and design.

Kampe gained experience in fashion design and creative direction at brands such as Scotch & Soda, Hugo Boss and Lee. Since September 2020 he has been passing on his knowledge at the AMD Academy Fashion & Design as a professor of fashion, design management and fashion journalism.

Here, we asked Kampe about the challenges in working for a “green” label.

What is your first concrete “project” at Armedangels? What are you working on in these days?
Following the strategy, the first concrete project is the Spring ‘22 collection and its assortment. Here the team and I already implemented many of the exciting adaptions and elements needed. It will shape the path towards further alignment between mens- and womenswear and denim. Ultimately these efforts will establish a stronger recognition of our pieces and it will support focus and consistency in the buildup of the range.

What can we expect from Armedangels in terms of creative direction, style and design in the next month? What will change?
We will focus even more on the product groups that are most relevant to us: denim, jersey, sweat and knitwear. Here we look at fresh colors as well as innovative and of course sustainable materials. Romantic, feminine styles such as dresses and blouses fit organically with the cool and utility-inspired menswear and the result together with denim is a modern and exciting overall picture. Graphics, jersey and sweat pieces refer to our roots and are further developed through material, silhouette and color.
Also, our underwear offer will be taken further, and new promising product groups are in the making.

Men's look by Armedangels, f/w '21

Men’s look by Armedangels, f/w ’21

Compared to the companies you have worked for before, what is different in your work process now?
I enjoy and value a lot how quick and direct change can be implemented and how open and just as direct the exchange between the different departments is. At the bigger companies these steps can become more complicated, resulting in ever too much bureaucracy and processes. Per se not a bad thing, but in an industry in which you often also need to be able to react fast, try out to explore new (sustainable) solutions etc. you need to stay flexible.

Sustainable labels sometimes still have to fight against the prejudice that their looks are too boring. What’s your answer to that?
I have a clear answer: Change it! Make it better!
We reached a point at which sustainability is luckily not really limiting us anymore in terms of use of color, touch and look. Also, there is so much room for excitement when defining and applying the right edge to silhouettes, details and styling.
Given its additional storytelling value, sustainably and fair produced garments therefore bear an even greater communicative potential.
Just look at our recent Undyed capsule: we used undyed organic cotton for the unique look. And more importantly, water and chemicals are massively saved. All by simply not dyeing the clothes.

You worked for Lee just before you came to Armedangels. What will be your take on denim in your new position?
Denim offers an amazing opportunity for us as a brand! What excites me about denim that it is truly the only material and medium that can be worn all year long by everyone no matter the origin, age, gender or income. It gets better with time, runs next to trends on a sideline as a timeless classic. However it was always relevant when major shifts in society happened. It is the cloth of rebels and everyone with an activist spirit.
We will make it one of our most important assets and I am looking forward growing it big, sustainable and just as unique for Armedangels as every pair of denim is. Just now we are introducing our first Circular Denim.

Circular denim by Armedangels

Circular denim by Armedangels

How far can sustainable production still put limits on design?
I like to see limits always as creative challenges. The moment you solve and overcome the challenge, the results and achievements are even more appreciated. Our fair and sustainable production is one of our USPs that never limits us but motivates us even more to create the best product we can offer to our growing community of customers.

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