Calvin Klein, Fruit of the Loom, Hugo Boss, DKNY, and many others create underwear that can commonly be found in every person’s home. Well, now there is a new brand that has just launched in America from Finland that is about to change the game and help make the world a better, cleaner place one butt at a time – literally!
the other danish guy™, which was founded by Tommi Lähde, is a brand that has created the world’s top eco-friendly underwear (for guys & girls) made from fabric that is made of discarded fishing nets and other items harvested from the oceans, where they constitute a threat to marine creatures. The company takes the materials they clean up from oceans worldwide and processes them into stylish underwear that is actually beyond comfortable and cool.
The Levity Ball just had to try a pair and sit down with Tommi to find out more about his planet-changing underwear brand…
1. Your childhood dream was to become an architect. How did you manage to now become a different type of architect by being the CEO of the other danish guy and designing underwear?
I have always been interested in human behavior and I love to talk about people: not just the facts, but what motivates them, what inspires them, and what they envision achieving in life. I think that is why I ended up to work with Brands after all – and soon they became my objects of passion. After 20 years of expert level experience in marketing and brand development, I always knew I wanted to create my own brand from scratch. Then, coincidence was involved in the game. On a business trip to New York, my ex-colleague found out he was wearing an ill-fitting pair of underwear. Long story short: a few days and a lot of lotion later he ended up in a Wall Street bar’s ladies’ room trying to soothe his wounds, and ended up severely scaring some innocent women – whom the barmaid then comforted by saying “the other Danish guy is having some problems”. Witnessing your colleague’s tail end in pain might not be a turning point for many startups. Yet, to me, it’s essentially where everything started. Suddenly it was all clear: comfortable underwear, as daily and essential as it is, was hard to come by. Also, the witty name: the other danish guy™, in the need of fresh undies in downtown New York City.
2. You believe that self confidence is the most important sort of confidence, why is that?
I think self-confidence is everything! Because deprived of it we are simply left without a backbone. Self confident people usually don’t take themselves too seriously and they aren’t afraid to look silly. Running around in your underwear might take it to extremes, but when we are truly confident, we don’t mind occasionally being in a situation where we aren’t at our best. And most of all, people with self-confidence can change the world for the better, because fear of failure does not stop them achieving their goals.
3. Your underwear has made headlines worldwide as being the most eco-friendly on the market, being made of smooth shell instead of cotton, and using fabric that is made of discarded fishing nets, harvested from the oceans. How did you even think to create such a product that also helps save our planet?
Disposable culture and fast fashion is damaging to the environment and the economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste is generated yearly, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded. I personally have very strong connection to the sea. I was basically born on seas, as my Father is a sea captain. I have learnt to love water and seas and oceans since I was a toddler. From my childhood on I have been sailing with my own boat and have noticed how the nature has changed.. As I was starting to run this underwear business and found out that the best and most comfortable material to use would be polyamide aka nylon, I started immediately the search for recycled nylon yarn, especially made from the ocean garbage.
4. Can people feel the fishing net material when wearing the underwear, or is it processed in somehow?
Hahahaha… No, not at all. The feel is superb! It feels almost like nothing at all. The process is a complex one, but to put it short, fishing nets – both salvaged from the ocean floor and from commercial fish farms – and other industrial plastic waste, is collected through a worldwide initiative called Healthy Seas and turned into a special yarn through a process called ‘depolymerisation’ by Italian firm Aquafil. This yarn is then woven into the material used in the other danish guy™ underwear.
5. What oceans have you gotten the material from so far, and do you have plans to help clean up other oceans/lakes?
To be honest, the precise geo-location is not known. Our goal is to go big, because that is the only way to make a difference. The more our underwear is sold, the better it is for the oceans. In the future we have more good news regarding sustainable and comfortable materials.
6. Your company is based in Finland, but has now spread worldwide thanks to a very impressive crowd-funding campaign. How did you feel seeing people from all over the world helping to support your underwear idea at first?
Seeing your own idea grow and flourish is heart-warming. We knew all the time that the product is not only good but excellent. I am grateful and happy that so many people have supported us both by purchasing and encouraging.
7. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
That’s a hard one. I have been given a lot of good advice, but what I learnt from the Serenity Prayer for the first time, it made an immediate hit. ”God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” It has been useful in many times ever since.
8. What is your advice to others wanting to pursue a career in fashion?
I think it’s the same as I was given: listen to yourself – if you have a passion, go after it. And once you know this is something what you want to do, work hard and never give up.
9. Where do you see the other danish guy in five years from now?
We will be one of the leading first layer brands in the world, if not the ultimate leader!
10. What would you like the other danish guy be remembered for years down the road?
We want people to remember as the only brand focusing just on underwear and be the best in what we do
Shop for your next pair via: www.theotherdanishguy.com