Started From Underwear, Now They're Here: Baserange
The two founders on their thoughtful growth in ethically made, sustainable apparel
The pared-down, simple styles and tactile fabrics of Danish-French label Baserange’s SS16 collection feel quietly revolutionary, elevating everyday-wear into something quite a bit more interesting. The brand—whose name stands for Basic Aesthetic for Sustainable Easywear—combines laid-back French elegance with Scandinavian cool, for a versatile collection that ranges from underwear and swimwear to sweaters and soft cotton skirts in nude and "egg yellow" hues.
We wanted to build a brand with as little retouching as possible, both humanly and production-wise
“I think what inspired us the most, and still does, is the time we live in. The possibilities and challenges we think are relevant to us, and hopefully to others too. We wanted to build a brand with as little retouching as possible, both humanly and production wise. We hope our underwear and clothes support women in whatever they would like to feel or do,” say founders Blandine Legait and Marie-Louise Mogensen.
Baserange strongly believes that sustainable products shouldn’t be a luxury, but that doesn't mean its clothes are mass-produced—the brand only works with small, family-run factories. “They are such a huge part of our work and their involvement is vital. We work with them because of who they are and what they do,” Legait and Mogensen explain. “They are a big part of us working toward more sustainable ways and finding solutions.” Finding the factories is a very long process, the designers tell us. “We started with one place, and from there we got to know more factories; then you meet people that you really like working with and they show you new factories, too. This is very much about building friendships and a network of people with similar values to your own." All of the brand's underwear, T-shirts, sweats and leather garments are produced in small towns around Porto, Portugal; the woven pieces in a town called Odemis near Izmir, Turkey; and some of the 100% organic cotton knits are made in France.
Not working with larger factories also helps the brand make sure that the entire production chain is sustainable. “It suits us to work with smaller factories because we don’t want to overproduce. We don’t want to just produce the big minimums for the sake of it, and smaller factories are often better at meeting smaller minimums. I mean, you can produce a million organic T-shirts, but in the end how sustainable is that, even though the fabric is organic? If at one point we find a big factory we build a close relationship with, then we would love to work with them,” the designers say. Legait and Mogesen visit each factory they work with five or six times per year, and say it’s very clear when you visit factories whether they treat their workers well or not. “If you look for factories where you can produce as cheap as possible, then this is very much linked to worse conditions for the workers. The money we are willing to spend and how people are treated is equal, both as producers and as consumers,” they say.
Most of the brand’s fabrics are organic, it uses non-toxic dyes, and a big part of the Baserange collection is also made from raw fabric that hasn’t been dyed at all. The designers try to make sure the production of their clothes doesn’t add to the destruction of the environment. “We live in a world today that’s so polluted, and a big part of it is because of production. So many conflicts, wars and environmental disasters are connected to producing clothing. Basically, then, we don’t think the world needs another T-shirt. Even if it is organic.”
The apparel's chilled-out vibe extends to the brand’s lookbook for spring, which features models in everyday locations, like supermarkets and high-rise towerblocks, bathed in hazy sunlight. The designer says Baserange as a brand is about “being yourself when you feel confident, but also being able to show your insecurities, and being okay with that.” Though underwear remains at the heart of Baserange’s collections, the founders say they really enjoy adding elements and products that can tell other stories, too—an evolution of the brand that we hope will be ongoing.
Images courtesy of Baserange