I was recently invited along to an event by BITCH Online, How to be an Eco Warrioress. The event was a eco business event aimed and social entrepeneurs and promised a number of speakers from ethical fashion, beauty and social entrepreneurship industries discussing the eco choices they make and giving their stories and expertise on how to successfully set up and run an eco business. I had never heard of BITCH Online before and was slightly concerned that the whole event would be a little unfriendly but was pleased to hear that bitch actually stands for ‘Bold, Intelligent and Totally In Control of herself’!
The event was very friendly and the hosts incredibly welcoming. We were greeted with a glass of wine which got the evening off to a good start and had the chance to chat with the other attendees before taking our seats to listen to the speakers, all hugely informative, inspirational and entertaining to listen to.
The speakers were:
Servane Mouazan, Managing Director founded Ogunte, A Social Innovations Development company in London and Rio to help female social innovators be more influential and better connected.
Seraphina Davis, Partner and head designer at Nancy Dee – affordable, designer fashion label since 2008 with emphasis on day-to-night jersey dresses in unique prints that translate easily from home to office to evening out.
Elena Corchero- Technology Artisan, Founder of Lost Values which holds the vision of innovating craft by melting it with technology and vice versa, to inspire a future where design is environmental and emotional yet smart and playful
Lucy Tammam – a Creative Director of The House of Tammam that is world renowned for its hand crafted couture evening and bridal designs, an expert in eco-couture wedding gowns based in Bloomsbury.
Inspiration and Challenges
I was particularly interested to hear Seraphina, as I really love Nancy Dee. She talked about the challenges that she had faced in finding suppliers and manufacturers and how there was no easy way and how she had used a combination of trial and error and networking. I loved her answer to why she choose to go down the ethical fashion route ”the question to those doing it ethically is why aren’t you doing it ethically”.
Lucy Tammam described how when she started out, starting her own label was the only option as back then the only options of places to work were unethical or un attractive. She also experienced issues with finding suppliers in India and communicating with them and how they didn’t seem to understand that “London Fashion Week would not wait for them”. She stressed how important it was to be “strong willed and motivated or you would just give up”.
Elena Corchero was frustrated with fashion in general and found following trends quite meaningless. She believes that “anything is possible and wanted to focus on the things that really mattered” As a designer she believes she has a huge responsibilty as someone will consume what you are designing and you can change the way that people interact and behave.
The Contradiction of Marketing and Sustainability
This is an interesting point that I thought was particularly relevant to fashion bloggers. How can you promote sustainability whilst encouraging people to buy new clothes? Lucy commented that you can do this by encouraging people to buy better things that they actually value. Seraphina agreed saying that you can “create pieces that you invest in, made from quality fabrics and that last a long time” she stated that she would “like to think that a women would buy a dress and still be wearing it in 10 years time”. Servane also highlighted how the life of a product can be extended by sharing, lending and buying second hand.
Marketing the Ethical Aspect
Seraphina explained how many customers of Nancy Dee don’t even realise that they are buying an ethical brand. She said ” we are pushing it little by little but we don’t want to preach because it is boring”
All in all it was a fantastic evening and the speakers made some really interesting points which are relevant to not only those setting up a fashion brand but those treating their fashion blog as a business with the aim of promoting ethical fashion. Unfortunately I had to dash off to catch my train home but would have loved to have stayed a bit longer and chatted to the many interesting people who attended.
Bitch Online will be running more interesting and informative events in the future. You can stay informed by signing up to their newsletter on the website www.bit.ch-online.co.uk or by following on Facebook or Twitter.
With warmest wishes
All Images courtesy of Bitch Online