By: Eline Steurs
Tove by design, formerly T by Dem, was founded by Tove and her need for a great garment that made her feel well dressed and look the part for her trade. At that time, her trade was representing her and her husband's glass company on markets, stores and shows. After a meeting with Annika Axelsson, Tove found a new career focus in textiles. With the help of Amanda Nordin, a Garment Technologist in Gothenburg, she developed her original design, the Maker Skirt: a wrap-skirt that folds in the back, allowing for front pockets— the garment she always wanted.
“It became the Maker Skirt, for folks at work and play.”
In 2017 she made a personal connection with Annika Axelsson in Gothenburg, Sweden, as a long-time fan of her work on sustainable fashion. Annika also created the relationships Tove has today with her partners in Bangalore, India.
“With over 15 years of experience in the field, Annika has a number of fun, exciting, path breaking, breathtaking, and plain fantastic collaborations to talk about. We are honored to be one of those collaborations as we are heading forward into a future where terms as organic, fair trade, and sustainability are the new normal.”
Back in 2004, Annika and her former work partner Karin Stenmar started and operated Dem Collective in reaction to the standard formula for clothing production. The idea was to show that it’s possible to combine ecology, ethics and quality with good design. Dem Collective has shown that it’s more than possible to run a profitable clothing company without taking unfair advantage of people or the environment.
“In our start-up phase I operated in the US under the name T by Dem, going forward the company will exist as Tove by design and we operate directly with the production team in Bangalore, India.”
Tove by design addresses 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through working directly with cotton farmers and textile workers and improving their livelihoods. They produce the skirts in a manufacturing facility (GOTS, Fairtrade and BSCI certified) in Bangalore that provides safe and hygienic working conditions for the workers, in which they earn 40-70% more than the legal minimum wage The fabrics are GOTS certified, which has a stringent tracking method through transaction certificates issued and verified at every stage of the production process.
“Denim production does need water and chemicals like any other fabric. However, we use a water efficient dyeing process which consumes 30% less water compared to conventional dyeing, and even that water is recycled. Up to 93% of the water used is recycled, and even the salt in the sledge is recycled. Our Mill follows ZDHC standards and no liquid is discharged from the mill.”
Tove by design also promotes the BHS Girls Soccer Team and their campaign for #EqualPay. The team created jerseys for their campaign and went viral with it—earning director Maia Vota the Judges Choice Grand Prize at the Girls Impact The World Film Festival.
Tove by design aspires to make clothing for people who want to feel well dressed, protected and prepared, while showing respect for people and our planet.
“Classic. No-nonsense. Workwear-inspired. Functional. Crazy hip cool."
In the future, Tove by design plans to build on the already existing Maker Skirt. There’s already a Maker Apron Dress and a Trade Apron Dress, both available for pre-ordering. There are more fabrics and colors in the pipeline and there’s a Maker Kilt coming up.
“Lastly, all of us that work with Tove by design are honored to be part of The Canvas by Querencias’s initiative to help communities thrive through this uncertainty, with the opportunity to emerge even stronger. As humans, we need to rethink what we buy and how much we need, we need to have a better understanding about where things come from and how they are made, we need to account for the true cost of what we produce. Now is the time for action.”
You can find Tove by design at The Canvas Williamsburg.