LONDON — Arch & Hook, the hanger brand that’s worked with fashion names including Saint Laurent, Vetements and Harrods, is on a mission to make the functional, everyday object sexy and sustainable.
“Hangers are a product that nobody wants to think about, it’s such a dull product to most people, but in the U.S. alone, 40 billion plastic hangers get imported and 30 billion of those end up in a landfill. That’s one and a half Empire State buildings,” said Sjoerd Fauser, founder and chief executive officer of Arch & Hook, one of the sponsors of this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which is focused on sustainability.
Made from Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, Arch & Hook’s hangers can last for years, as opposed to the normal six months. Liesbeth Gort, director of FSC Netherlands, said the brand supports the FSC’s mission to promote “environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests, which is highly important for reaching the U.N. sustainable development goals.”
Arch & Hook is hoping to set a new precedent for other hanger companies and on June 24 they’ll be launching Mission E, a closed-loop, recycled hanger program. “We’re the first in the hanger industry to create a closed-loop hanger program. With other hanger companies, the recyclability of the plastic used is extremely low, below 20 percent,” said Fauser.
An Arch & Hook hanger for Vetements.
Two global sportswear retailers, with 1,000-plus stores each, have already signed up to take part in the program and they will be using Arch & Hook’s fully recycled and recyclable hangers, according to Fauser, who declined to give the names. These retailers will mark the company’s foray into the mass market as Arch & Hook has until now worked mostly with luxury brands.
To keep their carbon footprint down, the company has set up manufacturing as close to the end destination as possible with their main markets focused in the U.S., U.K., parts of Europe and Australia.
Founded in 2015, the business-to-business company not only wants to provide a sustainable alternative to retailers, Arch & Hook also wants to modernize a functional and essential retail product.
“Dior is never going to hang their clothing on a recycled paper hanger, which was as far as we got in 2015, so we really wanted to make that change and make sustainability look good. It needs to become glamorous,” said Anne Bas, co-founder and creative director of Arch & Hook.
The company has a dedicated design team and Bas works hand in hand with brands to develop styles unique to each brand. The hangers are made from high-quality, lacquered wood with velvet wrapped ends to prevent clothes from slipping and snagging. For the Saint Laurent hanger, Bas used a wood-burning technique to create a matte black effect on the wood and other unique styles include a forward-facing display hanger.
“It’s a presentation piece and it also solves problems for brands who don’t want to use mannequins, since this is more androgynous and can enable them to present things in a gender-neutral way,” Bas said.
Partnering with Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the brand’s first strategic step into the Nordic countries. “The recent report released by Global Fashion Agenda emphasizes the urgent need and responsibility of brands and fashion leaders to pick up the pace with sustainable practices. Arch & Hook is turning the fashion industry on its head by presenting sustainable alternatives to the tens of billions of clothing hangers that end up in landfills annually,” said Fauser.
Fauser pointed out that the hanger may be ubiquitous in retail, but overlooked in sustainable practices. “I hope this year’s CFS attendees understand that taking action to implement these practices to create long-term environmental impact is tangible and attainable,” said Fauser.
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