"Our mission is to make fair fashion the new standard and competitive with fast fashion" - this is Elena Gerdes answer to the question how to introduce Entire Stories. Elena is one of two founders of Entire Stories. Together with her friend Jaqueline Taborsky, the two have created a marketplace for sustainable newcomer fashion brands, where they make sustainable fashion accessible, understandable and attractive for everyone.
Nice looks with sustainable fashion
"Slow fashion can be just as nice as fast fashion," is one of the sentences that comes up in the podcast and which outlines the mission of the two very well. The name of the platform also plays a big role. "Our name actually says it all. At Entire Stories, we want it to be not just about the products, but about the entire story of the brand," says Elena, who also highlights points such as the people behind the brand, the materials and the value chain. Entire Stories is not just meant to serve as an online store where you can buy sustainable fashion. Much more, it wants to be the entry point for customers who want to become more sustainable in general, but are not yet experts in the field. "At the same time, we also want to provide inspiration that you can create nice looks and look good with sustainable fashion," says Elena. The approach to sustainability is of course not a new one and there are also brands that have had considerable success with this approach. Brands like Veja, Armed Angels or Patagonia stand out. The two explain the difference to entire Stories as follows: "Making fair fashion the standard is one thing. But we also want to show that it can be stylish. Because we know it ourselves: You only consume it if it really makes you want to. For that, you need a look and inspiration.
entire Stories as a good sparring partner
Of course, the team is developing an ever-growing expertise in this field with each passing day. Young brands in particular benefit from this expertise, according to Elena, who likes to call entire Stories a good "sparring partner. The criteria that must be met to be considered as a brand are quite simple. "We just try to find out what the intention and value system of the founders are, because at the end of the day we believe that if we support the right people, it will have an impact on the industry," says Elena, who at the same time also lists the problems that young brands often encounter. "It's the case with sustainability that people rely on independent seals. Getting these seals is usually too expensive for the brands. That's why we don't want to rely only on these seals but simply question a bit more," says the young founder.
From Storefinder to entire Stories
The idea for a platform for sustainable fashion developed more gradually than according to plan. "I actually had the idea to create a kind of store finder for small, special labels. We then discussed this idea together at a wine evening in the shared apartment and Jaqueline liked the approach," says Elena. Only gradually was the sustainability approach added. From there, it went relatively quickly to the foundation. "From the idea to found together to the notice, it was maybe three weeks. We then moved to Hamburg and looked for a part-time job and started building up our business on the side, so to speak," Elena explains.
It was clear to both of them from the start that not everything would run smoothly and that discussions could sometimes arise. Nevertheless, both are happy to have taken the step into self-employment as a couple. "There are always moments when things can get difficult, which is why it's simply important to find the right people to start up with, to find solutions together and to be able to discuss things at eye level," says Jaqueline.
Making slow fashion the new standard
Both of them do not lose sight of the daily motivation for their vision. "We simply want to achieve a fundamental change and appreciation of fashion and a change in people's consumer behavior. As described at the beginning, we want to make slow fashion the new standard," says Elena, who is joined by Jaqueline. "If as many people as possible eventually say we buy less and more consciously because of entire stories, then I would say "Mission Accomplished." We want to contribute to an improvement through our growth in a healthy oleological and social framework."
Both also have a few tips for already established brands. "With shipping and packaging, you have a lot in your own hands if you want to become more sustainable quickly. Then you can look at the materials you use. Can I replace what? A final point is repair systems that you can possibly develop," the two founders said.
The future holds enormous potential
Future plans the two founders also already have in the drawer. "We want to become the go-to place for Sustainable Fashion Brands. We want to create a tested network, of producing cities, raw materials used, content creators. Approaches are also sharing models, where different brands can cooperate when it comes to quantities in production, for example. There is still a lot of potential in all of this," say the two founders when asked about the future direction, who go on to explain: "We are currently in the process of expanding our portfolio so that every customer can find what they are looking for, whether they are looking for a winter jacket, a wool sweater, chinos or a skirt. We are also in the planning stages of making our own charity collection. The idea behind this is to support a social or ecological project and to create awareness for this with the limited edition".
Foto: entire Stories
Elena and Jaqueline prove with Entire Stories that it is possible to reconcile and combine sustainability and business. The single-mindedness with which they pursue their visions and principles shows the relevance they both see for this industry.
You can hear the full conversation in our podcast "Normal Gets You Nowhere" Episode #004.