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How To Make Your Business More Sustainable

For anyone starting or nurturing a new business, sustainability needs to be a key pillar. In this current climate emergency, all businesses need to have a sustainable strategy. But where do you start? Given the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluting industries in the world (it’s the second, after the oil industry), fashion designers are well placed to give advice on how to tackle the issue. Here, we quizzed five fashion designers to get their best tips for making sure your business does not negatively impact the planet.

How would you describe the Essen woman?
“The Essen woman is a real woman—she’s worldly, knowledgeable and sophisticated; she likes fashion but is not a slave to it. She has an appreciation for the finer details and is understated in her approach to style.”

What inspires you to design?
“My design philosophy has always been based around a respect for those key items in your wardrobe—meaningful essentials that stand the test of time. I’m inspired by women’s day-to-day realities. Busy lifestyles call for practical yet stylish shoes and, especially now, comfort is luxury. I believe that what a woman wears will have a direct impact on how she feels. Shoes carry us, add height, alter posture and bolster confidence. They transform a woman in a way that few other items of clothing can. My shoes are hardworking, reimagined classics; they need to be wearable and sophisticated, but never boring. I want women to feel confident and comfortable and not waste too much time thinking about what they’re wearing.”

What one piece of advice would you give for making your brand or business sustainable?
“The environmental impact of the fashion and textiles industry is one of the leading causes of climate change. As a designer it’s of course important to consider the longevity of a garment and the materials that you use, but in order to make a business truly sustainable, the design process also relates to creating better systems and thinking about each part of the supply chain in a holistic way. We are constantly working to make all areas of our business more sustainable. Our office runs on green energy; our packaging is made from recycled materials and soy-based inks, we ride or walk to work, don’t use plastic bottles and even our toilet paper is recycled. And lastly, transparency is key! Our industry is traditionally extremely competitive, but in order to become more sustainable and reduce our impact on the environment, it’s very important to share our processes, sources and makers so we create more demand for sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing.”