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WORTH Partnership Project
News article25 October 2018European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency3 min read



We were given the opportunity to interview our WORTH Partnership Project Steering Board Member Kolbrun Yr. Gunnarsdottir, who is a Designer, Stylist and Creative Director of Kolbrun & Idem Jewelry.

Kolbrun has been a designer since 2003, with her own store in Reyjavik. She also owns a self-titled fashion brand along side her accessories brand. We wanted to find out more about her innovations with her sustainable brands and how WORTH Participants can benefit from her expertise:

Your fashion brand Kolbrun is a luxury, eco-conscious and ethical slow fashion brand. Why is it personally important to you to offer products that are conscious of the environment?

Since I am totally aware that the fashion industry, as it is today, is the second most polluting industry in the world, however a majority of people are still choosing to ignore it. I think it is my responsibility as a designer to respond to that and listen to it and create according to that in the most authentic and sensible way possible. I want to make people aware of how important it is to take good care of our environment and demand something totally different from fast fashion. I want to bring the message that “you are enough” and you need to start choosing well for yourself, by buying less, increasing quality and something that fits to your style not just what the fashion “trend” is for that moment.

WORTH has a strong focus on sustainability and consideration of all aspects of the design process, as well as cross-border collaborations. How is this important to the future of the design industry?

I think it is the only way from now on, to design everything with sustainability in mind. We are producing way too much of everything! We need more focus again on craftmanship, on authenticity, on quality rather than quantity and on the beautiful stories behind each and everything, so the few things you have, have a beautiful and meaningful story. We need to make people aware that it is not just the thing you need because it is in fashion or your neighbor has it, you want it because it has some meaning to you.
Sustainability and close-border manufacturing is a very important part of the process. We want to have less of a footprint with our designs and also to have a close connection to making things passionately, not just something that will create more waste. The more thought and authenticity you put into your designs the more of a story your designs will have and it will definitely benefit your customer and the environment.

Within the fashion and design industry at the moment, what are some trends that you are interested in and would like to see further developed?

I’m very excited about new textiles that are 100% biodegradable and have a long life, more innovation in this field will help sustainable fashion designers work even better. I also see more and more that fashion brands are being more transparent about the way they work, and I think that this is a very important aspect of the design process, to tell your customers how the product is done and why you do it would be even better. I´m also excited about fashion revolution organisations that are shouting out to people to buy less, choose well, repair, use your wardrobe etc. It´s the future. I also think that all kinds of rentals that people can rent out clothing and products will be bigger in the future.

What would you like WORTH Partnership Projects to consider when developing their innovative concepts and do you have any advice to ensure their success?

First things first, is it sustainable? Is it unique? Does it have a story? And like all my answers above I can’t put enough emphasis on how important genuinity and authenticity is to a design. Be sure that your design is new and innovative, research on how or if it has been done before and how you are going to improve it in a sustainable way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the right people, choose your advisers well! Take the advice you get and build on it in your own unique way. Don’t try too hard! Let the idea evolve without too much effort and it will be something unique. Let go of fear of what will become and just do it, be vulnerable about your designs, creativity is the most vulnerable thing there is.

Find out more about Kolbrun Yr. Gunnarsdottir through her profile here.


Publication date
25 October 2018
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency
News Type
  • Worth News