The Red Thread
When Rie Design (today known as COZE AARHUS) was founded in 1987, Rie and Jens Nygaard built up the LAURIE brand based on contemporary designs, perfect fits, high quality, and decency. Today, the latter equates with responsibility, and in our world these concepts are interrelated. In 1987, the definition of sustainable development was born– in the Brundtland Report. However, it took some years before it reached our company.
Lena says: “Henrik (former partner) and I had just taken over the company in a generational handover. In 2005 we participated in a huge fashion exhibition in Düsseldorf, filled with unique fashion brands. It was my first time at a fashion exhibition, as a new owner of a clothing company in a business I didn’t know. Totally unaware of the educational journey that was ahead of me. My focus was to listen to what the customers (the shop owners) had to say about our brand. And I heard the same worries over and over again: ”You’re not going to change the fit or quality, are you?” I’ll never forget that question, and I soon learnt that these elements were essential in our new company.”
The viable elements
Since the start-up of Rie Design in 1987, fit and product quality have turned out to be viable elements; and we soon realised that we had taken over a company where the third foundation was to run a business based on decency. Both when it comes to suppliers and customers. Decency creates loyal customers and long-term supplier relationships, and we are proud to say that we still cooperate with many of them.
Today, we at COZE are convinced that if our customers choose a style of high quality and with a perfect fit, that style has a strong potential to become a new wardrobe favourite. A style you love to wear, a style you take good care of, a style you wash with care (not too often), a style you air-dry, a style you may even repair, a style you are proud of. In brief: a go-to favourite that almost becomes your friend. To many consumers, LAURIE has always been a wardrobe favourite. Today, we also know that favourites form the basis of sustainability because an item must be worn many, many times before you can call it sustainable.
Things happened fast
Decency and responsibility go hand in hand even though business responsibility has a broader definition today, such as CSR or three-part bottom line. Basically, we believe that it’s all about thoroughness and learning – and to use learning to create change and improvement – both when it comes to economy, people, and climate.
In the past, we didn’t think much about sustainability or climate because we didn’t know how our materials were made. And we only rarely visited the production sites, meaning that we didn’t focus on the working conditions at the factories. You just didn’t do that. Times were different then – also in the fashion industry; and after our takeover of the company, things happened fast
Lena says: “My learning curve was vertical, but I was surrounded by talented and professional colleagues with many years of experience, so I felt totally safe. Until I got a phone call in 2007, which turned out to be a game changer for all of us. A game changer that would define our future work… the caller was our label supplier. He wanted to know if I had REACH under control.”
To be continued…