Behind the Scenes
Style & Life
At Sahara, we believe in promoting family-owned and artisanal brands that showcase their own unique craftsmanship. Our team travels the world to discover these brands and handpick our favourites, creating a unique curation of one-of-a-kind pieces. In our Behind the Brand series we interview the founders to give you a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process and the story behind it. From their sources of creativity to the women who inspire them, these interviews provide insight into the passion and dedication that goes into creating each unique piece. Get to know the makers behind the brands we love and discover the stories that make their products truly special.
Muse Wear is a family-owned Danish brand that has been making waves in the fashion industry since its inception. Founded by a mother-daughter duo, the brand is inspired by Scandinavian design traditions and the dramatic natural setting of Thy, a rural coastal region on the North Sea. A "design brand that makes clothes", Muse Wear has a strong commitment to sustainability and takes pride in making all of their clothes in Europe through ethical production practices.
Muse Wear is a small family-owned brand from Denmark. Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you started the brand.
MW: My mom and I founded Muse Wear together in 2013 – which means that this year we will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary! My mother has a background as a trained nurse in addition to management roles within the public sector. She also has a lot of experience in craftmanship. I am a trained designer with a bachelor’s degree in business economics. Back in 2013 we started out small with developing three styles, that my mother drove around and sold to lifestyle stores along the Danish west coast where we got in touch with an agent, who offered to bring our styles on a fair in Copenhagen. The first couple of years, we only made knitted wool sweaters, later we started designing sewn styles as well which definitely turned out to be the right decision.
As a mother-daughter duo what is it like to work together?
MW: It has worked really well. It has been an exciting journey to be on together. We have been good at distributing the work between us, I oversee the creative process, whilst my mother takes care of the administrative side. We have complemented each other really well and have always been honest with each other. If we have had a disagreement, it’s been said out loud so that we have been able to move on quickly.
As our company grew, we made some “rules” for our partnership. For example, we don’t contact each other outside of work with work stuff, so that we can be together as a family and talk and vacation together without talking work.
You’re based in Thy, a rural coastal region on the North Sea. How does this dramatic natural setting influence your work?
MW: The nature here in Thy, is a huge part of our DNA. I live in Klitmøller, a small fisherman town in the Northern Jutland. On the one side we have the first and biggest National Park in Denmark – National Park Thy – and on the other side, the North Sea. You can’t help to be influenced by it. The rough and beautiful wild is a huge inspiration to us. This you will see reflected in our designs, in our choice of color, which is in harmony with nature. But also, in the simple and clean design made with good solid materials and still plenty of warm sweaters.
Can you tell us how Scandinavian design traditions inspire your design process?
MW: To be honest, it’s not something we give much thought during the design process – I guess it happens without us realizing. When we look at what encapsulates Scandinavian design traditions, it lines up well with what we believe Muse Wear stands for: Simplicity, minimalistic, quality, timeless, functionality, classic and “hygge”. You see “hygge” in our designs in the cozy and oversize styles, which is nice and comfortable to wear and oversized knits you can hide in.
“we believe Muse Wear stands for: Simplicity, minimalistic, quality, timeless, functionality, classic and “hygge”.”
You have a strong commitment to sustainability; can you tell us more about how you achieve this?
When we started Muse Wear, we had no doubt, that we should create a more sustainable brand than the already existing brands. It came naturally to us to create a brand with more consideration for our planet and for us as humans, and it was very much in line with the way we live by ourselves for example by eating healthy and organic, by buying less but better products, by not just buying new and throw out the old but recycling and by avoiding food waste etc. At the time we started Muse Wear, the perception was, that if a t-shirt was made of organic cotton, it was sustainable. Period. We have always had a more holistic approach to sustainability and accountability. We believe it’s not enough only to look at the choice of materials. You also have to look at where the materials and clothes are produced, the quality; not only on the materials but also the finished piece of clothing and not least the fit, the designs and colors, how the clothes are being transported from the supplier to us and by avoiding overproduction etc. But it is also important to look at the conditions of the men and women working on making our clothes. We need to make sure they work in a good and safe environment, and they get a fair living wage, that can support them. We can never be 100% sure, but by choosing European production facilities, we are more sure of proper working conditions. We also reuse and recycle as much as possible us selves. For example, we reuse all boxes from our supplier, we have decorated our office with recycled furniture, and we only buy new if necessary. The fashion industry will never be sustainable – no production probably never will – but we must do better as an industry. We do what we can here at Muse Wear, but it is a process with a goal that is hard to reach.
You say you see the brand “not as a fashion brand, but as a design brand that makes clothes”. What do you mean by this?
MW: Where most fashion brands focus almost entirely on short term trends and produce several collections every year in often fluctuating quality, made not to last – At Muse Wear we design clothes that are long lasting, both regarding quality and style. Our designs are not based on today’s trends but are classic and will function season after season. We only present two collections every year (spring/summer and fall/winter) as our wish is to take some of the speed out of the industry.
Your signature fabric is a wool yarn - can you tell us why you love this material so much?
MW: We love wool because it is an incredible material. It doesn’t get much better than 100% extra fine merino wool. It is soft and warm. The quality is really good, so that the knit will stay well even after years of usage. It is pure and natural, which allows the body to breathe and is both biodegradable and easy to recycle. You can wear it all year long, season after season. I only have good things to say about this yarn! When we started Muse Wear, we only worked with merino wool yarn. That is probably why this fabric is still such a huge part of our fall / winter collection, as both we and our customers really love this material.
You make all of your clothes in Europe - can you tell us why this is important to you?
MW: As I mentioned earlier, it has always been a part of our sustainable strategy to keep our production as close to home as possible. Not only to reduce transportation, welcome the higher environmental requirements in the EU, but also the conditions of the employees working on the factories that produces Muse Wear works under. It means fair working hours with weekends and holidays off, the possibility to organize themselves, that they get a fair living wage for their work and be able to make a living of it.
Tell us about what type of women you design for.
MW: At Muse Wear we work around two personas: The quality-conscious adult woman with adult children, who is interested in culture, fine dining and wine, personal well-being, travel, and spending time with family. She chooses first and foremost Muse Wear because of the fit and good quality.
And then we have the slightly younger woman – the more conscious consumer – with younger kids at home, who wants to eat healthy and organic, who also is more conscious about her consumption and buys reused items for herself and her family. She is interested in a more sustainable lifestyle. She chooses Muse Wear because of our style and our sustainable approach.
Which women in your lives inspire you the most?
Muse Wear is a tribute to the women on which shoulders I stand. Both the ones closest to me – my mother and grandmothers – but also other strong women – both present and from the past – who thorough their achievements have given me (and other women as well) the opportunities, so that I, as a woman and single mom can run my own business etc. And that I have been giving the strong belief from childhood that I can do whatever I want and go wherever my talent brings me. But also with the utmost respect and painful awareness, that these terms aren’t a given for everyone.
“Muse Wear is a tribute to the women on which shoulders I stand. Both the ones closest to me – my mother and grandmothers”