Made in Europe
Minimise Emissions - In the combat of global warming and our responsibility to make responsible use of scars raw materials Akaso has chosen for a 100% made in Europe label.
Our rationale: minimize the transportation mileage from the source of the raw materials to our stores and warehouse in Belgium, and are key markets.
All Akaso clothing and handbags are proudly made in Europe: Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria. All our fabrics and knit yarns are made in Europe, following strict European environmental and labour regulations.
The EU has the most strict regulations regarding the use of dyeing chemicals for fabrics and yarns. The EU bans several hazardous whitening and coloring chemicals which are still widely used in nearly every other textile producing country at a huge environmental and human cost.
Water Conservation - Akaso only work with those EU fabric and yarn suppliers who have implemented a solid strategy geared to minimize the use of water and energy during the production process, and purify and/or recycle waste water. Drinking water is increasingly a scars resource, and hence all of us need to adopt a life style using less water.
Akaso favors suppliers who use green energy generated with renewables.
Akaso only works with European manufacturers that pay their workers fair and solid wages, beyond the local minimum wage. Workers must have the capacity to send their children to school or university.
No child labour. The place of every girl or boy younger then 18 years is at a school bench, not behind a sewing machine.
It is a poor and selfish excuse that the textile sector needs to produce in poor countries to provide jobs in developing countries. Today, even after many Bangladesh scandals, the bulk of made in Asia production equals to institutionalized slavery : workers gain hardly to survive, let alone to send their children to school. That is a human crime.
Akaso prints are designed by the Kara tribe in Ethiopia. We have chosen to pay every Kara tribe artist the equal wage we would pay for a Belgian graphic designer for a raw design. That is 250 euro per design. Considering that many Ethiopians live on 1 euro a day.
Akaso only uses materials that have a proven long life cycle, and when the garment or bag comes at the end of its journey, the material is either compostable or can be recycled into something new without any harm to the environment.
Akaso has built quite a following with Tencel tops. Tencel is a 100% ecological fabric made by Lenzing in Austria. Tencel is made from wood pulp, from European sustainably managed forests. Tencel is granted the EU Ecolabel, and has won the EU Award for the Environment.
Tencel is made with a 100% closed loop production process with 0% negative impact on the environment. It is biodegradable and compostable. Click here to read more.
We also buy Modal and Viscose yarns from the same Austrian supplier which are both wood based yarns. Yes, it is a man made yarn with a chemical process. However our supplier guarantees a closed cycle production process with zero to small negative impact on the environment.
The global explosion of viscose consumption is today a top five cause for global deforestation.
Akaso viscose is made from European sustainably managed forests. More expensive, but with respect for our planet. For every tree cut, a new tree is planted.
Our sweatshirts are made from pure cotton. By 2020 we aim to migrate to 100% organic cotton.
The Cream of Cottons
Much like coffee and wine, the quality of cotton varies greatly.
At Akaso we use Peruvian Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton.
Why ? Very simple : these are the world's finest cottons. You will notice this immediately by the sensational soft touch on the skin, and by its durability after frequent washing.
PERUVIAN PIMA COTTON
Thanks to ideal growing conditions, extra-long staple length and hand harvesting, Peruvian pima cotton is the world’s finest, prized for its exceptional durability, softness and brilliant luster.
Ideal place to root. In order to grow exceptional cotton, you need exceptional growing conditions. Peruvian pima cotton grows lush and lovely along the northern coastal valleys of Peru. There, the rich soil soaks up just the right amount of moisture at near-perfect equatorial temperatures. The result is cotton with a silky luster and an unbelievably soft hand.
Harvested by Hand. Unlike much commercial cotton, Peruvian pima cotton is harvested entirely by hand. Not only is harvesting by hand more environmentally sound, it’s better for the cotton itself. Industrial harvesting tears the cotton fibers and creating a scratchy texture that affect the smoothness of the final garment. The careful hand harvesting of Peruvian pima, however, results in a brilliant white shade of whole cotton and feels soft and smooth against the skin.
Extremely Durable Quality. With any natural fiber, the longer and smoother the filament, the softer the hand. Because of its exceptionally long, 1-3/8" staple (filament) length, Peruvian pima cotton has unparalleled softness, is extremely durable and highly resistant to pilling. And since it’s hypoallergenic, it’s an excellent choice for people with skin sensitivities.
The sun drenched fertile soil along the River Nile in Egypt is another setting to grow exceptional quality cotton.
In 1821 a Frenchman discovered some cotton plants in a lush Cairo garden, experimented with them and created a very soft extra-long staple cotton variety.
Egyptian cotton was born.
A ka so Merino Wool
Among all wool types, Merino wool is the finest and softest available.
The Merino sheep lineage goes back to the 12th century,
with origins in Spain and later the breed was improved in Australia and New-Zealand.
In the A ka so collections, we use merino wool for several jumpers with elaborate motifs :
we use a super fine merino wool yarn allowing for a thin and comfortable sweater.
In general : the thinner the yarn, the more expensive the yarn.
The production of a super fine yarn requires technology and machines that cost up to 2 million euro and are only found at the best yarn manufacturers in Italy.
Subsequently, for the production of a garment using such fine yarns another very expensive and hence rare knitting machines are required, with 16 needles per centimetre.
Pure Merino wool garments can be worn in winter and summer.
The Akaso Merino wool sweaters are perfect for the current colder evenings.
Our sweaters are super soft so you can wear them directly on your skin,
a wonderful sensation !
Merino wool can be washed by all modern washing machines,
in a washing bag, wool programme 30C. Or by hand.
Merino wool is a sustainable and ecological material.
Make it Last
Extending the Life Span of your garment - Akaso is building a strong reputation of fine high quality knits. Not only because Akaso knits are extremely soft, Akaso knits keep their wonderful appearance washing after washing, and that for many years after its purchase.
No surprise: we use the best of Italian yarns. We only use yarns with the longest possible staple, category 1.
Why ? The longer the fibre, the more durable your garment : your garment will not pile up, it will not produce any holes, washing after washing.
An Akaso sweater will at least last for 10 years with a 1 euro cost per wear, making it probably the better option compared to cheaper options with shorter life spans.
The world's finest yarns: Alpaca and Pima cotton from Peru. Baby mohair from South Africa. Cashmere from Mongolia. Mako cotton from the highlands in Egypt. Belgian and French linen. The finest pure Merino Wool from Uruguay, South Africa, Australia and New-Zealand.
We work only with those Italian suppliers who implemented an ethical charter guaranteeing that their raw materials are produced and harvested in full respect of animal wellfare and the environment.The Italian yarn making industry has developed over more than a century a unique knowledge on how to transform the finest raw materials into ultra soft and high performance yarns. That means : machine washable and which will keep their beauty washing after washing. They also make the world’s thinnest yarns. That equals to light and comfortable garments.
You will never see any acrylic in an Akaso garment. It is pure poison for our environment and humanity: with every washing particles of your garment go down the waste water into our oceans, where it is eaten by fish and shell fish, and finally ends up on our plates. This is how plastics cause damage in our bodies since decades.
Acrylic is proven to be highly cancerogenous. Click here to read more. (scroll down the article till the Acrylic section). And still acrylic is widespread, more and more, even in designer collections and so called high-end boutiques. Because it is cheap and allows brands to increase their margins on the expense of human and animal health.
In a rare occasion we allow for some polyamide, such as in our alpaca and baby mohair yarns. Baby alpaca and kid mohair yarns used in a 100% pure state produces a thick and heavy yarn, prone to breaking. Garments in 100 % pure alpaca or mohair are found too heavy, less comfortable and pill easier after washing.
We are confident that the yarn industry will find new innovative solutions to produce soon an all-natural alpaca yarn that is light, comfortable and durable.
Akaso Handbags: Fine Italian Leather
Each Akaso bag is made of fine full grain calf leather made in Italy, and certified a by-product of the meat industry. We use a tanning technique that colors the skin in depth: this will conceal any small scratch that may appear on your bag due to tear and wear. The tanning technique also reveals the natural skin structure, sign that we use the finest skins free of any marks. After tanning, each skin is tumbled to add suppleness and best resistance against tear-and-wear. At the end, each Akaso skin gets a finishing that will protect it against water and dust for a year at least.
The Akaso leather tanning and finishing technique will preserve the natural beauty of each skin as it ages : each Akaso bag is designed for longevity. We recommend to clean and nourish your Akaso handbag following our Leather Goods Care Guide.
Akaso bags with a more structured body are constructed inside out : the body is built with leather of various thicknesses creating structure and suppleness where we need it, and this structure is subsequently “dressed” on the outside with the Akaso full grain leather decorated with the signature scarification motif. This requires a lot of precise handwork and long production times. Examples are the Hunter and Merkatina bag.
Akaso handbags are hand made in Portugal. The signature Akaso scarification motif is applied with a secret technique, revealing a permanent motif whilst keeping the skin’s suppleness. Looking closer you will notice that each ‘scar’ has a different shape. It makes every Akaso bag truly unique.
Because this motif will stretch the leather, we can only use leather of the finest quality, younger and supple skins free of any marks.
Akaso metal accessories are made in Italy, using high quality light weight metal alloys and subsequently plated with white gold or aluminium.
All metal zippers used on bags are hand polished : the teeth are round and are nail and hand jewellery friendly.
Akaso bags are hand made in Portugal.
Since 2018 nearly all Akaso garments are packed in bio-degradable packaging made from Degralen, a compostable bio plastic. Not toxic when burned. It decomposes within 2 years when stored in a land fill.
Akaso paper shopper bags are made from FSC wood: paper made from sustainably managed forests. On rainy days we will cover your shopper bag with a 'plastic' raincover made from corn and hence perfectly bio-degradable.
Akaso vehicles are fueled by eco-friendly CNG or Natural Gas.
Philippe Vertriest, Akaso Founder