Author: Sophie Moore
Webamp spoke to Anne Rosholm, CEO of ANNRO, a sustainable fashion brand based in Copenhagen about following your own dreams and the power that can be found in rejecting the way things have always been done.
Since she was a child Anne Rosholm has dreamt of becoming a fashion designer, designing and making clothes for herself, even then. When she finished her education as a design technologist from KEA in 2015, she worked for a fashion brand for a year and a half, gaining insight and experience in the world of fashion. However it made it clear to her that it was not an option to spend her life making the dreams of others become a reality, she would at some point have to pursue dreams of her own. And so ANNRO was born, out of a love for fashion and a passion for making a change in the way it exists in the world.
“Choosing a sustainable path was a given for me, as the fashion Industry is one of the most polluting in the world. It wouldn’t make sense for me to found a company that doesn’t try to make the world better in some way.”
Anne’s dreams and vision for a better future for us all has seen her grow her business up from the ground, often having to wear many hats and master the skills of the people she didn’t have the budget to hire in the very beginning. This juggling of different roles only deepened her curiosity and thirst for new knowledge and understanding of the way things can be done. A deep determination has been the recipe for success as an entrepreneur : “If I wasn’t willing to work for free for many years, I would never have been able to take this journey.” Becoming an entrepreneur is a commitment to many things. To your vision. To do whatever it takes to make it a reality. To learn as you go along. To admit you don’t have all of the answers. Reflecting on her own journey as an entrepreneur, Anne reflects on what she wishes she’d known.
“I definitely wish I would have known that it’s unavoidable and downright necessary to make a lot of mistakes along the way. The fear of failing was holding me back at the beginning and I definitely wasn’t great at receiving advice and criticism. I’m still working on that, but I’m slowly starting to accept that I can’t and don’t know everything and that growth only comes from realising that - in yourself as well as in your business.”
Letting go of fear and criticism is key to reaching your potential. If you don’t you risk being held back by the invisible strands that latch onto your subconscious and guide you along the safest path. But playing it safe is not always the best option. There's magic to be found in the inky darkness of the unknown. Dreaming big is the only way to induce change on any level. We don’t evolve or grow by sticking to the status quo and we don’t solve problems by continuing to do things in the way they have always been done. This idea of change is firmly rooted in Anne’s vision, with a dream for a more conscious consumption of fashion and a revolution in the way we treat the people who make it.
“Something needs to change on a larger scale, and we need to stop asking why sustainable options are expensive and start asking how everything else can be so cheap.”
ANNRO is a brand with a vision. A vision of providing sustainable, conscious clothing to people who truly care about the world they live in. Anne believes wholeheartedly that to make a real change she needs her brand to speak to as many people as possible. It needs to inspire those who love fashion but who are more inclined to buy into the world of fast fashion rather than sustainable alternatives. Her hope is to inspire them just as much as the ones who already buy sustainable clothing.
“If we are not able to inspire these people with our clothes, then we will not be able to make them choose the sustainable brands over the fast fashion brands – and thereby are we not able to actually make a change.”
A lot of sustainable brands sometimes tend to go with colorless, shapeless designs and thereby only speak to people who love this specific style. Anne is striving to be an actual alternative to fast fashion brands by creating designs that people buy, because they are beautiful and desirable – not because they are sustainable. By knowing exactly who you are speaking to with your products you are embodying the message you wish to give to them. It will come across in the things you make, the words you say and the connections you form. You will bring people together that your brand speaks to on a deeper level. The message for ANNRO is simple : “Sustainability should be a given, not an option.” This encapsulates the message of the change Anne wishes to make in the world.
“I believe that we need to get to a place, where you should not have to put the word “sustainable” in front of “fashion” (or any other product for that matter) when browsing Google for conscious brands to shop from. And to make this change we need to try and guide the way for other brands and inspire businesses as well as consumers in ways to be sustainable.”
What is, for now, the exception, Anne hopes will become the norm through the communication of this message and through leading by example. It is this bold rejection of the status quo that is bubbling up to the surface in the actions and visions of the younger generations. There are more entrepreneurs than ever before, many of them young and ambitious with strong sets of values and clear visions for a better future. Idealistic and optimistic about their goals and possibilities for their careers, these generations seek to optimise and improve rather than adapting to existing ineffective ways of doing things. There is an intention of raising awareness, of sharing information and tools consumers need to be critical when buying goods. We need to all make a choice to stop looking for quantity over quality and hopefully over time, we can force the largest fast fashion brands worldwide to follow our example, because the consumers start choosing sustainable brands over non-sustainable brands. We need to be more intentional, more informed about where and how things are made and the impact they are going to have on the world and the people in it.
“We are still a tiny company with a small voice, but the more we grow over time, hopefully we can reach out even further and inspire consumers to choose a more sustainable path.”
Webamp offers its thanks to Anne for taking the time to share her insights and journey towards a more sustainable future. If you were inspired by the world of sustainability and intentional fashion, go to ANNRO.dk, find them on Instagram or connect with Anne on Linkedin.