How did you come up with the concept? Interview with Huffington Post

I have always loved fashion and yet have no time to go shopping, so I always shop online. Currently, there is no online charity shop where I can purchase good quality second hand clothes all in one place. I am also frustrated by the general cumbersome nature of clothes recycling. The general process in my home is that I bundle up a bag (normally a few bin bags) of items we no longer wear and place them in my car where they sit for weeks. So, I leave it another month and so on.  What’s more, when I finally drop them off my items will be going to the charity which more convenient and is closest to my car, as opposed to the cause I want to support. I am not proud of this, but I suspect I am not alone. 

When did you first become aware of the concept of sustainable fashion?

The first heard the term used by Livia Firth, through 'The Green Carpet Challenge (GCC)', the objective being to raise the profile of sustainable style.

I now see a growing awareness of the impact that the fashion industry has on our environment and it is unsustainable. An interesting documentary has just been released called 'The True Cost', that reveals the impacts of fashion consumption - What’s more we now have ‘Fashion Revolution Day’ on the 24th April each year to bring people together from throughout the world to challenge the current industry wide system and “demand that fashion becomes a force for good”. Over the next few years I think we will see a growing number of social entrepreneurs solving many of the issues involved with the fashion industry. The Kering Group that owns many of the large luxury fashion brands are now taking sustainability to the heart of their agenda and pulling together the industry leaders to engage change. They have recently created an Environmental profit and Loss (E P&L) that makes the invisible impacts of business visible, quantifiable and comparable. Fashion for Change can help the luxury brands to find a sustainable way for fashion lovers to follow a brand’s latest collections by providing an effective luxury recycling service to their customers.

Through Fashion for Change we can address the need for a far greater range of quality second hand clothes for charity, with ease of purchase and prompt delivery. We can only do this if charities and service providers come together under a combined sales platform. Charities have pressure to reduce their costs and increase demand for their products; we can help them do that. Plus by donating online we can efficiently engage the donor and provide them with a level of transparency that would be too costly in the previous donation model.

The UK Giving Survey 2014 found that the main barrier to donating was not knowing how the money was being used: 70% responded by saying “If I knew how money was directly helping, I would feel more inclined to give to charity”.

Why is sustainable fashion so important to you?

Because fashion is the worlds second biggest polluting industry, second only to oil.

We are never going to stop our love of fashion so we are going to need to find ways to reduce the impact on our planet and the communities of which they are made.  To wear what we like is an expressive form of who we are. But if the impact of what we are wearing goes against who we are, then the clothes we wear are no longer an expression of us.  I want the option to choose my impacts by the clothes that I buy. I think many people do. I love the ‘ Who made my clothes?’ campaign that is raising awareness of the need for transparency about where our clothes come from.

It is also important to me as I can see how we can all make a difference simply by extending the use of our garments, by just 9 months of active usage we can reduce each of their carbon, waste and water footprints by 30% as well as help to save up to £5 billion in resources used to supply and dispose of clothing.

What are your favourite fashion brands to wear?

The brands I love at the moment are Wrap London, Hush, Jenny Packham and Joseph.  I have always loved Diane von Furstenberg as well as Vera Wang’s wedding gowns, so when I got married a few years ago, I managed to find a perfect second hand one and it was beautiful.

Does your passion for sustainability branch into other areas of your lives as well as fashion?

Absolutely, I look to purchase as much local and organic produce as I can, it seems when we mass-produce anything our planet suffers. An example is the huge amount of meat we eat! If we ate less meat enabling us to buy better quality meat, then this would make such a difference. The heavy impact on the environment of meat production is well documented.

Sustainability is in my family too; my brothers run a Community farm on Dartmoor called Chagfarm which aims to make the local community's food supply more resilient through their milk, honey and meat produce. Whilst my sister and her husband run Chagfood which meets the demand for local, affordable and ecologically-produced fruit and vegetables.

Link to the article

By Isla D'Aubigny | Thursday 15 September 2016