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Softly softly: Woron’s premium, ethical lingerie

Woron 2017 07 03 3512

The Woron sisters are harnessing the power of the conscious consumer with their ethical approach to lingerie.

The premium lingerie sector often brings to mind thoughts of luxurious lace, rich colours and opulent, sexy design. However, for Danish brand Woron it means soft, minimalist and styles made from sustainable fabrics.

Woron 2016 portrætter18542

Woron 2016 portrætter18542

Anya and Arina Woron

Sisters Anya and Arina Woron founded their eponymous lingerie brand in 2016. Before founding Woron, Anya worked in sales for the beauty industry, and Arina worked as a designer for companies including Day Birger et Mikkelsen, London label Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and, most recently, Danish womenswear brand Gestuz, where she served as head of design for three years.

“I was becoming more and more aware of how things are produced and what is good for the environment, but I couldn’t always act on it,” explains Arina. Focusing on lingerie as a “joint passion”, the Woron sisters founded their brand with sustainability and ethical production at its core, leveraging their respective industry experience in their new business.

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Arina describes Woron’s core customer as “fashion orientated but wanting something comfortable. Usually people doing yoga or Pilates, maybe living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle – the conscious consumer.”

The range revolves around relaxed lingerie and base layers. Bestselling styles including the non-wired Flirt bra (retail price DKK 349/£40.70) and the Brief Base knickers (DKK 179/£20.91). Wholesale prices for the collection range from DKK 119 (£13.90) for socks to DKK 899 (£105.03) for a midi slip dress.

Arina explains that the brand has added styles slowly as it has grown, focusing on simple designs that suit different needs: “When we design we try to do it so products don’t overlap. It fulfils the need that you have for the specific occasion you’re going to use it for.”

“When we started out we financed everything ourselves, so it limited how big we could make the collection. We decided that that, with time, we would add the pieces that we know that we need in our collection to make a full wardrobe.”

The brand has hit several emerging consumer trends with its collections: the rise of the conscious consumer, Scandi styling, a sustainable focus and the rising popularity of soft, non-wired bras.

Woron 2017 07 03 4530

The meeting of these elements has gained Woron celebrity endorsement, including from actress and activist Emma Watson. It has 42 stockists in Europe, including three sustainability-focused retailers in the UK.

“As a vegan store, I only stock ethical brands, and Woron is a slow fashion brand that puts a lot of thought and care into every part of its production,” says Katie Dent, founder of ethical lifestyle store One Small Shop in Hastings, East Sussex. “It is very transparent about all aspects of its business.”

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“We love it when a brand focuses on doing one thing well and Woron does just that with sustainably sourced basics,” says Holly Allenby, founder of sustainable clothing site The-Acey.com. “That was a big attraction. Also the wearability and simple, clean aesthetic works for our customers.”

Woron’s choice of fabrications is hugely popular with customers, adds Alicia Taylor, co-founder of sustainable etailer Gather&See: “The softness of the Lenzing fabric, which is used across the collection, is second to none, and the Woron team are able to talk us through the production process in detail.”

Arina explains that Woron’s use of manufacturer Lenzing’s Tencel modal, a fibre made from beechwood pulp, stems from its sustainable ethos: “It is the highest quality you can get when it comes to a man-made, but plant-based fibre.”

“It is made in Switzerland and the company uses a closed-loop production circle – so all the water that is used is reused again. The few chemicals that are used are reused again. Everything is as green as it can be.”

Woron’s production is based in Hungary and Germany. It seeks to ensure good working conditions in factories – including payment above minimum wage and proper overtime pay – and a low carbon footprint from packing and transportation.

Woron swimwear7091

Woron swimwear

Woron swimwear

While the brand does not produce seasonal ranges, it is set to launch its debut swimwear line in May, in response to customer requests.

“Swimwear is something we’ve been brewing for quite a while,” explains Arina. “We had so many customers saying that they love our bras and asking why we don’t make them as bikini tops. When you have so many customers asking these questions, creating it becomes a given.”

The range comprises three pieces: a bikini top in the Flirt shape, bikini bottoms and a swimsuit, all made from recycled polyester and utilising salvaged waste plastics from waterways.

The founders believe there is a market for premium lingerie in simple designs made from sustainable fabrics.

“We’re just a small brand, but we’ve made it a success,” says Arina. “Every month that passes by we just grow bigger. There is a huge demand for what we do.”

 

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