An economist and an innovator, born in Kazakhstan, Bestseller A/S Graduate Program participant, Assem is now leading SOMEFANCYNAME.com to become the world's leading platform and community for sustainable brands, where you can discover & empower unique, innovative and sustainably designed clothes; clothes that have a meaning, a purpose.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
My journey to sustainability came gradually. I started working in one of the biggest Danish fast fashion companies. It gave me the possibility to get to know and understand the industry first-hand, so-to-speak. Slowly I realised the undeniable negative impact the Fashion Industry has on both people and the environment.
Apparel and footwear industries are resource-intensive and are responsible for more than 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Around 75 million people work to make our clothes and 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35 years. So, when Rana Plaza Garment factory collapsed in 2013 and killed 1,138 garment workers, many of whom were women, I decided that I would like to know more about the fashion industry impact.
Once you step on a journey of informing yourself and taking responsibility for your own actions, you will never be the same 🙂 You just can’t stop! So, I started with consuming less and more responsibly, creating my own rules for how to buy clothes, gradually it went on to eating only organic and ecological food, and now becoming a flexitarian and – switching gradually to a vegan lifestyle.
So, it was only natural for me to start a company that strives to make a difference in this world. We are working on creating a community for sustainable designers that allows our end consumers to discover a great variety of unique, innovative and sustainably designed clothes; clothes that have a meaning, a purpose.
We ensure Responsible Production and Consumption (SDG 12), since our designers are producing made-to-order, fair and ethical, unique and high quality clothes. We have designers focusing on innovation and sustainability who work with Econyl® (regenerated nylon), Pinatex (Ananas leaves), Seaqual, cork and other sustainable, innovative materials. At the same time, we empower our end consumers in their sustainable choices by creating a Sustainability Categorisation, which should be implemented on our website once we are ready.
I wanted to help these talented upcoming designers to succeed.
I participated with this idea in Aarhus Startup Weekend in November 2016 and won together with my newly assembled team. It took me 1.5 years to re-think and prepare to launch the business idea.
In August 2018, I started working full-time in my company.
In September 2018, we were chosen to be a part of Nordic Buzz 2018, amongst 20 Danish and Swedish fashion and lifestyle companies. This intensive crash course was organized by Lifestyle and Design Cluster.
In March 2019, we pivoted our business model and decided to focus only on sustainable designers. This meant we had to say good-bye to some of the brands that we had and to re-think everything we do. We started our talks with VIA University, as well as other players in the Sustainability and Circular Economy concepts.
In September 2019, the founder and CEO of SOMEFANCYNAME.com, Assem Bektur-Giversen, was chosen to participate in Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow. It was developed by the European Young Innovators Forum and sponsored by the US Mission to the EU, Amazon and the EC. The goal of the Roadshow is to connect women founders to top US, regional and local VC in order to address the barriers in the funding process from both sides.
In September 2020, we became the finalists of Creative Business Cup Denmark 2020. The Conference focuses on new creative and cultural businesses in the creative industries to motivate, sharpen and develop the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
We also became the finalists of SDG Tech Awards 2020 in Fashion and Commerce category. This Award highlights the best sustainability solutions in Denmark.
Now our main goal is finding unique, innovative and sustainable brands for our customers. We are working on creating our sustainability categorization to empower our customers in their sustainable choices.
Being a woman-entrepreneur in fashion tech by myself, supporting other women-entrepreneurs is a core value of our company (SDG 5). Majority of our designers are women. For example, one of our sustainable brands, empowers sit-at-home moms in rural parts of the country by giving them jobs.
We ensure Responsible Production and Consumption (SDG 12), since we are focusing only on sustainable designers. Our designers are producing made-to-order, fair & ethical, unique and high-quality clothes. We have innovative sustainable designers, who work with Econyl®, Pinatex®, Cork and other sustainable and innovative materials. For example, AnnaMariaAngelika - one of our brands that gives you beautiful alpaca wool pieces ethically handmade in Peru.
Last but not least, COVID-19 has directly affected our business. When it comes to work possibilities, the future looks more uncertain, hence people cannot afford discretionary spending, such as buying clothes.
However, I do believe that long-term, something positive might come out of all of it. People have the time now to stop and question their consumption habits and priorities. Re-think. Perhaps the pandemic has put even more focus on sustainability, people in general are becoming more and more aware of their own actions, and how they can impact a change.
At the same time there is also an element of how we are used to doing things or buying things we already know. So, there is also some work ahead of us if we want to make it more mainstream and normal to wear sustainable items, that you perhaps won't find other places and that don't come from already established brands.
Luckily for us, we have already started noticing the positive change. People do want to support local brands or unique brands that are working with different sustainability concepts.