Pré Studios is a young label from Berlin that makes sustainable basics on request. We met them for an interview
I’ve known about Pré Studios from almost the first minute. That’s because Vincent, one of the co-founders, told me about the project at a birthday party: Sustainable basics that will only be produced once a certain number of orders has been reached. The result can mean long waiting times, but for the business partners Niklas, Timo and Vincent, it’s the only answer to the problems facing many companies suffering from high inventory costs, overproduction, and excessive logistical demands. We met them for a quick interview as this young, sustainable Berlin label launches its new campaign:
You produce sustainable, minimalistic fashion. How did you arrive at this decision?
We were sitting together about a year and a half ago and realized that the clothing we like isn’t produced under the conditions we would like it to be. And it didn’t make sense to us that it couldn’t at least be possible when it comes to basics. After that, we thought about how one could bring together the opposing demands of production conditions, quality, and the price of the product. That’s how the pre-order principle came about: maximum efficiency, avoiding unnecessary costs from overproduction and storage, and starting with direct online sales as the only sales channel.
Which focus defines your understanding of sustainability? And how is that compatible with the long flight from Peru, where some of your garments are made?
Our idea of sustainable clothing includes three areas. First is a high demand for design and quality, so the product will be something that’s enjoyed for a long time. Second, the production conditions are fair for all people involved and allow for a worthwhile life. And finally, the manufacturing of the garments has to take nature into consideration. The environment has to be understood as part of the supply chain and can’t be harmed during production.
The long transport from Peru is justifiable in that all of our cotton products are completely made on location, from the production of the cloth to the sewing of the labels. Through this vertical integration of the supply chain, for example, our t-shirt has just about 11,000 kilometers between it and the customer. A conventionally made t-shirt, in contrast, needs an average of around 21,000 kilometers. You also can’t forget that long delivery routes for cotton can hardly be avoided since it can’t be grown here on location for a profit. We use one of the best and longest-lasting cotton fibers in the world. In turn, that has an impact on the durability of the product. When it works, however, we produce as locally as possible. For example, our new socks are made in Germany, the underwear in Portugal. And of course we use offers like climate-neutral transportation.
What are the next steps or projects you have planned?
Our focus in on constantly expanding the product line with more classics re-defined by pré. The “Great Essentials” will grow over the long-term into a permanent, steady collection that you can pre-order at any time. That should work so that the time frames in which you can pre-order directly connect to each other. In the meantime, of course, there will also be special pieces and surprises: collaborations with other designers or special accessories. Therefore the priority at the moment is the development of products as well as looking for new partners to expand our label.
How did the current campaign come about?
We’d already been working with Stini Röhrs from the start: She photographed and filmed our launch campaign. After we spoke with Stini about how we imagined the new campaign, we researched extensively and stumbled on this exciting location: A concept building by architecture students at the TU that can be completely disassembled and reassembled and is made of recycled East and West German prefabricated building parts. It’s intended to integrate the meaning of history and narratives in the fields of urban development, building culture, production, and consumption into the discourse around sustainability – and therefore, in regards to content, it was a perfect fit to us. We were able to get Sabrina Hubert for our campaign film. The photos and the film communicate exactly what pré is: sustainability without compromise, whether in design, quality, or the price of the product.
Where do you see yourselves and the industry in five years?
In the long-term, we would like to position ourselves as a strong alternative to suppliers of classic basics. You should be able to pick out premium basics by us at any time from a precise selection, what you need at the time. Our goal is to make it clear to as many people as possible: When I pay the same price as I do for other labels, but have some extra patience to wait for the production, I get a much better and higher quality product for the same amount of money.
Where the industry is going, that’s hard to say. On one hand, “fast fashion” companies seem to be growing unfazed. On the other hand, there’s a great need for more sustainability in fashion consumption. People want higher quality again and don’t want the people who make their clothes to suffer. With our work, we would like to contribute to an urgently needed change of mindset in the industry. New materials and new means of production can also mean exciting, new products for the customer.