Can the Finnish forest become a center for sustainable fashion?

I would never have imagined back in 2011, the year I returned to Stora Enso, that about five years later I would be speaking in a big conference in London wearing a dress made out of our wood fibers. And not any dress, but one designed by Tuula Pöyhönen from Marimekko and produced from sustainable Northern Karelian birch fibers thanks to a revolutionary process called Ioncell.

Our journey in the fashion industry started in the year 2011 when our Enocell mill began to produce textile pulp. Looking back at the development, it has been truly challenging journey that has pushed us to constantly learn new things while questioning the old, always building on our company’s cultural heritage of sustainable forestry and innovative thinking.

Today, the demand for textiles is increasing due to population growth and the rise of disposable incomes as well as the emergence of fast fashion. To give you a little perspective: in the 1960´s, an American man owned six outfits on average, and women owned nine. 10% of their income was spent on textiles, for which they got around 25 pieces of clothing. Forty years later, we spend on average 3.5% of our income for 70 pieces of garments.

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