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Jakke’s founder Nina Hopkins on the power of faux fur

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Business |Interview

Image: Jakke AW23

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

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

Image: Jakke AW23

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

Even Jakke’s puffer jackets are filled with 100 percent recycled polyester, while its shirting is made from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton that is traceable back to the farm and uses no chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or GMO seeds, and its knitted sheer tops and denim looks are made from Tencel, a biodegradable fibre made from sustainably grown wood.

Image: Jakke AW23

Jakke’s makes London Fashion Week debut for AW23

For its LFW debut, Hopkins was inspired by power dressing for autumn/winter 2023, with a collection that highlights Jakke’s core outerwear essentials, alongside more elevated versions and a continuation of the brand’s expansion into ready-to-wear and accessories.

For its presentation, Jakke transformed 100 Gray Inn Road into an office space complete with retro computers, corded phones, Rolodex, and photocopiers. The space, set the scene perfectly for her 90s-inspired power dressing collection filled with masculine-leaning designs like oversized coats and button-front shirts, alongside new skirts in various midi and mini silhouettes, belted so that the waist can be cinched in and sheer knitted tops for a sexier silhouette.

Other highlights included its signature sustainable faux fur coats and vegan leather jackets updated with longer lengths, boxier and oversized fits, as well as the introduction of faux wool tailored coats.

Image: Jakke AW23

Jakke also increased its offering of accessories, adding to its bucket hat and faux fur mittens with large oversized faux fur scarves and two new bags, the ‘Carrie,’ a cross-body bum bag and ‘Greta,’ a twisted handle grab bag.

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

“Power dressing used to be about women wanting to be seen as equal to men,” explained Nina Hopkins, creative director of Jakke in the show notes. “Thankfully, fashion has changed, and power dressing has evolved and as a result, the line between men’s and women’s clothes have never been blurrier than they are today.”

Image: Jakke AW23

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

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

What inspired you to launch a cruelty-free, ethical 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 had the idea for Jakke; I went to source some faux fur for a major high street brand and in the market, they had real fur showcased next to the faux fur. I realised that some people couldn’t tell the difference between the two, proving that real fur is so unnecessary.

As time has progressed, my customers also began 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 plastic bottled and moving forward we are also looking into vegetable-based fibres.

How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic?

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

Image: Jakke AW23

Outerwear was your starting focus - what product expansions are you most excited about developing?

We’ve already incorporated cruelty-free knitwear and faux leather pieces into the collection, and within the SS23 collection, which launches at the end of March, we are introducing more soft separates such as dresses, trousers and skirts.

We want to be seen as a ready-to-wear brand and not just a category brand and with the expansion of the new categories, we are hoping this will change going forward.

What does sustainability in fashion mean to you?

We acknowledge that no brand selling new fashion can be truly sustainable, so we prefer to use the terms ‘responsible’ and ‘low impact’ to describe our philosophy, which is built on respecting the planet and the rights of everyone involved in making our garments, as well as doing no harm to animals.

Image: Jakke AW23

How do you implement sustainable practices into your designs?

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

We are about creating pieces that can be worn season after season and that you will turn to time and time again. We ensure the highest quality construction so that our pieces can be passed down for generations instead of ending up in landfill.

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

What made you want to showcase during LFW?

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

We were meant to showcase during LFW last season, however obviously a large amount of the schedule last season couldn’t go ahead as planned, so this was our debut season.

Image: Jakke AW23

What are the biggest challenges facing your business right now?

For us, Brexit continues to be one of the biggest challenges in the business.

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

There are so many people wanting to start brands and the market is becoming saturated. It is important to find your niche. Have a different design aesthetic, specialise in a particular product, do it well and grow from there.

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

What is the future for Jakke?

Our plans for the future involve expansion. We’ve recently opened up markets in the US, Korea and China and hope to grow here. Currently, the UK and Japan are our leading markets in terms of sales.
The UK doesn’t have many contemporary, RTW brands and we want to fill that gap by growing more categories whilst upholding our ethos.

Image: Jakke AW23
Image: Jakke AW23
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