Sustainability

Totême stands for lasting style, quality and purpose. With an edited approach and transeasonal aesthetic, the ambition is to make it easier for the Totême woman to make conscious choices and build for longevity. It’s about narrowing down the options and curating a streamlined wardrobe that transcends trends.
Totême showroom

Through meticulous craftsmanship and methodic repetition, Totême refines and tweaks the wardrobe over time to reflect the changing needs of the Totême woman. Each collection builds upon the next and additions are made to complement, rather than reinvent, the wardrobe. This to curate an edit that is relevant and lasting in appearance, function and quality.

Totême follows the new developments within sustainability closely to make decisions that work in favor of people, animals and the planet. Minimizing the impact is an ongoing journey with no shortcuts, and the ultimate goal is to grow in a sustainable way.

Read the Sustainability FAQ below to learn more about Totême’s ambitions and what steps have been taken so far, or get in touch at sustainability@toteme-studio.com.


Sustainability FAQ

  • What is Totême's approach to sustainability?

Totême’s mission is to curate a streamlined transeasonal wardrobe by building on what’s already there. It’s about narrowing down the offering and perfecting each piece, but also to inspire the Totême woman to make conscious choices and build for longevity. Totême’s work begins and ends with the product: defining and developing quality pieces that fill a long-lived purpose in her wardrobe.

  • Where are Totême's pieces produced?

Totême’s ready-to-wear is produced in Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Lithuania, Romania and China. The shoes and bags are made in Italy. There are around twenty suppliers in total: six in Portugal, seven in Italy, five in China, one in Lithuania, one in Turkey and one in Romania. In financial year 2021/2022, 57% of all pieces were produced in Europe and the remainder in China. The countries and factories chosen for manufacturing depend on the fabric or product category. Portugal, for example, has a long tradition of working with jersey, with a wide variety of yarn spinners and knitting mills. In China, Totême produces a lot of the more complicated pieces to make, eg. pieces with smock details, because of their high technical skills.

  • What is Totême's approach to fair production?

Totême works with a small number of carefully selected suppliers in order to guarantee fair production and quality in every step of the manufacturing chain. 70% of the production is done with 8 of Totême’s most trusted manufacturers with whom we have worked with for 5 or more years. All partners and suppliers are required to comply with Totême’s Code of Conduct, and the team constantly evaluates their work to keep improving. Totême is a member of Fair Wear Foundation and works closely with the organization to ensure fair conditions in the full production chain.

  • What is Totême's approach to transparency?

Totême works actively to increase transparency throughout the supply chain. The aim is to reach full traceability for every piece – from raw materials to finished product – in 2025. See Totême's full garment supplier list, material supplier list, and the manufacturer/main supplier on product level.

  • What is Totême's approach to environmental sustainability?

The long-term goal is for environmental sustainability to be integrated into every aspect of the day-to-day work. All partners and suppliers meet with Totême’s quality and environmental standards and are obliged to align with Totême’s chemical contract.

Totême is a member of the Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action (STICA), whose expertise, combined with the joint experience of 40 member companies, helps in making decisions that work in favor of the climate. The Swedish Chemical Group (a partnership with the Swedish Research Institute, Rise) supports Totême with expertise around the latest chemical regulations and updates about future risk materials. We perform a chemical risk analysis on every collection where nominated products and materials are tested at independent laboratories.

See STICA’s latest progress report.

  • What is Totême's strategy around materials?

Totême works actively to make better material choices for every collection. The aim is to source 100% preferred materials by 2025. To reach this goal, Totême has developed an internal fiber tool, rating the fibers included in the collections on their environmental impact. The tool is created for the Design and Product team to better understand the impact of each fiber and to inform their choice of materials. It is based on insights from industry standards and Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit creating positive acceleration of preferred fibers in the global textile industry.

See Totême's fiber tool.

Some preferred materials included in the current collections are:

  • Organic cotton, produced without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms
  • Recycled polyester and polyamide sourced from plastic waste
  • Recycled cashmere sourced from post-consumer yarn
  • Viscose from FSC-certified forests, produced in facilities that rank highly according to Canopy's Hot Button
  • European-sourced flax, a natural fiber crop which needs little pesticides and preserves the local soil and water resources
  • What is Totême's approach to animal materials and welfare?

Animal materials are beautiful and durable and important elements of Totême’s collections. Wool has a big share of the fiber portfolio, including mohair, cashmere, alpaca and merino wool, with regular sheep wool making up the biggest part. Totême demands that animals are treated correctly in the whole supply chain and all suppliers meet with the quality and animal compliance agreements in place. Totême has banned the use of mulesing, live plucking, and materials from endangered species, and all hides used are by-products from the food industry, i.e. never from animals raised only for their fur. The down used for jackets is recycled or from certified animal husbandry sources.

  • What are Totême’s certifications and memberships?

Totême believes in collaboration between the industry and expert organizations and works closely with selected partners to do better across the supply chain.

Totême is currently members of:

  • Leather Working Group supports Totême with promoting environmental best practice within leather manufacturing
  • Fair Wear Foundation works closely with Totême to ensure fair conditions in the full production chain
  • The Swedish Chemical Group (a partnership with the Swedish Research Institute, Rise) supports Totême with expertise around the latest chemical regulations and updates about future risk materials
  • STICA (Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action) helps Totême in making decisions that work in favor of the climate by lowering greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 1.5°C global warming pathway
  • Textile Exchange supports Totême with insights on preferred fibers in the global textiles industry, to better understand the impact of each fiber and to inform Totême’s material choices

Totême’s progress within sustainability has to date earned certifications from:

  • Responsible Wool Standard (RWS): a voluntary standard
 that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land that
 they graze on
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): an international
 non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization that promotes responsible management of the world's forests
  • How do I best care for my Totême pieces?

With the right attention and care, your Totême pieces can last for many years. Find tips on storing, stain removal, washing and drying in the care guide.

  • What should I do with Totême pieces I no longer use?

Totême pieces that you no longer use can be sold on to someone else through your favorite fashion resale app.

  • What is Totême's approach to inclusivity?

Totême stands for inclusivity and strives to create a sense of belonging in the workplace. Whether it’s recruiting a new team member or casting a model for the next campaign, the ambition is to represent Totême’s global community and reflect the diversity of the world at large. Totême stands against any form of discrimination based on gender, race, sexuality and body type and are actively working to become a more inclusive workplace.