Given our increasingly healthy lifestyles and a relaxing of workplace dress codes, the activewear market is booming the world over. But imagine one that’s eco-friendly in both the making of the product and its use, that’s stylish enough to wear on a plane but with the technical functionality for the best workout. Nadine-Isabelle Baier and Arendt van Deyk did just that, and turned into it a reality with Aeance. Designed in Germany and manufactured in Portugal, Aeance – the name of which represents a fusion of aesthetics, athletics and performance – is a new label for men and women comprising well-made stylish sportswear, crafted from natural fibres including Merino wool. We spoke with Baier about the development of the label, and how Merino wool is the best material for your workout.
Aeance is built around the activity of running and sports. What’s your background in this area? Were you both always runners?
Both my partner and I love sports in general, and before having worked in the design and fashion industry, Arendt was a competitive cyclist, which he started in his youth. Apart from also cycling and hiking, both of us are passionate runners, making the starting point for the business to create an equal intersection between fashion and running apparel.
Did you find that other activewear brands didn’t offer this style?
The idea of founding a functional fashion brand developed straight from our personal need to find running/athletic apparel in a sleek, contemporary look that we could also wear for any leisure activity or long-haul travel. Also, while assuring perfect functionality, we did not want to compromise on quality of materials and craftsmanship, as you would expect from a credible high fashion house. We could find timeless, high quality products in many other segments, but were frustrated with the mostly over-designed and mass-produced styles of activewear. So we strived to create something beyond this, added with an extra focus on eco-sustainable materials and production. The name – Aeance – is derived from aesthetics, athletics and performance, all three characteristics of which define the brand’s DNA.
Tell us about the technology behind the products. How are these different or better to what you might find from most sportswear brands?
Committed to producing within Europe, for manufacturing we joined forces with a leading and highly innovative factory in Portugal that has longstanding expertise in both high fashion and premium sports apparel, as well as a strong commitment cutting CO2 emissions. We’ve put our heart and soul into the development of all technical details and selection of textiles, such as Merino wool, from the world’s finest and most innovative mills to ensure maximum functionality and comfort. Manufacturing technology and cutting-edge techniques, such as bonded seams and laser cut details, ensure a seamless, clean finish.
Can fashion be environmentally conscious?
Almost every aspect of our life in industrial nations is characterised by excess, this is especially so in the fashion industry. Think of fast fashion, with its countless collections per year and cheap production with toxic substances that pollute the world we live in and compromise our health. This is not part of our philosophy. Our collections are neither determined by trends but rather minimalistic and timeless pieces, nor related to seasons since they function through layering. We encourage our customers to invest in timeless pieces of the highest quality and keep them in their wardrobe for many years; to buy less but buy better.
Merino wool forms a big part of the fibre content used in your products, and yet it’s not something that a lot of people associate with sportswear. What do you find are the benefits of the material in this context?
It is probably hard to find another natural fabric with as many merits as Merino: it transcends seasons, it is breathable, keeps warm during winter and cools in summer. Being natural it is also biodegradable. Perhaps the most impressive feature, especially in a sportswear context, is that it is anti-odour, so you can wear the Merino wool pieces a bunch of times before washing them, which is another contribution to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Where do you foresee Aeance in the future?
We are moving into a very new field by creating a brand that is at the intersection of fashion and performance wear with the use of premium materials and production techniques, leaving the smallest possible footprint with eco-friendly, socially responsible materials as well as being produced in Europe. Many factors need to be considered and it also takes time to find the best solutions without having to compromise. For the future, we particularly want to extend the usage of natural fibres and will consequently look into further research on natural solutions for maximum functionality.