Meet Annett Borg, the designer behind BESONNEN, Germany's first circular yoga fashion label. Annett is not just another sustainable designer. From working in fast fashion to becoming a founding member and leader of Fashion Revolution Germany, her entire thought, process and brand is centered on a commitment to the environment.
Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us. We are happy to have you as our blog guest and excited to be able to have BESONNEN as part of the Second Launch Family.
Photo: Annett Borg
Tell us a bit about your time at Fashion Revolution Germany and how this lead to founding Besonnen?
I worked as country coordinator for the global consumer campaign Fashion Revolution Germany. In my role, I had the opportunity to work alongside and connect with major influencers and pioneers of the ethical fashion industry. The global campaign is committed to bringing more transparency to the textile supply chains and has helped drive positive change within the industry. It has now developed into an internationally recognised and award winning consumer campaign.
Among other things, I was often asked where I could buy fair and beautiful clothing. Since I train, jog and practice yoga a lot myself, I have been looking for attractive and sustainable sportswear for a long time. When I couldn't find anything, I decided to use my knowledge of sustainable materials and combine design with functionality. So one thing led to the next and shortly thereafter I designed the first collection and founded Besonnen - Germany's first circular yoga fashion label.
Germany's first circular yoga fashion Label. That's impressive. Congratulations.
When did your personal journey with sustainability begin?
When I first started working as a designer in the industry I was shocked by the amount of waste it created. It started with in-house fitting samples and fabric hangers that would arrive in large amounts from different suppliers and ended with whole collections that did not get used in the end when someone at the top changed their mind. I later learned that this was only one side of waste, pre consumer waste - meaning all textiles that were discarded before a piece of clothing actually reached the shop. I later learned that the waste we create after buying clothes, the post consumer waste would even make up for a bigger number - 5.8 millions clothes are dumped per year only in Europe….
Photo: Besonnen - Walk Free Leggings
Besonnen is a mindful yoga and active wear brand focusing on using biodegradable and recycled fibres. Tell us more. How is Besonnen helping to build a more sustainable fashion industry?
The meaning of the word Besonnen falls between mindfulness and consciousness. To be Besonnen means to understand that we are all connected to each other - as human beings no matter which race or religion - as well as to the natural world. The label stands for positive change and a shift in how we value, use and dispose of resources, creating a circular system, like in nature. Our name is just like the products we create - a clear differentiation away from and a conscious challenge of the world of fast fashion.
Being able to create something of my own I first had to connect to my inner self. For me this connection gave me the confidence to believe in my idea of a multifunctional capsule range that would accompany women from the gym all the way to the office or meeting with friends. I knew that I wanted a clean silhouette with functional design details.
"I believe that we are all connected and dependent on a well functioning ecosystem. If you take, you need to give back - it is that simple. We have to stop being consumers and start taking ownership for the things we buy to make sure we really need them and that they will last"
What would you say are the key things that make your brand sustainable??
Designing for longevity is definitely key - it has been identified as the single largest opportunity to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing (source: wrap, UK) This is why we have decided to develop a concept for an easy to combine capsule collection with effortless stylish appeal, made from super soft and sustainable materials with long-lasting qualities.
The biggest impact in making a garment happen is at the raw material stage which is also the reason why we only work with recycled or regenerated fibres which use less water and energy. We equipp the garment with pockets or reversible details so the wearer gets as much use as possible out of a Besonnen garment. We then also take the garment back if it is no longer worn. It will either be circulated as a preloved garment or recycled if no longer wearable.
Photo: Besonnen - Pure Balance Bustier
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sustainable clothing?
It might be an easy way to rely on labels and certifications but they too are not flawless. So I think it’s important to always check where a product is coming from, whether it is clothing or other things such as mobile phones, etc. Sustainability is directly connected to transparency. A brand should be able to give you all the details concerning the production of the product you want to buy.
As consumers, what are the easiest ways that we can all be more sustainable in our approach to fashion?
I believe that we are all connected and dependent on a well functioning ecosystem. If you take, you need to give back - it is that simple. When buying a product ask yourself, where does it come from, who made it and which resources were used. Do I want to support the economy behind that product by buying it or not? We have to stop being consumers and start taking ownership for the things we buy to make sure we really need them and that they will last.
But most importantly - have fun with your wardrobe. Buy second hand, rent it, resell it - all of that is sustainable.
Photo: Besonnen - Walk Free Leggings
What's next for yourself & BESONNEN?
We are currently part of a closed loop recycling project and testing a reverse supply chain to create a circular system on a bigger scale.
We have recently been accepted for an EU funded accelerator program. Our goal is to develop a zero waste activewear set. The aim of the project is to apply a closed loop production model including all stages of the supply chain for a pair of leggings as well as a work out bra made from technical materials. The project is currently at design stage and we expect to gain important insights into the necessary fine-tuning at material stage as well as end of product life stage with the involvement of our partner and consumers for a sustainable circular economy for textiles.
Thanks Annett for taking the time to answer these questions! It’s been great learning more about Besonnen sustainable journey. We look forward to seeing the next collection and follow all the upcoming projects and the great work that you and your team are doing!
" To be Besonnen means to understand that we are all connected to each other - as human beings no matter which race or religion - as well as to the natural world."
Levi N Larsson