Sustainable travel takes many forms. In this case, fashion brand Archivist Studio transforms hotel bed linen into fresh cotton shirts. Erica Jamieson reports
Archivist Studio takes high-quality bed linen from luxury hotels across Europe, and transforms them into “timeless, well-constructed shirts that suit any occasion.”
Founded in 2019 in Berlin, the label is rooted in dual concepts of circular waste management and classic design.
The idea was first imagined by Archivist Studio co-founder Eugenie Haitsma, who discovered that bed sheets and pillowcases at most hotels are often thrown away for the smallest of holes, stains or other defects.
A contact at one of London’s five star Mayfair hotels agreed to send Haitsma 200kg of linens ready for disposal. “I was completely in awe,” Haitsma tells Wallpaper, “because they were such amazing quality; really nice Egyptian cotton, soft and still in good shape.”
The design element comes from co-founder Johannes Offerhaus, who is known for creating sculptural couture clothing. He and Haitsma, both of whom are Berlin-based and Dutch-born, met on a bus in Budapest on the way to a party.
Haitsma shared her idea for a line of upcycled cotton clothing and, three hours later with Offerhaus onboard, Archivist was born with a mission to preserve high-quality textiles, while creating archival pieces.The brand currently offers a small collection of men’s and women’s styles, priced around €150. Bed linen, with its large surface area and ready availability, is well suited to making shirts.
Linens are sent from hotels to a family run atelier near Bucharest, where the fabric is washed, pressed, and upcycled. Small defects are embraced and embellished, reducing scrappage and making each item unique.
Looking ahead, the Studio hopes to move production closer to Berlin, and plans to expand into shirt dresses and more blouse designs. Haitsma and Offerhaus travel across Europe to form new partnerships, convincing luxury hotels to donate their used sheets and pillowcases, allowing them a second life as sustainably-sourced shirts.Consumer demand for green fashion, led by millennials and Gen Z, has boomed in recent years. A McKinsey study found that online searches for “sustainable fashion” tripled between 2016 and 2019. In the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2019 Update, 75 per cent of consumers viewed sustainability as either extremely or very important.
“I have noticed that more and more consumers are avoiding unnecessary purchases and rediscovering items from their wardrobe. The period we have lived has allowed us to reflect on what is important and on indispensable changes, not only in the fashion system,” Haitsma tells Harper’s Bazaar.
For hotels, Archivist Studio offers an opportunity to demonstrate to consumers a commitment to sustainability and waste reduction in the hospitality sector.