“We want to challenge people’s perception of what sustainable fashion can look like” John Graffner
When Johann Graffner started his first business in the 90s, he was selling trendy ball chains, which was the rage back in the day. Today, he is the leader behind the successful brand Dedicated, manning the helm as it treads the path of sustainable fashion. Balancing a mix of street and eco aesthetic, Dedicated has become known for supporting creatives and promoting sustainability in the fashion industry. Graffner’s journey started in 1996 in London when he was a struggling student. Using his crafty entrepreneurship skills, he managed to strike gold selling ball chains which at that time were not available in Europe. This also allowed him to build a network with fashion store buyers and even managed to exhibit at the Copenhagen Fashion Week.
However, after a few ventures into streetwear, he changed course in 2006 when he became more sensitive to the effects of the fashion industry in the world. Prompted by this awareness, he founded T-Shirt Store. The idea behind the brand is to collaborate with independent creators and artists all over the world. Eventually, T-Shirt Store was rebranded into Dedicated, now with a renewed dedication to using Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Fairtrade Certified cotton. They have also expanded their inventory to include Global Recycle Standard (GRS) recycled polyester and Tencel, a type of natural fiber. Moreover, they also work with Fairtrade to ensure that the producers of the materials they use are given proper wages. This holistic approach to sustainability has set this trendy and youthful brand apart from others.
Dedicated’s brand identity also comprises of a desire for creative collaboration. With the tagline “Bringing flavor to Sustainable Fashion”, they aim to feature exciting designs from artists that they choose to collaborate with for a particular season. In an interview with Heads Up, Graffner said, “We want to challenge people’s perception of what sustainable fashion can look like by collaborating with some of the most creative illustrators and photographers in the world.”
This has translated into interesting results. For instance, in their Autumn/ Winter 2016/2017 collection, they released jackets in recycled PET polyester. The move made waves across the industry, as they were recognized as the only streetwear brand to have been included in the Textile Exchange 100% Club. Moreover, because they feature a host of different artists and styles each season, they can cover a wide spectrum of tastes and sensibilities. Their inventory now has pieces for men, women, and kids, each category having a wide variety of pieces. For example, their men’s shirts feature bird prints, some references to the cities of Varberg and Sandefjord, and even some formal designs such as an Oxford Burgundy. There is enough to accommodate everybody’s needs, and all of them are sustainable and eco-friendly.
While Graffner and Dedicated have already achieved a lot with their brand, they still believe that making conscious clothing mainstream is an uphill climb. In an interview with Luxiders, Griffner mentioned that conscious purchasing practices must become ‘cool’ before they can be embraced by the popular masses, particularly the young people. He also mentioned some other difficulties such as keeping up with rapidly expanding fast fashion brands. There is always a pressure to lower production costs, and this usually falls on the workers and their wages. Of course, Griffner believes that this is not ethical. Thus, Dedicated has to resort to declining some good ideas when the materials or processes needed are not sustainable.
Nonetheless, Dedicated has recently enjoyed steady expansion in the last five years. They are now looking to partner with bigger distribution partners. With their message and their one-of-a-kind approach to fashion creativity, we can only hope for the best for this rising Swedish brand.