PHOTOS FROM FREDRIC
Meet Anna Friedrich, the director and designer behind Sydney-based slow fashion label, fredric
With over ten years of experience in the fashion industry, Anna launched fredric as a catalyst for change. In an industry where major companies employ harmful greenwashing tactics and tout the word, "sustainability" irresponsibly, Anna wants to change all this by shifting the focus to sustainably-minded design. Keep on reading as we discuss fredric's beginnings, the difference between "sustainability" and "sustainably-minded design", and the who, what and where behind fredric's garments.
Who is Anna Friedrich?
A designer, company director, avid learner, and eternal screen addict.
Can you tell us about fredric’s beginnings and how the brand has evolved since its inception?
fredric began in lockdown of 2020. I didn’t have a job, the thought of working for another brand full time got me down, and I knew the industry was ready for change. The world was telling us to slow down and be still, so I took a big risk and started fredric. The brand’s evolution is due to our customer base – we are always learning from our customers, what they love, hate, want in a product, and how they want it communicated.
What is fredric’s fashion philosophy?
Sustainably-minded design is a core company value.
No company in fashion at this stage has across the board closed loop systems, therefore technically cannot be called 100% sustainable. We love the concept, but without funding into biodegradable fibres, and having proper end of life systems in-place, fashion remains wasteful at its core.
At fredric we prioritise organic and recycled fibres, order small amounts of units, use recycled or recyclable options where possible, and educate our customers about our products, practices and processes.
fredric never claims to be 100% sustainable, instead we are sustainably minded, and are choosing best practices and options for the environment where we can, but like most we are still educating ourselves and making better choices on this slow fashion journey.
What does the slow fashion movement mean to you? How does it shape Fredric as a brand and business?
Slow fashion is valuing and respecting your clothing.
At fredric I wanted to create a brand where the customer understood the process of creation from inception through to end of life, and its environmental and social impact at every stage. I believe if the customer understands the journey a garment has taken to arrive to the customer, there is a lot more weight and understanding behind how the customer values and treats that garment.
As the business gets older, our desire to create unique and dynamic products which will be loved and worn repeatedly remains strong.
If you could see any one person in the world wearing Fredric, who would that be?
There are of course ultimate muses we would adore to see fredric on, but it’s actually our customers as a collective who we love to see fredric in.
Our customers get our vision, our message and are so supportive of us as a brand and of the change we are trying to make. It's such a kick when customers tag us, or if we see a fredric customer on the street.
What are life’s small pleasures for you at the moment?
They are far and few between but it’s lovely to take a day to myself where everything is not rushed, I don’t have a massive to-do list, and I am not fielding a million calls or e-mails.
Your go-to fredric piece?
The Stevie shirt hands down. The Stevie is the ultimate versatile piece you can either toss on with jeans, or dress up with a fab midi and blazer.
What do you imagine the future of fashion to look like?
Biodegradable yarns which can be woven into fabric, or knitted garments. Fashion is a consumer based industry, and without yarns and fibres that can biodegrade, the rapid consumption of fashion will continue to choke and damage our environment.
Slow fashion, organic and recycled fibres, and educating customers will only reach, and be important to certain fractions of the fashion and textile industry. Fabric mills, major fashion companies, and governments need to action funding into fibres and technology to assist in reducing our future fashion waste and its environmental impact.
Where are Fredric’s pieces made and by who?
fredric’s woven pieces are made in India by our amazing artisans who are integral in executing our fabric manipulations and techniques. fredric knitwear is made in China where we source our recycled and organic yarns.
At fredric we only source our fabrics and fibres from the country of manufacture, so we can not only reduce our carbon footprint and also support the local industry.
Can you tell us about the fabrics you use in Fredric’s pieces and what you love about them?
Fredric is currently using organic cotton, and recycled nylon and viscose yarns.
We are looking into viscose hybrid options (orange pulp yarn, rose petal yarn etc..) but there is a lot of greenwashing in new "sustainable" fibres so we are always researching and asking for accreditations and any certificates which accompany the fibres.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
I would love to say waking up, meditating, and setting intentions for the day (that’s what I aspire to do).
What I actually do is wake-up, pick-up my phone, respond to any instagram messages, make and drain a family size French press coffee, and start to reply to all of my emails.
I will usually pack orders in the morning, drop them off at the post office and then take my dog Lola for a big play.
Afternoons are filled with any design and technical work, and always more emails.
Once you work in the industry you quickly learn that it isn’t always glamorous lunches, meetings, catwalks, and photoshoots. Like anything there is a lot of slog that goes on behind the scenes.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you watching, reading or listening to?
I am a rabid listener of podcasts, the news, anything I can put on in the background whilst I am working away. Podcasts I listen to include Wardrobe crisis, The Cutting Room Floor, Fashion Revolution, BOF, and NPR’s How I built this
What are some of the barriers you’ve encountered while running a socially-conscious small business?
Minimums, especially when working with either fabric or garment manufacturing businesses. When you communicate in a cold email that you want to produce small units and even smaller collections, businesses usually want nothing to do with you.
In their mind you are a waste of time. Of course there are amazing producers who share the slow fashion and sustainably minded ethos, but they are rare and are hard to get your foot in the door with.
As a designer in a world dominated by fast fashion there’s a sense that you need to be in a constant state of production. How do you keep yourself grounded amidst all this and prevent yourself from burning out?
I try to avoid the design mindset of thinking ‘what would sell’.
I have been in the industry for over 12 years, and the most “successful“ design is usually the most commercial.
With fredric I indulge my absolute desire to design and create what I am obsessed with and what I like. At the end of the day if I am producing a small amount of units and styles, I want them to be killer and stunning.
Something that recently challenged you?
An SEO task related to my website. Wearing all of the hats when you run your own business means I am challenging myself often!
In the near future, what are you looking forward to most?
Potential international travel. It has been difficult to travel outside of Australia for the last two years, so I cannot wait to be trapped in an airline seat for a minimum of 12 hours going anywhere else but home.
What is the legacy you hope to leave on this world? What are you out to accomplish?
To pave the way for other fashion brands and designers in sustainably minded design and slow fashion.
The fashion industry can be incredibly isolating and non-inclusive, and I hope that fredric’s journey makes it easier for the next designer to create, and produce in the sustainably minded, and slow fashion space.