Residents of Halifax, Canada, may be familiar with the eclectic design and second-hand store Makenew. But now designer Anna Gilkerson has launched a sustainable collection of her own in order to meet demand for ethical garments. Dubbed Älskling – from the Swedish for ‘darling’ – the locally-made designs are minimalist and simple in form. They are all created by hand using a mixture of organic or sustainably sourced fabrics from India, which are hand printed and crafted by local young (and highly skilled) pattern-makers, sewers and graders. Everyone involved are paid a fair wage and by keeping it local helps ensure that the money stays within the local economy. The collection itself consists of a range of simple yet cool items such as a T-shirt tank and a button up dress, in white and embroidered fabric perfect for the coming summer months
The line is small with just seven pieces on offer, but Gilkerson says that tons of research went into curating a collection that would appeal to the client. “We talk to our customers a lot about what they desire and feel good in,” she said. “The styles are feminine yet modern and minimal with classic elements.”
She approaches the design stage with these ideas, along with her international background; trained in New York and Italy, Gilkerson is also half Swedish which perhaps brings a certain Scandanavian aesthetic to her work.
Gilkerson says that Älskling aims to have a zero carbon footprint in terms of travel as the brand sells direct to the customer. “We make small batches to allow fresh batches to deliver often,” she said. “It also lets us work in new designs that work with the already existing collection.”
She makes sure everything is produced in Canada, and even (when possible) sources fabric locally. “Our last fabric source is from a long standing Canadian mill,” she noted, “[as] I don’t just use one source.” The brand also puts quality high on their agenda, with designs that are made to last.