Living in the time of over-consumption, our mailbox is often bombarded with bundle offers and discount codes stating ‘enter 20OFF at check-out’ (just tap unsubscribe, chances are you still follow them on social media). It’s almost too humane to crumble under the pressure of obtaining a new dress as feel-good therapy. But have you ever wondered how it’s possible for fashion behemoths to play around with prices, like a clown forming different shapes out of balloons? This Finnish brand is here to challenge price transparency in fashion.
Words: Evelin Kangur
So far, most sustainable brands are considered pricey, even if you brain massage yourself enough to get the approximate cost-per-wear estimate of a clothing item. What transparent brands do offer is a transparent price calculation, allowing customers glance behind the scenes, and thus know exactly where their banknotes are landing. San-Francisco based sustainability-darling Everlane has been doing it for years. And now its Nordic counterpart Whitetail is paving the way in the Scandinavian region. By keeping sales in-house, the brand is able to control (read: avoid) hefty price tags, and make sustainable fashion more accessible for everyone.
Whitetail’s founder Margit Peura is seamlessly linking health and fashion, offering a holistic approach to well-being through clothes. We wanted to know more!
You have background in medicine. What similarities can you draw with the medical industry and making a debut in fashion?
My inclusive goal is to make our environment, and thus people, healthier. Once I gained in-depth knowledge about the environmental effect of fashion industry, I couldn’t stand still without taking action. Creating clothes out of organic materials has an effect on the people who wear them. That way their health can be improved. Where's it also has a positive impact on the raw material, garment producers and the environment. Or more specifically, has a smaller negative effect altogether.
Despite entering the fashion business, I am still an active doctor. And I'm trying to influence people to make healthier choices every day. I somehow feel that this is my duty to raise awareness about what people wear, eat or put on their skin. Designing clothing is my creative side-kick that I can express through fashion.
"Sales create a shopping madness that causes customers to binge-buy products that they often end up not wearing."
Sustainability is still a vague term for a lot of people. What does it mean for Whitetail?
Making wise and thoughtful decisions concerning nature, fellow humans, animals and, of course, health. Also, consuming less is a key element of sustainability for our team. We are not perfect, but trying to make the best possible choice in every step of the process is our goal.
Whitetail: Scandinavian Equivalent to Everlane #Savant
"I somehow feel that this is my duty to raise awareness about what people wear, eat or put on their skin."
Whitetail has taken responsibility for making the pricing system transparent and keeping all sales only online. Why do you feel it’s necessary?
This is one decision that we considered long and hard before launching. Our company believes that people should consume much less and choose higher quality of clothes and everyday items. It was a logical step for us to bypass seasonal collections and reductions, because sales create a shopping madness that causes customers to binge-buy products that they often end up not wearing.
We wanted to open up the pricing structure for clients to see exactly what they are paying for, and to explain why selling online in crucial for taming fees. We are selling online only, to make the clothes more affordable. Our clients can see that the materials we use are actually expensive, so in retail environment the prices would be much higher. That way, only a few people would be able to afford the products. We believe that, if we want to change the buying habits of people, we need to offer really good quality clothes at an accessible price point.
Do you think women's empowerment needs more attention in fashion industry?
Definitely! Maybe not in the 'upper end' of the chain, but absolutely in the lower end. If you think about it, you realise that factory workers in poor Asian countries are very much part of the fashion industry, and most of them are women with no power nor voice.
When moving towards a healthy fashion climate, what are the wise choices we as consumers can make in everyday life?
Think and ask where the material comes from. Think about what kind of impact it has on nature. For example, a lot of synthetic materials are derived from oil and we are all familiar with the impact of oil drilling. The same materials are a source of micro-plastics in our wastewater, which is another serious concern. Ask and think about where the garment is produced. If the price is really low, then think about who has paid for it: because someone somewhere always does! And think twice before buying anything. Ask yourself, 'Do I really need it?'. How can I wear it it and when? How many times would I wear it?
Whitetail is offering a Body Lotion in its product range. What value does it add to the brand?
Whitetail is actually a journey and we are far from ready with Whitetail. The future goal is to add some very interesting health-related topics in the future, so it will make a lot of sense in this context. We are building Whitetail around holistic well-being and skincare is one part of it.