My fashion love story goes way back. Clothes have always played a pivotal role in my life, from selecting my little white dress where I was adamant it wasn’t complete without a flashing crucifix to my 90’s adidas poppers and Kangol hat, and then later an obsession with anything and everything vintage. Fashion, for me, has always been a source of playfulness and experimentation, mixed with a touch of non-conformity.
I matured from Tammy Girl to Topshop, intermixed with thrifting at charity shops and vintage stores. The latter thanks in large part to my uni days spent in Glasgow.
Image: Wearing vintage, strolling the streets in NYC
As the years passed, my wardrobe grew and grew, mostly because I was incapable of throwing anything away. Probably in fear of it coming around again. Which it did – and always will.
Fast forward to living in London and working in advertising. As a creative strategist, I was fortunate to work on some cool campaigns for a range of clients, but always felt like something was missing. A greater purpose perhaps. Though it wasn’t until I took a break, spending time overseas in Australia and Asia, that that purpose began to take shape.
Image: Squeezing in sightseeing while working in Russia
After watching the 2015 documentary ‘The True Cost’, that uncovered the environmental dangers of the industry, as well as the human cost often felt, such as the Rana Plaza disaster where a Bangladesh garment factory collapsed in 2013 killing over 1,100 people, it stirred something within me. Before, I was definitely lacking a deeper understanding of the fashion industry, but I began to join the dots with everything from fashion’s impacts on the environment, to how we might transition towards circularity, and to the real stories behind who makes our clothes.
It left me asking some big questions like, how can we get such pleasure and enjoyment from fashion, while at the same time causing such destruction to others? How could I continue to consume fashion in the same way ever again? And, if I thought this, then surely others would too. So I began researching and looking into possible alternatives.
What I found was that there were so many amazing fashion brands and designers out there, working tirelessly to create relevant fashion that’s able to debunk the tired, old stereotype of “eco-fashion.” However, it was time-consuming tracking them down online, scrolling through brand bio after brand bio, trying to find out whether they met with your specific values, as it’s clear there’s currently no one-size-fits-all approach to sustainability. It really comes down to the individual.
In fact, even the terminology can throw people, from ethical fashion, sustainable fashion, fair trade fashion, organic fashion, vegan fashion, minimal waste fashion, conscious, slow… And within each, there are so many more things to consider, such as the entire supply chain from the sourcing of materials to the treatment of workers, and so on. It doesn’t have to be but, it can end up being a very convoluted system, so how are consumers to know what to think? Especially if they don’t have the time or inclination to do the necessary background check. You can see how this can be confusing. And fashion shouldn’t be about trying to navigate a complicated world of terminology, certifications and the likes. For many, it’s a form of escapism, experimentation or just plain fun. You want to look good. So striking the right balance was crucial.
This sparked the idea for STATEMENTS. I knew we needed to embrace technology in order to simplify the discovery journey for sustainable and ethical fashion. Luckily, I found a great team and together we were able to create a platform whereby we present responsible yet highly desirable labels in an easily digestible format, so consumers don’t feel overwhelmed and can easily scroll and compare, in order to discover a variety of progressive labels, without hopping from site to site. From the outset, I knew we didn’t want to hold any stock, instead positioning STATEMENTS as the ultimate discovery platform for exciting and innovative labels and stores, who are committed to propelling the fashion industry towards a sustainable and ethical future.
There’s so much more to be done to offer the best service to audience but, at the same time, I recognise we can’t be too hard on ourselves. We’re super excited to celebrate our first birthday in June, using this time to reflect on the past year and plan loads more for the coming year. In particular, we’re looking at the best ways to improve the platform in order to help more consumers discover truly awesome fashion. If any of our users have any suggestions, we’re always keen to receive any feedback, good or bad!
You know, I remember my Great-Auntie Rose used to say, “fashion feels no pain, my dear.” She’d clearly swapped out beauty for fashion but still it stuck with me and of course, she was referring to the wearer and not the worker. Staying true to her words but with an updated version, it’s clear it has to be ‘fashion should feel no pain.’ That’s what we want for the future of fashion.
Sometimes there’s too much focus on the negative, especially when there’s so much great things happening. Yes, it’s important to educate people on the bad stuff but it’s also important to celebrate the good — such as all the new sustainable brands out there. We want to provide a source of positivity and excitement, encouraging our audience to invest in quality, conscious, and classic pieces. And, while most of us can’t afford designer prices all of the time (though the prices on the site vary greatly), we can all save up for more timeless investment pieces that you’ll wear for years and years, and will no doubt outlast a trendy fast fashion number. Of course, backed up by fair-made basics – a wardrobe staple.
Ultimately, I’d say I’m a realists, not an idealists. We know nobody wants to trash the environment or cause harm to others, all in the name of fashion. But, at the same time, most people are unwilling to completely overhaul their lifestyles. That’s why we want to make it easy to make the switch away from fast fashion, instead taking the time to invest in the right piece, whilst considering how many wears you’re going to get out of it. Think quality not quantity.
Nothing is 100% sustainable, but you can just try to do the best you can. And we’re here to help!