Photo by Marlen Stahlhuth
Does ethical underwear tickle your fancy for this festive season? Then Sofie Andersson’s newly launched, handcrafted lingerie label Anekdot will be right up your alley. Her two-person team brings Berlin its very own ‘upcycled’ underwear where off-cuts, production leftovers, dead stock and vintage trimmings are turned into some damn sexy lingerie. Anekdot's range of sheer panties, lace-trimmed bralettes and matching sets are as original as they are sustainable. But what do anecdotes have to do with underwear? Find out as we speak to Andersson about her three-person crusade for ethical undies in the world of fast fashion.
What do anecdotes have to do with underwear?
Anecdotes define and enhance stories, experiences and people. The materials used in our collections are high-quality leftovers emerging from industry overproduction. Our label name refers to the interesting stories of these fabrics.
Where did the concept come from and how did you take it from an idea to a concrete reality?
I’m a fashion designer educated in Italy where I learnt everything about the artisanal and handmade – pure craftsmanship born out from passion, skills and artistry. I’m not happy with the social injustices and environmental crises caused by the 'fast fashion' industry and I respond to that by implementing an intimate relationship with materials that the industry leaves behind. I’ve been sewing since I was very young, but always ready-to-wear. Making underwear is completely different than normal collection making and tailoring, which I realised when I made my first sample. My first underwear creations really didn’t look great. But the difficulties made it more exciting and I did it over and over again until I made it work.
How did you make it happen in Berlin?
I relocated to Berlin with the vision to start Anekdot as a part-time occupation; a platform where I can use my creativity to be a part of revolutionizing fashion. Upon arriving here, I realised Berlin is full of design/art markets, open-minded shops for young brands and helpful people in the field – components that truly help to kick off! I started to attend the design markets and the great feedback from people kept me going. And I'm extremely lucky to be surrounded by brave, creative people who follow their passion and work with their artistry. Here I know a self-taught hat maker, a jewellery maker, a girl making vegan lip glosses, photographers, the list goes on...
From "The Motel Collection". Photo by Irene De La Selva
How do you make ethical underwear?
First I source the materials. It could be a closing down factory, makers' surplus, production errors or miscalculations. Most our fabrics comes from London or Italy at the moment, since I still have the most contacts there. The most interesting place I sourced materials was while in Florence this September. Wandering in an antique market, we met a lovely couple selling unused vintage laces; beautiful French ones originally produced for luxury fashion brands in the late 1970s. An amazing coincidence!
Then I make the design sketches, draft the patterns and scale them to each size. We test the fit and start cutting the fabric. Each pattern needs to be cut out of however many layers of fabric are used, sewn together, pressed neatly, and have edges finished and trimmings applied. We do all our production in our own small studio.
What is the most unusual set of lingerie you have made?
One of the first styles I did was finished with a button in front instead of a bow. I found these incredible unique silver buttons looking like abstract seashells in my favourite vintage boutique and just felt the need to make them wearable.
Where do you want to take Anekdot in the next 5-10 years?
I am pretty humble in that way, and want to be small, local and precious; like the small local bakery making the most delicious cinnamon buns. In the near future I want to spread Anekdot products to more cities and countries and I am brainstorming ideas on how to make that possible and still follow my ethics.
What is your usual daily routine for Anekdot?
I start the day with a few hours of replying to emails, looking over marketing, ordering new material, booking meetings or brainstorming new ideas and making goals for what to create during the day. Then I bust out the patterns, scissors, fabric and coffee and get moving. I prefer to sew in daylight with lively music or inspiring talks. I then photograph and ship everything from my same small studio. There are always unexpected events popping up, and I love to break with a self-made juice made from seasonal fruits!
Why is underwear important for the fashion industry?
Underwear is a very personal kind of garment. It's created as a sophisticated secret, hidden underclothes that still have the power to change the way a person feels. And crafting underwear means that I can use even the smallest pieces of fabric and details to create something beautiful and wearable.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs in Berlin?
Trust your guts.
What is your business motto?
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Check out her shop at www.anekdotboutique.com.