Handbag designer Anya Willique discusses the importance of ethical brands and sustainability with some top tips to help you shop more responsibly.
The word ‘ethical’ has become extremely important and a fixture in fashion recently.
With customers looking for quality over quantity more and more, it’s no wonder this change is having such a positive impact on the wardrobes of so many people.
Ethical brands are making space for their customers looking to merge ethical practices through clothing and their general lifestyles. It goes without saying that the increase in eco-brands is also helping to bring balance to the environmental scale.
One of my favourite brands is from Anne Lappe, which sums up the importance of eco-brands. She says “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”
Willique took this bold leap in 2016, when not many brands were approaching the ethical market.
Wanting to have an ethical footprint and influence the concept of fashion moving forward, in 2019 we worked alongside with other brands at the hugely successful, Eco-Luxe Showcase.
Consumers often want to participate and purchase from the sustainable fashion world but struggle to know how to – which is absolutely fine as we all have to start somewhere!
Here are a few tips to help you shop responsibly…
Slow Down Consumption
Slowing down our consumption when it comes to buying into fashion is extremely important. I’m a firm believer of taking on the concept of slow fashion and ditching the fast fashion purchasing! Ultimately, buying into a fast-fashion trend is terrible for our planet and won’t do your individual style any favours.
I’d suggest trying your hand at a 21-day fast from fast-fashion. This means not buying anything new for 21 days. After this, see exactly what you have in your wardrobe and accessories drawer that you really love. You’ll be surprised how many things you have that you forgotten about and will wear more often after you re-discover them!
Think Before You Buy
When you buy an item or a piece of clothing, try to consciously think about how it would have affected the environment when making that piece. Think about the people who have made it – do you think they have good enough working conditions and pay? If you’re unsure, I’d highly suggest researching where brands make their various collections and make an informed decision. Also make an educated guess on how long that item will last in your wardrobe or accessories draw.
Focus on Style Not Trends
Focusing on true style over trends is a great way to change your thought process when buying responsibly. Create a style that’s unique to you, using pieces that are timeless and also help the environment. Choosing style over trends will often reduce the amount of clothing that sits in landfills which is a huge issue at the moment. Consumers are certainly becoming more aware of this, but we still have a long way to go.
Long Lasting Investment
Environmentally friendly and conscious brands can be slightly more expensive; however, the pieces are guaranteed to last longer. Eco-friendly pieces take time and care to construct, ensuring that they won’t be a one-wear item. Think about investing in brands and items that you can pass along/down or treasure for a long time.
Caring for your clothes and accessories mindfully and in a conscious way, will ensure your pieces last much longer. Try not to wash them so regularly and where possible, use dust bags – these are a great way to make sure pieces don’t get damaged in your wardrobe.
Do Your Research
Doing a small amount of research into ethical brands before buying is also extremely important. Have a look to see if they are ethically manufactured and support their locals. Try not to just research the fabrics and where they are sourced. Try to find out if brands use factories that train and employ local residents in their community. Ensure your purchase will help others!
About the expert
Anya Willique is a self-taught, young, female designer who is both passionate about promoting millennial Bahamian talent and showcasing the quality and durability within her designs. The Willique collection is a bespoke luxury leather goods brand, that strives to provide classic, modern designs that reference Anya’s Caribbean heritage. Notwithstanding her love for sustainable and ethical practices and her extensive travel around the world. Willique creates beautiful handbags and accessories using the finest quality leathers and hardware with an emphasis on functionality, durability and longevity.