The clothing company Stierna Equestrian Sportswear has from the beginning had the issue of sustainability as one of the parameters in its ambition to develop technical equestrian clothing with high functionality for active riders. The phrase “Buy less, choose well, make it last”, a quote by fashion queen Vivienne Westwood, has become a mantra for Stierna’s product development.
– We constantly strive to become a more sustainable company. We must all relate to our limitations, but there is always more you can do and it is important to have a plan for the journey ahead and have the right partners along the way, says Helena Strömbäck.
Helena Strömbäck is the founder of Stierna. She is a dedicated rider and with her education as a textile engineer has always worked with product development in a number of physical outdoor sports such as climbing, skiing and golf. To the stable, she therefore automatically brought with her the principle of dressing to avoid thinking about moisture and cold. But finding a riding jacket with all the smart components she was used to proved impossible. This was the start of Stierna Equestrian Sportswear.
With equal parts determination and passion, Helena has worked to develop the riding clothes. The ideas can be born and tested as much during the hours in the stable outside Gothenburg as at the desk in the office not far from there. All garments are tested during the development of active riders and then further developed and honed.
– Your horse’s best day is perhaps a day when the weather is not at its best. But properly dressed, you will not miss that valuable moment when everything is right in communication with your horse. Functional garments are really a must, says Helena.
Stiernas three pillars for sustainability
Stiernas sustainability work is an important part of the brand, it´s identity and product development. It is based on three very concrete pillars: social sustainability, environmental sustainability and Sustainability in terms of quality.
Social Sustainability is about the products being produced under responsible forms where working conditions, wages and the right to e.g. trade union negotiations are protected. This is handled via Stiernas Code of conduct which is linked to BSCI. BSCI is not a label in itself, but a working standard between companies. Therefore, you will not find a garment in the store with a “BSCI logo”, but if a company works with BSCI standard, it means a guarantee of ethical working conditions for the workers. BSCI, The Business Social Compliance Initiative, is a European business-driven collaboration initiative for companies that want to improve working conditions in the global supply chain. Stierna’s key suppliers are all members of BSCI.
Environmental sustainability is about choosing well.
The vast majority of Stierna’s products are made of polyester. The polyester fabrics are durable, quick drying and they can transport moisture efficiently. Most of Stierna’s polyester garments are made from recycled fiber. Production of polyester fabric, especially recycled, also requires less water than production of many other materials.
-Recycled polyester is overall one of the most environmentally friendly functional materials available, and by offering recycled and recyclable products, we have come closer to our goal of maximum experience with minimal environmental impact. The trails have also been completely free of fluorocarbons since the start in 2015, says Helena.
Sustainability in terms of quality
All garments from Stierna are made from scratch, ie from the fabric construction to the fit and design.
-The absolute greatest, positive environmental impact you get by making durable garments, Helena Strömbäck continues.
The research program Mistra Future Fashion has produced data that shows that a garment that is used three times longer than the average reduces its climate impact by 65 percent and its water use by 66 percent.
-It is about creating garments that are not only durable but also have a design expression that lasts over time. Our garments are used by professionals such as veterinarians and riding schools as well as the mounted police in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, says Helena Strömbäck.
Alone is not strong
Big and important issues require cooperation, Stierna is part of the national platform for sustainable fashion and sustainable textiles – Textile & Fashion 2030. An initiative by the Swedish government that has given the University of Borås the task of establishing and leading. The assignment is run by Smart Textiles, part of Science Park Borås at the University of Borås, in collaboration with the School of Textiles, the Swedish Fashion Council, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and TEKO, the Swedish Textile and Fashion Company.
Stella – a strong symbol
Stiernas popular winter coat Stella is in many ways a good symbol of their sustainability work. The coat is made by a producer who is a member of BSCI and who also has been a personal contact to Helena for many years. The Scandinavian stripped-down and timeless design in classic colors means that the design lasts season after season. The durable fabric that Helena has developed is made of recycled polyester and has a DWR treatment, which makes it both water and dirt repellent, which is free of fluorocarbons. All accessories are also selected from a quality perspective to last over time, the zippers are certified YKK zippers and both the Thinsulate padding and the Scotchlite reflective tape is from 3M ™. The transport from the manufacturer to Sweden went by train. All in all, an investment both in your interest and in the future. The Stella series also includes a winter riding jacket and winter riding breeches.