For our first collection, we took inspiration from creative districts from around Europe, where local designers and artisans are returning to the use of high-quality materials, traditional techniques and unique processes to make products that last. We travelled from London to Stockholm to learn more about a neighbourhood that’s getting noticed for its flawless design culture – Södermalm. A hub for shopping and craft, Söder is at the forefront of trend and shopping within the capital, and we are now witnessing a welcome increase in the number of products being sourced, made and sold by local designers. Read on to hear more about Douglas Luhanko, indigo enthusiast and founder of Unionville.
Within the store, I was greeted welcomely by Douglas Luhanko, who I chatted to about Unionville and denim craft. He thrives on indigo dying, creating and repairing denim garments for local residents and distant fans - which keeps his loom and four vintage sewing machines active. Unionville is part workshop, part store: to awe, entice and educate customers in all things denim – including dying, manipulating and making.
Douglas has also written his own handbook about indigo, alongside fellow enthusiast and tailor Kerstin Neumüller. They experiment with different recipes and techniques to revive vintage colours and styling using natural dyes and cottons. Within the book, images by Fredrik Ottoson show the way in which Japanese techniques (Aizome) of harvesting and extracting indigo are used to create a more natural and ethical product for Douglas to use.
“We found one small factory that has kept their machines and knowledge from the glory days of Swedish textile production”
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Blackhorse Lane Ateliers is a true pioneer of transparent manufacturing in London. With a business model very close to our hearts, they embody many of the same core values as MONC at their production site in Walthamstow, North London where they manufacture ready-to-wear selvedge & organic denim clothing, with jeans at the core.