Jakke Founder Nina Hopkins on the Power of Faux Fur

Ethical womenswear brand Jakke, known for its statement, colorful faux fur and vegan leather garments, made its debut at London Fashion Week with a collection inspired by the power clothes from the 1996 film ‘The Associate’.

Hopkins, who has designed for luxury brands including Topshop, founded Jakke in 2015 with a mission to create a cruelty-free brand anchored in its affordable luxury faux fur designs. The brand attracted a legion of fans thanks to its playful outerwear offered in bright hues and striking prints on realistic faux fur made with recycled polyester made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Image: Jake AW23

In recent years, Jakke has expanded its ethical offering to include outerwear and vegan leather separates. For its 2023 pre-spring collection, it’s using a flexible, comfortable-to-wear fabric that’s 30% bio-based, made from coffee grounds waste. By using this fabric instead of 100% PU of petrochemical origin, the brand reduced the use of virgin materials by 30%.

Even Jakke’s jackets are filled with 100% recycled polyester, while his shirts are made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, which is traceable back to the farm and uses no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or GMO seeds, and his sweaters sheer mesh and denim looks are made from Tencel, a biodegradable fiber made from sustainably grown wood.

Image: Jake AW23

Jakke’s makes its London Fashion Week debut for AW23

For his LFW debut, Hopkins drew inspiration from powerhouse apparel for Fall/Winter 2023, with a collection that highlights Jakke’s key apparel items, along with heightened versions and a continuation of the brand’s expansion into ready-to-wear. and acessories.

For his presentation, Jakke transformed 100 Gray Inn Road into an office space complete with retro computers, corded phones, Rolodex and photocopiers. The space set up the perfect setting for her ’90s-inspired powerwear collection, filled with masculine designs such as oversized coats and button-front shirts, alongside new skirts in various midi and mini silhouettes, belted so that the waist can be tightened and sheer mesh tops for a sexier silhouette.

Other highlights included its sustainable faux fur coats and updated vegan leather jackets with longer lengths, looser and oversized fits, as well as the introduction of bespoke faux fleece coats.

Image: Jake AW23

Jakke has also increased its accessories offering, adding to its bucket hat and faux fur gloves oversized faux fur scarves and two new bags, the ‘Carrie’, a crossbody bag and the ‘Greta’, a twisted handbag.

Furthermore, Jakke adds that this AW23 collection is also 100% cruelty-free and 75% less harmful than previous collections.

“Power clothing used to be about women wanting to be seen as equals to men,” Nina Hopkins, Jakke’s creative director, explained in the show notes. “Fortunately, fashion has changed and wearable power has evolved, and as a result, the line between men’s and women’s clothing has never been as blurred as it is today.”

Image: Jake AW23

FashionUnited talks with Nina Hopkins, founder and creative director of Jakke

Hopkins told FashionUnited following her LFW presentation about the inspiration behind her brand, her focus on low-impact design and fashion practices, and what’s next for her contemporary brand.

What inspired you to launch an ethical, cruelty-free fashion brand?

Initially, my love for animals inspired me to create a brand built around cruelty-free materials and processes. It was on a visit to China that I got the idea for Jake; I looked up some faux fur for a big high street brand and at the market they had real fur displayed alongside the faux fur. I noticed that some people didn’t know the difference between the two, proving that real fur is so unnecessary.

Over time, my customers also started to want a more sustainable product, which encouraged me to explore new and exciting fabrics and technologies. Most of our collections are now made from recycled bottled plastic, and in the future we are also looking at plant-based fibres.

How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic?

Our design aesthetic is cool Scandi. The name Jakke means ‘jacket’ in Danish and has an emphasis on bold colors and fun prints.

Image: Jake AW23

Outerwear was your initial focus – what product expansions are you most excited to develop?

We’ve already incorporated cruelty-free knits and synthetic leather pieces into the collection, and within the SS23 collection, which will launch at the end of March, we’re introducing softer separations such as dresses, pants and skirts.

We want to be seen as a prêt-à-porter brand and not just a category brand and with the expansion of new categories we expect that to change going forward.

What does sustainability in fashion mean to you?

We recognize that no brand that sells fashion can be truly sustainable, so we prefer to use the terms ‘responsible’ and ‘low impact’ to describe our philosophy, which is based on respect for the planet and the rights of everyone involved in making our clothes. . , in addition to not harming animals.

Image: Jake AW23

How do you implement sustainable practices in your projects?

Responsible, low-impact fashion starts with me as a designer and goes through every stage of the product lifecycle; from sourcing to manufacturing to retail and end-of-life apparel. As a designer, I try to make sure the fabrics I use are as natural as possible, which can also be difficult as a vegan brand.

Our goal is to create pieces that can be worn season after season and that you’ll wear again and again. We ensure the highest quality construction so our pieces can be passed down for generations rather than ending up in landfills.

Our sustainability consultant keeps us informed of the latest fabric innovations and best practices to ensure sustainability remains at the forefront of everything we do.

What made you want to perform during LFW?

LFW is one of the biggest platforms for fashion brands and it’s exciting to see more contemporary brands getting the chance to showcase. In terms of the brands that are showing, a lot has changed in the last 5 years, for the better, and there seems to be a lot more enthusiasm around contemporary brands. There’s so much new talent in London, there’s a real buzz and it felt like the right time for us to showcase it.

We intended to show it during LFW last season, however obviously a lot of last season’s schedule couldn’t go as planned, so this was our debut season.

Image: Jake AW23

What are the biggest challenges your business is currently facing?

For us, Brexit remains one of the biggest business challenges.

What advice would you give to anyone starting a fashion brand?

There are a lot of people wanting to open brands and the market is becoming saturated. It’s important to find your niche. Have a different design aesthetic, specialize in a certain product, do it well, and grow from there.

Jakke initially launched as a faux fur brand specializing in bold prints and colors, which immediately caught people’s attention because at the time there was nothing like it on the market.

What is Jake’s future?

Our plans for the future involve expansion. We recently opened markets in the US, Korea and China and expect to grow here. Currently, UK and Japan are our main markets in terms of sales.
The UK doesn’t have many contemporary RTW brands and we want to fill that gap by adding more categories while maintaining our ethos.

Image: Jake AW23
Image: Jake AW23

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