Each week on the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave – co-founders of Danish womenswear label Baum Und Pferdgarten – talk to fashion editor Harriet Davey about making pieces that can be loved for a lifetime.
Founded by two uni friends back in 1999, Baum Und Pferdgarten is the Scandi brand that has built a loyal following of fashion insiders who adore the brand’s fun aesthetic. Boasting over 200,000 followers on Instagram, the #BaumFamily is growing by the day. You can spot a Baum print from a mile off and recognise its unique silhouettes from the streets to the grid, and this is why the Copenhagen-based label’s fans stay so loyal, because they can rest assured that each collection is going to be as exciting as the last. But most importantly, the company sticks to the same sustainability rules it has always been structured on from the offset.
With pieces based around the brand’s style rather than trends, as such, founders Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave have managed to create an eco-conscious brand that banishes any belief that sustainable fashion is dull. Quite the opposite, wardrobe staples – from simple shirts to smock dresses – are given a sprinkle of Baum magic. Using sustainably-sourced materials, the brand is completely transparent about what it currently does, and aims to do in the future, with a ’responsibility’ page dedicated to the cause online.
Here, the Sustainable Shopper finds out what the design duo has up their fashionable sleeve when it comes to the world of Baum Und Pferdgarten.
What is your earliest memory of sustainability?
Helle: Already as students at the Royal Danish Academy of Design in Copenhagen, we worked on some projects around recycling and upcycling where we created small collections made from vintage pieces. It was some of the first projects we did together as a duo and it was 100% sustainable. This is 25 years ago now.
Is there such a thing as truly sustainable fashion?
Rikke: This is a difficult question – and we are often asked to face this dilemma when we produce new products.
There’s no doubt that the most sustainable solution would be for everyone to create their own clothes – ideally from their existing wardrobe or vintage. But in a commercial business such as ours, we mainly produce “from scratch” and have our focus on the quality and the longevity of the garments we offer end-consumers. We believe that a beautiful piece of clothing with a long lifespan is by far the most responsible way to design and consume. Then in addition, we look at the entire supply chain starting with the origin of the fibre. Whether it can be organic or recycled, how we can minimise the use of natural resources like water, minimise the usage of chemicals and other polluting substances – on to the production of the fabric and the garment as well as the shipping from manufacturer to us and from us to our customers. With great care and attention to every step of the process we can get closer and closer to creating responsible products.
Who is your favourite sustainable influencer? And why?
Investment vs throw away fashion: how do you get customers to care?
Helle: We believe people get more and more aware of these matters the more we are talking about the need for a more conscious consumer culture. By talking openly about the problems in our industry and by making clothes – that both design and quality wise – are lasting for a long time, we are sure that more people will invest in fashion and not just consume fashion.
What changes would you like to see happen in the fashion industry?
Rikke: Firstly, we hope that more and more companies will join and support the UN World Goals. Secondly, the overproduction and deadstock situation is a huge problem and should be regulated by law. We believe that political regulations will help and the pressure from the consumers will force the companies to think and produce more sustainably.
Give us your top sustainability tips
Helle: No matter what you buy, buy high quality products.
Rikke: When standing in front of a product ask yourself if you really need this. In this manner you will possibly reduce your purchases. And don’t ever throw anything away. Give your old pieces new life, go to your local tailor if it needs repair, or give it to a friend.
Sustainable Shopper edit by Rikke:
Baum Und Pferdgarten Abi dress
I absolutely love this dress. We’ve made a feminist update to the antique tapestry print by swapping the gender roles so that now the female sailor brings home the catch to her husband and child.”
Baum Und Pferdgarten Camia trousers
These knit leggings are perfect for layering – and I’m already wearing them with the tapestry dress.
Ciao Ragazzi cups
This summer I’ve been eating ice cream almost every day – and I love to serve it in charming vintage cups.
Piet Heik Eeek chair
The upcycled wooden stools and chairs by Dutch Piet Hein Eek are longtime investments.”
Sustainable Shopper edit by Helle:
Baum Und Pferdgarten Angie dress
I absolutely love this easy and effortless silhouette – I’ve worn it every day in my summerhouse during my holiday.
Baum Und Pferdgarten Beronica jacket
The perfect piece to go from summer into autumn – I’m using it as a cover-up piece for cold Danish summer nights now and will use it indoors later in the season.
Kjaer Weis blusher
I love the organic skincare product from Kjær Weis. When I have a summer tan – I love to add a little extra blush.
This is my favourite colour of bedding from Danish brand Tekla – it’s just perfect for a beautiful painting hanging over my bed.
Images: courtesy of Rikke Baumgarten, Helle Hestehave, Baum Und Pferdgarten and brands featured