Interview with UNIFRM Co-founder, Chloé Janssen

WRITTEN BY Helena Connell

February 26, 2024

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Interview with UNIFRM Co-founder, Chloé Janssen

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Fashion & Lifestyle

Helena Connell

26 Feb, 2024

“Fashion is more than a fabric. It’s a treasure trove of stories,” expressed UNIFRM co-founder, Chloé Janssen.

In a charming Maida Vale flat two young women exchanged blazers with each other, borrowing from the other’s fashion, as friends often do, and donning attire in an attempt to endure the blustery British weather. From tweed to tartan, Chloé and Lucia found themselves dressing in attire acquired from their mothers, grandmothers, and friends plus maybe the occasional steal plucked from their boyfriends’ closets. Keeping warm and stylish proved a prosperous affair for this duo since their shared affinity for thrifted garments transformed into a sustainable business model.

Enter UNIFRM, the women’s postgraduate brand project for Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design. Female suits are becoming increasingly more fashionable, and I will challenge you to find one woman who does not at least have a blazer jacket or stylish waistcoat hanging in their wardrobe today. By repurposing deadstock into women’s bespoke suits, Janssen and Tyden satisfied an untapped facet of the luxury market, the absence of sustainable suit options and tailoring experiences for women—an emerging avenue generating triple the sales of dresses. (Business of Fashion, 2023).

“When you Google ‘suits’,”  Chloé admits, “menswear still dominates the search results, let alone sustainable suits.” Frustrated by the lack of environmentally conscious and male dominant options, the two entrepreneurs conceived of UNIFRM and met with womenswear designer Dimitar Chochev. The team created a waistcoat inspired by the attire women in the workforce wore during World War I and II. As an era that showcased that women’s strength and resilience matched that of their male counterparts, Janssen and Tyden—two women disrupting the gendered sphere of suits—felt it necessary to pull inspiration from this decade to show the need for equality—once again—in suit tailoring. The dynamic duo were able to recognise the power of fashion when calling for change, making a statement and of course, telling a story.

Moreover, UNIFRM looks to customize each suit by repurposing personal material or embellishment provided by the client. Not only does this reduce the company’s contribution of waste to the environment but this bespoke service also grants the customers the option to bring a part of their life’s own stories to light; a more luxurious and intimate form of thrifting one might argue.  

In spite of UNIFRM starting out as a masters project, the two women hope to transform their idea into a live brand in the near future. Suit by suit, Chloé Janssen and Lucia Tyden transform stories of self-construction and actualisation, as well as community and tradition into wearable works of art.

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