If there is one thing we know since opening the shop, it's that you all love outerwear. Functional, good looking, kind to the planet coats that work hard for you. And there is nobody better to tick all the boxes and still come out looking like that jacket you never knew you needed but now you've got to have it - forever - than arguably our most hyped up brand to date, Embassy of Bricks and Logs. We first got to know of the brand when they released a collection of insane puffer jackets, but without the whole cruelty to animals thing. Filling their forward thinking designs with collected ocean waste turned insulative 'down' and whilst never compromising on directional style, this is the kind of ethical, proudly vegan brand that is going to make a tidal wave impact on the fashion industry. Last season saw an unprecedented rush for their puffers, with all styles and colours we stocked selling out quicker than we could restock. No, really.
As the new collection lands in store we thought it was long overdue to introduce you properly to the faces behind the brand. The multi-talented team was formed in 2015 after founders Niko Vatheuer and Eric Mirbach set out to form a contemporary fashion outerwear brand with high aesthetic and ethical standards. Along with Anna, Niko's wife and an internationally published photographer, they form a strong driving force behind the progressive and ever evolving brand. We chatted to Eric to get a look behind the (recycled) curtain on the how, why and what's coming next.
How and why did you get started with Embassy?
Niko, our founder (above right), had been in streetwear for over two decades when, after his first daughter was born, it dawned on him that it was time to change something. He didn’t feel fulfilled with the work he did anymore and wanted something that was striving towards a more positive impact. He knew he wanted to go deeper into outerwear because he had assembled deep knowledge of the matter – but now he was looking to switch up the approach and, step by step, make the process more sustainable. So that’s how the company was founded.
Me personally, I joined forces with Niko about two years later. I publish a magazine on vegan fashion, travel, art & design called Vegan Good Life and researching for a fashion piece had stumbled over this small but promising company from Western Germany that made vegetarian outerwear. I investigated further and saw that Anna Vatheuer had shot their look book. I knew Anna from University, we had majored communication design together. When I asked her to get me in touch with the company, she answered 'Eric, I was meaning to get in touch forever. My husband is behind this and we want to talk to you.' A lot of talking followed indeed. In our first call we concluded the company should go all the way and offer 100% vegan products. About a year and a half later, I joined the team as Head of Brand.
What does a normal working day look like for you?
Taking a lot of calls and trying to juggle (a) publishing a magazine with a team of eight, (b) occasional freelance agency-style work and (c) all the marketing efforts of a small clothing brand with a full-on hype on it’s hands. And then trying my best to squeeze in a run or a workout if I can. That’s me in Berlin. For Niko and Anna in Essen, it’s probably the same, minus the magazine but plus two kids. Go figure.
What sets you apart from other brands?
Niko as a founder is something I had been in search of for quite some time: He’s a designer with a keen sense of what’s happening and an expert in his craft first. The whole sustainability aspect came into his life later, as kind of like a second layer.
"We actually don’t identify as an ethical brand here at Embassy. We’re more like: 'Hey, we make really good looking and high quality stuff. And then in the next step, why not make it the best way possible for everyone involved?' It’s common sense, so we do it. End of story."
If you had to choose, which are your favourite pieces right now?
If you’re asking me personally, I think the Akaroa didn’t yet get quite the shine it deserves in past seasons – people slept on it. But you guys are on the uptake, so I feel like this really cool silhouette will be a bit more in the spotlight this season.
Biggest struggle as a sustainable, ethical, vegan business?
Where to store all those karma points!
What in your view is an ideal future for the world's shopping habits?
Everybody buying our stuff. Kidding. Look, if you’re determined to make a change, be a positive influence on your peers and the world around you, you should still look great doing it. So I hope we can find a good balance between consuming products that are made in better ways but also not loose out on all the fun that is to be had with dressing up, looking sharp and feeling good about ourselves. Also, make thrifting a happening. Bring friends and Prosecco.
What does the future hold for your brand?
We will continue to make sturdy, quality outerwear that’s designed very well. Contemporary but timeless, just how we like it. The more we grow, the better our options will become to source new, exciting materials that will make using animal materials obsolete and that will take less of a toll on the environment, maybe even have a positive impact. We’re really looking forward to do our part to change the way ethical fashion is perceived and I think we’re well on our way.
Can you share one takeaway from running an ethical brand?
If you can learn to enjoy the (sometimes irky) process, feel comfortable being caught between two stools, you’re doing it right.
Thanks for the great questions, guys!
Want in? Shop our collection of Embassy of Bricks and Logs here, don't sleep on it.