Pure Passion med Jacob Becker-Christensen

Pure Passion with Jacob Becker-Christensen

Let us introduce Jacob Becker-Christensen, who we met on the small, green roads on which we both run our companies. Jacob is co-founder of the Danish fashion brand Nordenstjerne, together with Alissia Damkjaer. They work for responsible fashion and transparency, by being authentic and open about how the fashion business is run, its value chain, decision-making processes and trade-offs in a complex world. Nordenstjerne is "on a mission" to change the established in the fashion industry, with great passion. And we applaud it!

Name : Jacob Becker-Christensen
Place: Aarhus and Copenhagen (both Denmark)
Background: Ph.D. in materials chemistry.
Hold on… what is materials chemistry? It is the branch of chemistry that describes and takes in all the useful stuff we have around us. You know. All from paper clips to aeroplanes, hair wax to cars, smart phones, concrete bridges, coffee mugs, and (not least) textiles and fabrics. All of that has some history of development behind it. Materials chemistry is part of the great, big science underneath.
Work: CEO to the Danish innovation platform LINX Association and co-founder of the Danish fashion brand Nordenstjerne. Oh, and freelance musician – I play the church organ. And piano.

Tell us about your passion. What energizes you?
I like solving life’s many puzzles. Whether it is a scientific question about materials out of LINX or some new way of tackling the torrent of challenges which entrepreneurship throws at me every day.

And your greatest fear?
I see our world succumbing to willful disinformation, poor decisions and short-sighted thinking. Above all I fear a future where “fake news” has become so ingrained that the whole concept of truth has become meaningless. Where reason no longer exists, and everything is just a shouting-match of opinions.

How do you deal with that?
I argue. I try to fill some scientific reasoning in where I can, where-ever there is space for it.

Could you perhaps explain that a bit more? 
Alright, well, have a look at the fashion industry. It has been lying through its teeth at consumers for years on end. Greenwashing. Which essentially is the art of duping people into thinking that there are easy solutions to hugely complex problems. Problems such as environment, climate, eco-systems, and so on. “Just buy our things” and everything will magically be fixed.

No. The world is more complex and people – consumers – deserve more honesty and realism than that. Even though it may be difficult to get your head around it all, and even though it highlights the sad truth that no perfect solutions exist. There only exist “better” or “worse” ones. The rest is a game of careful compromise.

Is that why you became part of a fashion start-up company?
Nordenstjerne is an attempt to “walk the talk”. The founder, Alissia, and me wanted to build a fashion brand that does not only create beautiful and exquisite clothes but does so on a foundation of demonstrable green credentials. A brand – a company – which can defend its choices and compromises rigorously. And apply scientific principles to back it all up if need be. Again, nothing is perfect. But there is such a thing as “best practices”.

What’s next, then? 
I expect and believe that Nordenstjerne will grow to become a big, famous and significant brand. And a roaring business success. A name which is influential enough to be a real show-case to others out there in the textile and fashion industry on how things may be done better. Not perfectly. But better.

What makes Pure Effect and the mists relevant to your mission?
Resource consumption is a huge problem worldwide, it is hard to even imagine how much. Fresh water not least. The textile industry consumes massively, for instance the production of cotton. We don't use cotton in our brand - synthetic fabrics are easier to document and analyze - but they still require washing as all clothes do. We would like that to be much more "occasional" to minimize the overall, general resource footprint of our products. People should wash when the cloth is visibly dirty or greasy. Not just when there is a faint odor around. Pure Effect is the magic bullet that takes us there. Plus, I think that biotech is simply cool. If we want our new, better tomorrow we have to use the whole keyboard of technologies.

Do you have a favorite quote?
Well, Einstein once said, “the whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking”. That refinement is part of Nordenstjerne’s DNA. I like it.

Thanks for the chat Jacob, you're a star and we wish you all the best in your important mission!