Suno make vibrant, wearable clothes. The prints often form the main focal point and that is what initially caught my attention. However, when you start reading the story behind the brand, it gets better. The aforementioned prints are based on founder Max Osterweis’ collection of Kenyan textiles collected over the years which explains the overriding African craft vibe from the collections. However, even better is the fact that Suno is dedicated to sustainability and ethical treatment of workers (which are by no means the same thing), and produce more than 70% of their stuff locally in Kenya. Now, to be upfront, I know Kenya is pretty huge, and I don’t know the name of one city, so I have no idea what local means in this context, but the company seems to be very focused on using indigenous talent and upskilling people to create a better local (there’s that word again) economy and providing skills and commerce to areas that are often overlooked. Which is never a bad thing.
What I especially like about Suno is that they are a fashion company first. Their ethos is built into their designs, but not on the surface of them, if you get me. I believe in working towards a more sustainable fashion industry that works along more ethical guidelines, but I think one of the main reasons that puts people off buying from companies who are heavily involved in sustainability is that design comes after their beliefs. And with the exception of slogan tshirts, very few people want to wear their beliefs so literally. I think to really enact change, companies like Suno are the way forwards, where what they are trying to do just IS. It’s almost a given, and then they focus on creating garments that the vast majority of people want to wear. By selling them as fashion, instead of a social conscience, they are giving people what they want. Just in a more responsible way on the back end of things. If bigger companies just WERE socially conscious, I imagine consumers would be massively supportive. People are lazy. I’m lazy. And I am aware of the problem far more than most. I don’t believe that people purposely buy things to spite workers or the environment, but too often the greener alternative is too difficult to access (in comparison to highstreet stuff), or the design quality just isn’t there.
So, before I rant on all day, here’s to Suno and their company and what they stand for. Great clothes, that is.
If you want to learn more about what you can do to make a difference, no matter how small, go to re-dress.ie. The girls that run it are great, and run courses and talks and loads of good stuff, as well as providing information.