Why did you make sustainable fashion your career?
Very early on in my BA studies I began to question the predominant models in the fashion industry of production and consumption, which made me assess what contribution I could make as a designer in a more positive way.
How do you view the fashion industry nowadays? Have there been any positive changes in the last few years?
I believe the awareness around sustainability in the fashion industry has massively increased in the last 10 years and momentum seems to be continually building. Fashion companies that 10 years ago would not even talk about sustainability are now being very vocal and public about their strategy to address issues in their supply chains for example. There is still a long way to go in terms of large scale transformative change in the industry, but positive changes are happening.
What do you think has to change? Which obstacles have to still be tackled to make the fashion industry more sustainable?
In my opinion, the current growth model of the fashion industry is hugely problematic. Unless we seriously question and challenge the ever increasing volumes of clothing produced, bought and thrown away every year, sustainability initiatives will ultimately struggle to make any meaningful impacts.
Who are sustainable fashion’s biggest “enemies”?
There are a wide range of issues and problems associated with sustainable fashion, from lack of public awareness and understanding, to a lack of meaningful legislation and regulation from governments globally. It will take action and responsibility from all stakeholders for us to see change occur throughout the fashion system.
You founded the ethical and ecologically conscious fashion brand and design collective “Here Today Here Tomorrow”. How did that come about?
“Here Today Here Tomorrow” was set up by myself and a small group of sustainably minded designers to put into practice the ethos and philosophy we had explored and embraced throughout our studies. We didn’t want to compromise on these values in the mainstream fashion industry, so setting up our own small, independent shop and brand was a way for us to bring this to life.
Have you noticed a growing interest among students when it comes to sustainable and ecologically conscious fashion?
Working as an educator I see a large number of students now taking more of an interest in sustainability. Levels of awareness are higher than a few years ago, and I have witnessed an eagerness to learn more. Students are becoming better informed about a range of issues and want their work to have a positive impact.
Do you have any tips on making it in the fashion industry?
My tips for entering the fashion industry is to keep an open mind, build your network of contacts, be open to collaboration and learn as much as you can! It can be frustrating starting in industry for graduates who feel they are in a junior position so have limited opportunities to drive change – but actually more fashion companies are looking for new employees to come to them with new ideas or innovations.
Do you think cultural exchange is important? If so, why?
I think cultural exchange is incredibly important. It broadens our perspectives and takes us out of our own “bubble”. Meeting and working with people from other parts of the world helps us challenge our own assumptions and biases. It is about mutual exchange that everyone hopefully benefits from.
What piece of advice would you like to give your students for the future?
Very early on in my BA studies, I began to question the predominant models in the fashion industry of production and consumption, which made me assess what contribution I could make as a designer in a more positive way.