Responding to the urgent global issue of waste, Really upcycles end-of-life textiles to create materials that challenge the design and architecture industries to rething their use of resources and to design with a circular economy in mind.
Textiles infiltrate every aspect of our lives. 95% of the textiles we use could probably be recycled. Only 25% actually are. Much of the remainder is burnt or consigned to landfill with all the problems this causes. With Solid Textile Board and Acoustic Textile Felt, Really launches its first products tapping into the potential of textile waste.
This is a first step on the circular journey; taking a readily available waste stream – in this case end-of-life textile – and redefining its use, transforming it into a new raw material and inviting designers to turn it into something interesting.
As a champion of circular design, Really encourages innovative concepts that prolong the lifespan of textile resources. When designers and manufacturers use it responsibly, Really’s products can potentially be transformed again – after its second life has ended – and made into new board for the next iteration. Our ambition is a no-waste solution.
The idea sounds simple, but the challenges are substantial. Really’s real task is to challenge and transform mindsets, creating the desire to change wasteful habits and making it feasible for designers and manufacturers to take a new approach to materials on an industrial scale.
Really is partly owned by Kvadrat, the global leading manufacturer of design textiles.
The history of Really: A problem becomes an idea
The idea for Really emerged in response to the urgent global issue: What could be done with all of this textile waste? Could it be transformed from worthless rubbish into a valuable resource?
Klaus Samsøe started working in the Copenhagen clothing industry in 1985 and has worked with reuse of materials and sustainable production methods ever since. In 2002 Samsøe started collaborating with De Forenede Dampvaskerier about making clothing from discarded bed linen, a strategic partnership, which has been instrumental for the foundation of Really. It was while making clothing from discarded bed linen in 2009, that Samsøe spied the potential in Denmark’s industrial laundries.
Early experiments involved shredding fabric by hand into tiny pieces and binding them with glue to make solid plates. Two years later, after developing his prototypes further at the Danish Technological Institute, Samsøe showed his material trials to long-time acquaintance Wickie Meier Engström. If Samsøe is a serial innovator fascinated by materials and processes, Meier Engström has forged an international career merging socially conscious and sustainable design with larger organisational and business interests. At the time an Associate Professor of Sustainable Design Strategies in Berlin, Meier Engström immediately saw the industrial potential in Samsøe’s vision. In 2012 the pair joined forces with Ole Smedegaard, a Business Strategist with experience in sales, business development and management, who in turn initiated the partnership with Kvadrat a year later.
Four years later Really launches its first products tapping the potential of textile waste. Solid Textile Board and Acoustic Felt are both made from end-of-life cotton and wool from fashion and textile industries, industrial laundries, households, as well as cut offs from Kvadrat, designed for furniture and interiors.
Klaus Samsøe is a business developer, entrepreneur, designer and the founder of the succesful clothing brand Samsøe & Samsøe, and has been focusing on the reuse of materials and sustainable production methods ever since. A designer and a serial innovator fascinated by materials and processes, Samsøe came up with the idea for making a composite out of end-of-life textile while making clothing from discarded bed linen in 2009 in collaboration with De Forenede Dampvaskerier. Based on this idea he established the company Sus:Hed in 2011 together with Meier Engström, which later became Really.
In 2013 when Really was founded, Samsøe was responsible for the product development.
Samsøe is also the founder of Pullover and Leftover, two clothing brands of which the later is also focused on the use of yarns made from end-of-life textiles.
Wickie Meier Engström has a longstanding, international career merging socially conscious and sustainable design with larger organisational and business interests, first as co-founder of Denmark’s INDEX: Design to Improve Life Awards, then as a consultant to organisations such as Unicef and as Associate Professor of Sustainable Design Strategies at the Esmod Design School in Berlin.
Meier Engström has been working together with Samsøe since 2011 and was responsible for funding and sales. Meier Engström has been CEO of Really ApS since 2015.
Ole Smedegaard is a Business Strategist with experience in business development, sales, marketing and management from companies like Scan Rack, MEC, Leaf, SCA and Benzon Brands. An old acquaintance from Meier Engström, Smedegaard got involved in Really in 2012 to help develop the business strategy, commercialise the idea and find the right partner to market the product. Smedegaard initiated the collaboration with Kvadrat.
Currently, Smedegaard is the commercial director of Spiromagic, a personal lung measurement devise.