From creating fashion for his neighbor to taking values global, Peter Jensen knows all too well that fast fashion of today needs to take stock and slow down.
Peter Jensen collaborated with People Tree to design a collection of ethical fashion for this season. People Tree founder and CEO Safia Minney interviewed Peter about his interest in sustainable fashion.
Safia: How did you get started?
Peter: I found I had such a great fondness for my mother’s sewing machine, because of what it could do for me. It must have been the same as when a carpenter discovers hammer and nails! From a very young age I made outfits for my next door neighbour because she couldn’t get things in her size – in fact her size kept changing so I had to make more and more outfits.
Safia: What has changed in the industry today?
Peter: There are a lot of challenges for a fashion designer. Something has happened in the past 10 years – the time frames are much shorter. My first fashion show didn’t involve the Internet or websites. Now the clothes are instantly shown on the web and need to be constantly available. I think because of technology, perhaps more than anything, we now do six shows a year. We have to have all production to back it up and come up with finished products very quickly.
Safia: Do you try to be aware of sustainability issues and problems around ‘throwaway’ fashion?
Peter: Growing up in Denmark of course I am very conscious of the need for recycling – it’s part of the culture. In fact working with People Tree is opening my eyes to new things and I love to learn. I open up my mind and see if that is a path that our company can do more. That is a great aspect of doing collaborations. In Scandinavia, there has just been a fashion conference on social and environmental justice. I think we’re responsible for the strange weather that we see today.
Organic cotton protects the water and the soil and the health of the community. Fair trade means that farmers and producers are paid a fair price for their labour. It’s both of course – you want people to have a good life. But the environment has no voice – unlike people who can try to stand up for themselves. I see human hands destroying the environment, humongous cars dropping off tiny human people in school uniform, free newspapers litter the station platforms – it seems people don’t care any more and I don’t understand the mentality. So I have a need to believe it can come to a point where that can stop.
Want to learn more? Watch People Tree’s interview with Peter Jensen.