You'd probably wish what you're about to read is a lie. That it's not true. That it's at least a gross exaggeration or a conspiracy theory. But it's not, no matter how absurd it may sound. And deep down, you probably already know it:

In a world where we consume 70 percent more resources than the planet can regenerate, big companies and brands cynically plan for the products we buy to break or become outdated long before it's necessary. It even has a name: "Planned obsolescence".

So, it's not by chance that your printer suddenly jams. That your phone's battery capacity drops like a rock. That the chair you bought five years ago starts squeaking. Or that the stylish anorak suddenly feels a bit outdated in style and color. It's part of the bigger plan. A plan that over the past 100 years has been refined and perfected into the basic principle of retail today: Get people to buy more new things, more often.

To achieve this, products can't last too long. Exactly 100 years ago, major light bulb manufacturers came together and devised an incredibly cynical plan, also known as "The Lightbulb Conspiracy" in an award-winning documentary from 2010.

Because this isn't a conspiracy theory; it's a real conspiracy.

You can find evidence of it at a fire station in Livermore, Chicago. There hangs the Centennial Lightbulb. A bulb that has been burning since 1901 without stopping. Today, it's world-famous and is live streamed online. In fact, three webcams have already succumbed to product death during the streams. They weren't made to last as long.

But how can this be, you might think? Light bulbs have a limited lifespan, don't they? Yes, they do today. But it wasn't like that a hundred years ago; back then, they lasted a very long time. And so, a group of serious men from the largest light bulb manufacturers gathered in Geneva and agreed that this had to stop. Now, no light bulb should last longer than 1000 hours; that way, everyone would make more money. The Phoebus cartel is the group of companies behind the conspiracy and for many, it symbolizes the birth of the throwaway society.

Later, all other industries refined and perfected the mindset, both through planned product death and by spending billions on advanced sales psychology and clever campaigns that make us believe we need new things all the time.

Upset? Us too. What if we tried to turn 100 years of established practice on its head and do the opposite?

We're convinced that the coolest people in the future aren't the ones who buy new things all the time but those who go the other way. The ones who repair. The ones who take care. The ones who buy things that cost more because they're made to last.

Those people are our people. The ones who don't see a mountain trail or a beach as a catwalk. The ones who prefer ski poles to selfie sticks. The ones who hunt for great experiences instead of fake affirmations. The ones who want to buy less and play more.

We believe these people are the future's role models, and that's why we dare to build a business model that goes straight against the basic principle of retail today — straight against 100 years of established madness:

Our clothes will look the same year after year. We won't constantly design new models and tempt you with the idea that the new is better than the old, but design products that are timeless. There's another nice word for it: Classics.

Uncompromising product development: We're focusing on durability on every single garment. We facilitate easy repairs for the clothes, reinforce areas particularly prone to wear and tear, and we avoid unnecessary details that weaken the garments.

We will help with repair and maintenance. Not only because we take responsibility for the products we produce after they're sold but also because we want to spread knowledge so that it becomes the new normal.

We will have higher prices than others. We don't think it's fair to pay slave wages to those who produce our clothes and not take all possible environmental aspects seriously in production. And if we succeed in what we're trying, our clothes should cost less in the long run because they have a quality that makes you want to use the product much longer.

And we will continue to speak loudly about what we want and where we're going. Because someone must dare to lead and talk about taboos in business and the clothing industry. Because someone has to be a guide out of the predicament, we've put ourselves in and say it outright: We need to buy fewer products and find ways companies can make money by reducing consumption.

We have a long journey ahead of us. It will surely be steep and rugged along the way. But it's also going to be a lot of fun.

Want to join?

10-YEAR-OLD vs. 100-YEAR-OLD
In September this year, Northern Playground celebrates 10 years. We want to celebrate ourselves in the best possible way; go after a 100-year-old who has ruined too much for generations to come. Yes, we'll raise our glasses, but we'll also throw stones. We'll laugh and enjoy ourselves, but we'll also be angry! Because we want to reach 20, 50, and 100 years, and therefore we will look forward and find solutions that lead us in the right direction.

Your cart is empty

There are currently no products in your cart. Fill it up!
See all products