HYPHEN – ITS HISTORY AND ITS STORIES Looking behind the scenes, to find out what actually happens, is fascinating. And it gets even more interesting when you also have “skin in the game.” My name is Christiane Hess and I run hyphen GmbH together with my husband, Peter Reinschmidt. This is an invitation for you to accompany me through the history and the development of our company, hyphen, and to enjoy the stories which have inspired and moved us over the years. There has to be a solution! An idea takes shape...1997-1998 When two water sports enthusiasts become parents, it is highly likely that their offspring will become real “water rats,” too. When that happens, what can be more fun than surf and sun? The reality, though, often does not match the promise, even if we try very carefully and very positively to steer our kids in our direction: The water’s too cold; the wind’s too strong and the driving sand’s too painful; the sunscreen’s too sticky; “my t-shirt’s tooo clammy”; the sunscreen intended for the beach is at home and so it goes on, as night follows day, with the stresses of sunburn, itchy skin, ear ache, a runny nose and a suspected bladder infection! In fact, vacations are an endless source of minor and major crises that we all conveniently forget until our next holiday comes around. One thing, at least, we felt we could get to grips with was being cold. Peter had been developing water sports’ clothing and accessories for many years, so after we had failed dismally to buy really well-fitting neoprene shorties for our kids, Peter stepped up to the plate as a proper Dad should, and, in the twinkling of an eye, had some prototypes made. From an idea to a product: the time for product development ...1999-2000 Like most parents, we were very happy to see our little girls were obviously not freezing to death, despite their love of full-time immersion when at all possible. Conversations with other parents centred on the same themes: issues about UV protection; with getting cold. We were beginning to become really interested professionally. Many meetings with doctors, health authorities and test institutes were disturbing, as they proved to us that the dangers of UV radiation – which extend far beyond nasty sunburn – were being completely underestimated. Well-fitting neoprene suits for children made perfect sense, but still more important was safe and comfortable clothing, which protected them from ultra violet rays whilst playing on the beach, as well as in the water. The information provided by medical and clothing experts, our professional and private experience, and the innumerable discussions we had with other parents, gave us the blue-print for the essential functions needed in sun-protective and cold protection wear for children. We decided to develop the hyphen product concept with a focus on sun protection. Since information and education were still urgently needed at that time, we fuelled the whole concept with an extensive research project. Over the next two years we extensively developed and tested materials and patterns. Our prototypes were used by children in a wide variety of conditions and places, from Finland to the Bavarian Lakes, and from the Spanish Coasts to Egyptian Waters. The result: Sun protection becomes super simple, chills and shivering shrink to normal levels, and even the usually frozen few suddenly like going into the water. Whether sailing, snorkeling or swimming – sun, wind and weather were no longer the problems they used to be. And best of all: The kids not only accepted wearing our apparel, but they felt great, too, because they really liked our designs. hyphen enters the market. hyphen sun protection clothing complies to the ``pharmacy standard``. UV radiation and its consequences - an international issue. ...2001 Our fabrics overcame their most difficult challenge, and we easily achieved the UPF 50+ Australian standard, although what we really wanted was the UV-Standard 801 certification. This meant that all materials had to deliver the certified sun protection factor, whether wet or stretched, and for a long period of time. hyphen wear achieved UV Standard 801 certification UPF 20 to UPF 40 right at the start. The hyphen team did great work: Andreas Ullrich created a really exciting concept for the graphics and the design with Peter Reinschmidt; Dascha Strohmeier and Dorothea Hugle made superb use of their skills as product manager and cutting designer to turn ideas into special sportswear; Ina Röpcke supported me closely with dedicated and creative PR work that helped introduce hyphen successfully into the market. At Jako-O, the sun protection pioneer Bettina Peetz and her team took us on board – as a large and demanding purchaser – in our first year, and laid the foundations for a very fruitful and collaborative partnership. Thrilled by our ideas, many other supporters contributed to a successful market entry in the summer of 2001. Jako-O’s summer catalogue presented the first “hyphen for Jako-O” collection, and, in addition, other interested parties ordered a specially slimmed-down hyphen childrens’ collection for their pharmacies. Selling sportswear in a pharmacy was certainly a somewhat unusual undertaking. Yet in terms of good, well-informed advice which included the importance and benefits of textile based sun-protection, especially for sensitive skins (e.g. neurodermatitis), this sales route seemed to us to make a lot of sense and we made an effort to obtain approval for the sale of our products in pharmacies in general. Just in time for the start of the summer season, hyphen products were deemed to be of the required pharmacy standard due to the high quality of the sun-protection and the Öko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1 certification. In October 2001, we took the opportunity to deepen our knowledge of ultra violet radiation exposure and protection via an invitation from Prof. Dr. Breitbart, Association of Dermatological Prevention, to take part in the 2nd Euroskin conference “Children under the sun – UV Radiation and Children’s Skin” in Orvieto/Italy, where we were able to present hyphen to an international forum. An eventful year in terms of public relations ...2002 Our first homepage came online and a little after that the first hyphen online shop. We developed children’s painting and drawing books making them them available to our sales partners as well as medical practices, pharmacies, schools and kindergartens. In March 2002, we started our first major media campaign with press conferences in Hamburg and Munich. Sun protection clothing was still virtually unknown in Germany. Our press and public relations work was extremely successful, as we refrained from raising fears about the the dangers and instead offered a solution that was characterized by fun, comfort and nice designs. The media showed great interest in hyphen and praised our concept: in the Summer of 2002 editorial comment on hyphen reached 52 million editions, and in the years afterwards there were many reports on the radio, on television and in print media. We were delighted with the many interesting collaborations, such with TravelMed, a travel medicine consultancy, and with La Roche Posay and its sunscreen brand, Anthélios. Like us, they believe that meaningful and effective sun protection consists in a combination of sunscreen cream and sun-protective clothing. Expansion of the collection and development of the distribution channels. A mayor in Austria made his community a pioneer in sun protection. Cooperation with LTU and TUI. Hyphen quality proves itself in a first media test. A little girl with hyphen had a lovely summer despite severe burns ...2003 High demand in the 2003 season led us to produce, for the first time and earlier than planned, clothing for both teens and adults. This new collection was also sold in this same season by Carpe Diem (now Qiéro), a sister company of Jako-O. Expanding our distribution through specialist retailers proved to be astonishingly difficult. Sports retailers, in particular, were extremely sceptical about the subject, but when personal experience meets professional understanding, then things look completely different. Amongst our first customers were the sailing enthusiasts and parents, Sanny and Frank Schönfeldt of Clown Sails in Hamburg, as well as diving instructor Cordula Stenzel from the Dolphin Watersports Center on Kanuhura in the Maldives. Medics, however, understood the need much more clearly. The airport pharmacies in Frankfurt and Munich successfully sold hyphen products, and the Austrian medical device specialist Ferdinand Menzl expanded its range for allergy sufferers under the motto of “Cloth rules!” with hyphen sun protection. In Austria, the municipality of Gallneukirchen, became a pioneer in sun-protection when its mayor, Walter Böck, became aware of a small girl who had to wear a t-shirt because of her skin problem. When she was expelled from a local swimming pool due to the strict dress code and hygiene regulations, he decided to provide suitable sun-protection apparel at the reception (as reported in OÖ News 17.06.03). We worked alongside LTU with their club journal, and with TUI we equipped the activities staff at the TUI Family Hotels with hyphen shirts and caps. These partnerships were for us a clear signal that the awareness of staying safe in the sun was growing in the tourism industry. A first small test to check the quality of sun protection clothing showed hyphen products performing excellently. (MDR, 08.08.2003, 15:47 p.m.). Johanna: she had to wear pressure bandages following severe burns to her arm and thigh, and had to avoid any sun contact on her skin. We provided hyphen cloth sleeves to protect her arms and hyphen shorts to shield her legs, so that she was able to enjoy a very ‘normal’ summer, and was even able to go swimming. We were very pleased to have been able to help her, and were particularly impressed with the work done by Paulinchen – an initiative for burns affected children. The commitment of Adelheid Gottwald, one of the founders of Paulinchen, was instrumental in helping Johanna, and, as their work is undertaken on a voluntary basis, we will very happily support them in the future. New designs / models and the ``Unlimited`` line for larger sizes. Upswing in sales through children's shops. Successful sun protection campaigns with two medical insurance providers (the DGK and the BEK) ...2004 New in the hyphen program, we developed in 2004 items for women up to size 50 and for men up to size 60. Board shorts and cargo pants for all sizes increase our existing programme. In Germany and Switzerland, many children’s stores added hyphen to their range this season and sold successfully. It is patently obvious that too many children on the beach and at swimming pools suffer from sunburn, so we supported two major sunscreen campaigns: we were featured in the information sent out by The German Green Cross (DGK), which provided paediatric surgeries and their patients all over Germany with information on safe sun-protection as well as making high-quality products available; The Barmer (BEK) medical insurance company initiated the campaign “Attention, Sunshine” about safe sun-protection for kindergartens and BEK insured individuals – here, hyphen donated their profits to the kindergartens. UPF 40 certified by UV Standard 801 for all fabrics. hyphen is now represented in Finland and the Czech Republic. We manage our order hotline and shipping ourselves. hyphen scores excellently in a key UV protection test in Switzerland ...2005 We improved our fabrics still further. Lightness and breathability are still key elements, but the UV protection increases to a safe UPF 40 including light colors, when the fabrics are wet or stretched. In the Czech Republic, hyphen was represented by Farma.cz s.r.o from this season on and for Finland the long-term pharmacist Finn Thesslund and his dedicated wife Päivi have made hyphen available to their customers through their company meditex. In Munich early that year, we took on additional space to run own warehouse and shipping department, and thus ensure faster, more flexible order processing. The hotline is run now by our Munich team, and no longer by an external provider, as we wanted direct contact with our customers. The summer of 2005 also brought good news: K-Tip No.12 (15.06 2005) and the programme “Kassensturz” (Sales Frenzy – 07.06.2005) on Swiss TV channel SF 1 published their tests under the title: “Which sun protection dresses are worth their price?”: “Kassensturz / Sales Frenzy tested children’s sun-protection swimsuits and shirts. The results are sobering. Only the products from the Jako-O children’s catalogue protect what they promise.” Included in the test, and with a result well-ahead of the other brands, was a shorty from our collection ‘hyphen for Jako-O’. In two of the other products, chemical filters were found in the children’s clothing. In use, all the others fell far short of their promised sun-protection. Those responsible were admonished by Jean Pierre Haug, Head of the Swiss Test Institute TESTEX: “I expect from a garment with a declared sun-protection factor, that this sun-protection is effective under all possible conditions. That means: when it has been laundered when it is wet, when it is under tension and even when it has been well used. “ Our understanding of how to deal with the sun is beginning to change. Some questions on our product and company philosophy. Does ethics conflict with profitability? Two great aid projects that we happily supported ...2006 Last year you could feel that something was changing and this year it took shape: real questions on the sun and tanning. Sun worship was slowly being changed in our general consciousness to a focus on healthy skin. In the media, celebrities were proud of being “pale.” Kim Basinger, Julio Iglesias and Liz Taylor were very open about their personal experiences of suffering from skin cancer. More and more stars and models showed themselves in public either slightly tanned or with a genteely pale skin, so the hope was high that they would set an urgent precedent, in order to prevent a lot of suffering in others. At the beginning of the year, I was invited by the Textile Research Institute at Hohenstein to speak about quality and (product) ethics at a seminar on “functional clothing with ultra violet radiation protection.” Our attitude has always been clearly defined by quality and ethics, yet this was still no easy task. It meant dealing with a very complex and also quite sensitive issue, particularly when discussed in the context of a demand for economic efficiency. All too easily you can get into the position of being either too naïve, out of touch with reality or even of being unprofessional. Our position at hyphen was that, for a product such as UV protection clothing, working ethically was – and is – an absolute prerequisite: “UV radiation eludes our sensual perception. I feel and see the undesirable consequences of ‘ too much‘ when it is already too late. The truly (life-) threatening consequences only become apparent years or decades later. If a product simply promises me protection, it is very difficult for me to check the veracity of that promise. Buying something is a matter of trust. This makes the the manufacturer and the seller accountable, so that what they tell their customer about the characteristics of the product is comprehensive and honest, and what they deliver is of an appropriate quality. If this is not done, then this is extremely unethical, as the health of the customer will be endangered … “ (Christiane Hess/Seminar Hohenstein) Although at the time we were completely unaware of it, the next few months would make plain to us the very different attitudes of our competitors in a market intoxicated by the slogan “Meanness is the Mostest” (Geiz ist Geil). These circumstances led us to question whether the future, healthy economic development of hyphen was possible, if we insisted on retaining our standards. The timing, and the nature of this disturbing change, was critical as the 2006 summer season had just begun and our collection for 2007 was already being prepared. Cheap UV protection clothing from the discounters; competitor goods vaunted with product characteristics that did not match; label fraud right up to the promotion of non-existent certifications; consumer disinformation about quality and about the actual situation behind a company’s espoused philosophy … The list went on… The children, with Laleen Lalendra, thank hyphen in a group picture for the shirts Jeanette Kühn took over for them. Then, when ebay advertised cheap goods with our brand name, things had gone too far. We got a lawyer involved and turned to the media, although to little effect. We were really unable to assess whether end-users understood the difference in quality, whether they wanted our quality and whether they would accept our real hyphen garments as worth the price. At the end of that summer, we breathed a sigh of relief: our customers had made up their minds, and stayed with us, plus a number of new-comers came on-board! We were very happy to share our success by supporting two deserving foundations: the work of Jeanette Kühn and the House of Hope for orphans; Prenting family with their commitment and their actions of support for the self-help group of those suffering from Xeroderma Pigmentosum. These projects we felt were great because they encouraged and helped others. All our swimwear is now certified to UPF 80. This year saw an additional collection for sportswear. Value Added Tax increased, but we did not raise our prices at hyphen. In Portugal and the Netherlands we welcomed new trading partners. We started a project to support young people with an asylum seeker background. Called for donations for the (almost) forgotten victims of a disaster ...2007 This year meant that we were able to guarantee our customers the safety of UPF 80 UV protection for all our swimwear. The development work with our fabric producers had paid off. We presented new fabrics and styles in our sportswear collection of polo shirts, jackets and long lightweight trousers, which would offer safe and fashionable sun protection for many leisure and sporting activities. We were particularly proud to have developed fabrics for these pieces, which were also very comfortable on hot summer days. On 1st of January, VAT was increased by three percent, but we decided not to to pass on this price increase. We supplied two brand new trading partners: Rita Manso in Portugal and Dorelies Woortmann in the Netherlands. In Portugal, we also planned a small but exciting cooperation with Rita Manso for 2008 with the young Lisbon designers, STORYTAILORS. Alongside Dorothea Hugle, who was our cutting director at the beginning and who was by this time studying social work, we implemented a project focused on supporting with internships either young people from asylum seeker backgrounds or those who have missed training opportunities. The aim was to give them a taster of practical work and to provide an additional qualification through an internship certificate. The personal support and guidance of Dorothea Hugle, who made the project the content of her practical study, also provided the young people with concrete support for their future careers. In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster left people worldwide deeply shaken and concerned. An appeal for donations, which we received from the Help for Belarus-Achim Association, drew our attention to the people there, who actually experienced the after-shock of the catastrophe many years and decades later. Disease and poverty dominated in the red zone left by the reactor disaster. For political reasons, almost no official international aid had been possible and only a few private individuals stepped up for the people there. Twice a year, the association managed to take a 40t truck with relief supplies to Beresino and Mozyr, where the contents were distributed to schools and hospitals. Virtually everything was desperately needed and even second quality items were welcome. Since clothing was needed and the children there had neither sports gear nor swimming things, we were able to contribute. Our thanks to the helpers from Achim for their tireless efforts. We hope that many companies will continue to follow their calls for donations in the future. Sun protection project on Borkum. Fashion show in Lisbon. Sun protection under scrutiny: great results for hyphen. Our own production in Croatia. Guest lecture for Xeroderma Pigmentosum sufferers ...2008 Being in the open air is fun and healthy (and should stay that way), so Borkum island tourist board made a strong case for a sensible approach to being in the sun, co-ordinated medical professionals, pharmacists, as well as hoteliers and restaurateurs, to join forces and provide holidaying guests with appropriate information. We supported this action with a flyer entitled “Sunscreen without risks or side effects.” End of June During a fashion show, for the occasion of the opening of Festival Rock in Rio, hyphen shirts and polos designed by the ‘Storytailors ‘ Luis and Joao were presented. Fashion met Function and there was a lot of excitement! July brought with it great test results at the Stiftung Warentest (ed: consumer testing agency). They tested the UV protection quality in shirts and caps, and hyphen products were test winners in both categories. In September A new chapter for hyphen began: from this point on we made hyphen products in our own production unit in Croatia. Design, product development, purchasing and production control remained in Munich, with Igor Bogdan as Managing Director in Croatia, supported at that time by 20 seamstresses to ensure proper supply. It was amazing how many technical, logistical and, above all, bureaucratic pitfalls occurred in a starting phase despite good preparation: Murphy’s Law really did exist. The first few months were super exciting and were a truly intensive training period for us in terms of production processing. For individuals where the sun or ultra violet radiation can become life-threatening, bringing normality into their everyday lives could be very difficult. UV-proof clothing is very important in this context. Being able to provide our know-how on this topic was therefore a special pleasure for me. At the annual meeting of the self-help group XP Friends (Moonlight Children) in early November, I gave a lecture on the safety of textile sun protection, including the importance of tests and certifications, and explained how one can be safe even in high summer without the need for dressing in thick, dark clothing, which is still recommended by some doctors. Our first own production hit the market. Our new internet shop went online. hyphen caps for XP-children in Nepal ....2009 And all shall be well! We were able to deliver our first and completely self-produced collection on time. Our own production enabled us not only to control the quality of our products, but also to ensure the quality of our working methods. We attained greater flexibility in planning and more accurate cost control. This allowed us to forego a price hike for the eighth year in a row, despite rising costs. Our second big project was also finally finished: our new internet shop went online. Many months of work went into the shop and our relief was palpable, as everything worked (almost) smoothly from the word go. In conjunction with Mr. Prenting of the Munich-based XP support group, we developed a method for attaching sun protective foil to our Protec Caps in such a way that they protected completely against ultra violet radiation, even when the wearer is playing or exercising. When a doctor then went to Nepal to visit a family in which all four children suffered from Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Mr. Prenting provided her with a large care package and, of course, the first improvised foiled-caps for each of the kids. ``The possibilities and limits of textile sun protection,`` a lecture at the annual conference of the working group 'The severely burnt child'. On Borkum, the information work on sun protection that started in 2008 is supplemented by a special service. A hyphen shirt is test winner at ÖKO-TEST ...2010 Since 2003, we have been supporting the work of Paulinchen e.V. with information and products, so that even children with serious fire injuries could get outside as soon as possible. That May, the opportunity arose to present the topic of textile UV protection to the participants in the 18th Annual Meeting of the Working Group ‘ The Severely Burnt Child ‘. After the end of the clinic treatment, a return to normal, everyday life after clinical treatment for these often severely traumatized children is a huge step, physically and emotionally. The ability to move freely about outside plays a major role in this, and is where the right clothing can be very helpful. We came up with a special service in cooperation with the tourist board on Bokum for their UV protection campaign. From June, the free rental of hyphen wetsuits started, so that even the most timid and watershy could play in the waves. As the saying goes: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!” In July, ÖKO-TEST published an extensive investigative report in its journal, where they checked children’s UV protection clothing for the effectiveness of the protection, based on the make-up and properties of the fabrics. Our hyphen shirt was the best product in the test by far, and also the only garment where no optical brighteners were used to increase the UV protection. This test result also assessed our handling of hyphen products and our concept of quality – for us a very positive confirmation of our work. Hyphen is 10 years old, so an opportunity for reflection. And for a special anniversary catalogue. The hyphen collection is complemented by the functional underwear line, hyfive. hyphen sportswear underwent a serious test: We sponsored the crew of the 12 metre yacht FRENCH KISS .....2011 This was a very special year for us and was time to take stock: over the past 10 years a lot has happened in the world of UV protection. Even though things were not perfect, pretty much everyone knew about the dangers of too much sun and about what you needed to do to protect yourself properly. Particularly for children, textile UV protection was already widely accepted as the safest option. Reliable clothing was available in the market and customers were able to check its safety through recognised certification. hyphen GmbH has progressed well, as has the quality of our clothing. The certifications we have achieved have met the strictest standards. Our materials have come from selected suppliers, almost exclusively from Europe and in this way, we have been sure not only that our products are ecologically sound, but also that the production conditions meet social requirements. In addition, we have avoided long and polluting freight routes. Peter Reinschmidt and I were very happy with our positive, long-standing business relationships, the trust of our customers and, of course, the competence and commitment of the entire hyphen team. Although there have naturally been changes during these 10 years in the lives of each individual and, by extension, in the team, it has always been – and always will be great – when you work with people who are very engaged and able to think outside of the box. Despite the growth of hyphen gmbh, it has always been possible to remain agile with a compact team and to stay in direct contact with our customers. Certainly, it was a real reason to be cheerful and we were also able to take this anniversary as a positive point in time to formulate our future goals. We opened the season with a particularly nicely designed catalogue and were thrilled with our Munich customers, who were a lot of fun as our models during the photo shoots. Thank you all so much! Due to the fact that many people rely on UV protection on a daily basis, we developed the hyfive line. It consists of functional, neutrally coloured underwear, which can be worn like a second skin under any normal, non-protective clothes. A spectacular chance to fly the flag, whilst at the same time testing hyphen clothing under really hard conditions, was the chance to sponsor the crew of the yacht FRENCH KISS with hyphen sportswear. FRENCH KISS was one of the fastest 12 meter yachts and was built for the 1987 America’s Cup. In 2007, owner and skipper Markus Daniel brought back the athletic lady from retirement. He and his crew made sure she was made fit again – and regatta ready. All elasticated hyphen fabrics made with LYCRA® XTRA LIFE ™.2012 This year was focussed entirely on the mission of further improving our materials and products. With a new producer, we continued to work on the improved functionality of our elasticated materials. The new fabric was particularly cool on the skin and was a little lighter, which further increased its comfort. In order to improve durability, we decided to replace our normal elastic components with LYCRA® XTRA LIFE™. This Elastane offered the best resistance to UV radiation, and to chlorine. That meant a lot of work for our teams. Printing and cutting had to be adapted to the new material and, of course, everything had to be tested very precisely before we were able to make it available to our customers. Expansion of our production in Croatia2013 Mursko Sredisce, the site of our production facility, is located in a region of northern Croatia with a strong tradition in textiles. Our team there is highly competent and we decided that we could offer the combination of existing know-how together with our understanding of quality and sustainability to other brands and companies. To this end, it was necessary to expand our production: we built new systems and, with the construction of our own printing works, were able to bring the complete production of sun-protective clothing under one roof. We supported the French Coeur Maroc Foundation in helping XP patients in Morocco. hyphen sports presented its first ski-touring collection.2014 We received a French request asking for support in another project for Xeroderma Pigmentosum patients. Under the patronage of the well-known Moroccan presenter and television producer, Nadia Larguet, they effected a campaign for the “enfants de la lune” in Morocco and we supported them in the supply of sun protection caps and facial protection. Conversations with those affected underlined again and again that they had great difficulty in getting advice and help to cope with the consequences of the disease in everyday life. This makes private initiatives and self-help groups all the more important. This is also true for people with burn injuries and neurodermatitis, but especially in rarer skin conditions. Often sufferers hide themselves from the sun – and sometimes from society – renouncing the enjoyment and well-being of a good time outdoors. For them, sport and going swimming become a threat. We believe strongly that that need not be case. We have now developed additional clothing for customers with particularly sensitive skins and strong sun protection requirements including gauntlets, face protection masks and special clothing for workers exposed to UV. The fun of being outdoors was also the theme of our new functional clothing range, which we presented for the first time at ÖSFA in 2014. Again, it was all about combining protection, comfort and the enjoyment of the outdoors, but this time it was winter that was the challenge. With a special focus on the needs of ski tourers, we developed a lightweight but highly functional collection for mountain sports and were very pleased to have presented it at the following ISPO. Our team was also strengthened in development and sales by Andi Schreilechner, who with his experience and expertise as a paraglider, enthusiastic ski-tourer and official mountain rescue volunteer, was a great asset for us, especially since he also fully shares our view of sustainable production. (Many of his experiences and great pictures are on Facebook under hyphen skitouring.) ISPO award for our new vest Stüdlgrat - dealer meeting in Croatia. Teddington Trust – a teddy bear for XP children - hyphen provided the fabrics. A nice surprise from Sri Lanka ...2015 This particular year started well, as we won an ISPO Brand New Award for our Stüdlgrat vest. This is was a nice confirmation for our efforts yet we were even more pleased by the super response from knowledgeable reviewers, many of whom posted their comments on Facebook. This year, for the first time, we also gave our dealers and journalists a two day introduction to our production facility. It meant a lot to us to have been able show live that we were serious about our statements on quality, ethics and sustainability and how they are implemented. Not only were these days interesting for everyone involved, but we enjoyed it a lot and we will definitely repeat it. I was particularly pleased with an e-mail from Jeanette Kühn, Chair of the House of Hope (see above). She wrote: “Do you remember the many hyphen items yousent with me to Sri Lanka for the children there? I revisited Laleen, who had lost his surf station following the tsunami. And would you believe it: the new, young up-and-coming surfers still wear your hyphen clothing and they look great. Amazing after such a long time …” A small bear explained to children with XP in England and in other english-speaking countries how to best protect themselves from ultra violet radiation. We were very happy to support this project at the Teddington Trust Foundation and provide the fabric for the bears’ clothing. 2015 came to an end with our production concentrating on the new models for hyphen sun protection wear. The fun continued with hyphen’s new winter collection and I closed the year with a few great pictures from one of our favourite photographers, Stefan Leitner – setting the perfect mood for the winter season.