In 1996, the embroidery company Brands Polska sp. z.o.o. in the village of Somonino, near Gdansk in Poland was founded and continuously expanded with new finishing techniques. In 2002, Brands Fashion GmbH was founded as a textile trade and service company in the town of Buchholz in Lower Saxony, Germany with an extensive network of suppliers in Europe, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Dr Ulrich Hofmann of Brands Fashion GmbH takes us through the journey of Brands Fashion, the concept of ´Shirts for life´, and the company´s latest projects for India and Bangladesh. Excerpts from the interview.
ITJ Editor: When did the concept of Brands Fashion take shape, and how did it grow over the years?
Dr Ulrich Hofmann (UF): Brands fashions GmbH roots lay in a textile production and a print and embroidery factory in Poland. This service has been complemented by profound design and production know-how, and until today we are one of the leading private label work wear suppliers in Europe. We serve our customers across the entire value chain ´ right from design to final consumer logistics. This we want to expand even further with a logistics unit. In 1996, the embroidery company Brands Polska sp. z.o.o. in the village of Somonino, near Gdansk in Poland was founded and continuously expanded with new finishing techniques. They also built up a small clothing business. In 2002, Brands Fashion GmbH was founded as a textile trade and service company in the town of Buchholz in Lower Saxony, Germany with an extensive network of suppliers in Europe (Turkey, Poland, Portugal) and the Far East (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan). Soon Brands Fashion had established itself as one of the leading textile specialists in the fields of work, sports and promotional clothing, and has acquired numerous national and international companies as customers. After several acquisitions and establishments, Brands Fashion received ISO 9001 certification in 2009 thereby publicly documenting the high quality standards that they demand of products and processes.
Shortly after Brands Fashion joined the European Business Social Compliance Initiative, underscoring its commitment to the promotion and improvement of sustainability and social fairness in the textile production industry. In 2012, Brands Fashion opened an office for quality assurance in Dhaka, Bangladesh, under the management of a German clothing engineer. Working in Bangladesh itself allows her to better ensure quality and production control in this key sourcing country.
ITJ Editor: What is your basic approach in sourcing raw materials? How does this contribute to the eco-friendly products?
UF: As a work wear supplier we need durable garments, often with polyester fabrics but also cotton. In all areas of production we try to be eco-friendly. That means we put organic cotton instead of conventional cotton and recycled polyester instead of virgin polyester.
ITJ Editor: Do you feel that eco sense makes better business sense? What are your experiences?
UF: Yes, eco definitely makes sense! In the long term eco is a good business. And as Germany is a leading market for eco-friendly concepts, not only in food and energy but also in textile, we have to offer eco-friendly and fashionable collections to our customers.
ITJ Editor: Can you give some details about the concept of ´Shirts for life´ of your organisation?
UF: With ´Shirts for life´, we want to show that it is possible to produce sustainable and fashionable garments with traceability along the whole textile value chain down to organic farming. ´Shirts for life´ is a new urban street wear, which also allows a very posit