SANDRA ASPLUND ON THE DEVASTATING LONG TERM
EFFECTS small brands face when being copied
”We need to educate people about the consequences facing small local brands when mass-producing companies copy their products”, says Sandra Asplund, creative director at Asplund. She has worked as creative director, product developer and assortment manager since 1995 and is deeply involved in the production process of Asplunds collections. Below she describes her concerns relating to design copies - not only affecting small brands, but also the speed at which we consume.
Sandra Asplund has worked as creative director, product developer and assortment manager at Swedish producer Asplund since 1995 and is deeply involved in the production process of the company’s collections.
”We need to educate people about the long-term consequences facing small local brands and factories when large mass- producing companies copy their products. What will that do for our possibilities to choose what we buy in the future?”
“I’m hoping for a new world where we can operate businesses with an international pre-calculated, industry-free month, have harder quality control on mass production and allow local business to prosper. I also hope we can find a more balanced way to consume. These are thoughts that have been with me for a long time, working hard to keep designing, developing and producing our furniture collections locally in Sweden for the last 25 years. Putting more products into the world has always been a conflict in me. Is the product relevant? Will it last for a long time? With the experiences we have had this spring, these thoughts – on the importance of local production and a more responsible consumerism – became even more relevant. It made us all think. But if we want to be able to choose long-lasting and sustainable quality in the future, we have to not only discuss these topics, but also the matter of copying products. We have to step up and take more responsibility as producers and consumers. We need to educate people about the long-term consequences facing small local brands and factories when large mass-producing companies copy their products. What will that do for our possibilities to choose what we buy in the future? What will it do to the growth and existence of small and medium-sized companies? What will it do to the overall quality of products and how will it affect the humanitarian and environmental aspects of manufacturing in low-cost countries?
We speak about slowing down and wanting less but better. But if the big companies keep copying, instead of investing in their own ideas and product development, they will just speed up the process of trends.
If companies offer the same products the interest in the product will fade. We will tire more quickly. Shouldn’t we, for a sustainable world, do the opposite and strive for products that last as long as possible? I see factories and companies going bankrupt and closing down in Sweden at the moment and that’s a development that started even before Covid. The factories have been taken over by larger companies to be used as warehouses for imports of cheaper lookalike products. At the same time I see an acceptance on the market – and in the media – in regards to copies. This is an important topic, not only in my trade – it has an effect on all communities that have local production. We have to decide what kind of society we want to build from here. It doesn’t happen by itself.”