Our latest ethical brand we love is One Memoir, a sustainable fashion company that was co-founded by two graduates with a real passion for fashion.
Justus and Shelly revive pre-loved women’s jackets and are on a mission to tell the story of emerging designers. Their motto is “where opportunity meets creativity” and they’re driven by a desire to help people live out their love of fashion in an ethical way.
They’ve been sharing their insights on sustainable fashion and their plans for growing their business:
Why do you think sustainable fashion is important?
Justus: I remember it well, it feels just like yesterday, last year in November 2015, there was a lot of press coverage concerned with the global footprint of fast fashion.
At the time the Fashion Revolution movement highlighted the unfortunate accidents in fast fashion sweatshops and I was shocked to find out that our fast fashion is disabling young talented people to live their passion for fashion in many developing countries.
The short lifecycle of fast fashion based on poor working conditions produces a large amount of waste. This waste is exported into developing countries, where it locks out local garment industries and the dreams of young people who are seeking a career in the creative fashion industry.
Apart from the material clothing waste, we all have our favorite items which get discarded, too. Looking into our wardrobe is like a photo album, each piece reminds us of a moment in our past. Not only do we give away those memories when we throw away the clothes but finding a new replacement piece can be a struggle.
We believe that we all can make a difference, and most importantly that it should not be difficult or a compromise.
We want people to value their clothes more and slow down their fashion consumption for the benefit of the environment and the people and this is why we founded One Memoir, because the pillars of sustainable fashion the environment and the people are most important to us.
Who is One Memoir and what are you doing?
Justus: One Memoir is founded by Shelly and myself, two graduates from the University of Edinburgh Business School.
In 2015, Shelly and I met at the University of Edinburgh, Business School for a M.Sc. degree. We were both from very different backgrounds, with Shelly being an Attorney in Trinidad and Tobago and myself coming from a Business and Finance background.
However, we both shared a passion for sustainability and decided to start a sustainable fashion brand which seeks to make our world more sustainable and ultimately a better place.
One Memoir is a circular fashion start up which prides itself on reducing textile waste & creating sustainable design opportunities for emerging designers.
We save preloved fashion by upcycling these pieces into exclusive one of a kind garments. Overall, we offer a more sophisticated fashion experience by marrying exclusive one of a kind fashion with sustainable business principles.
Co-Founders of One Memoir (Shelly and Justus)
Tell us about ‘Revybe – The Memoir’
Shelly: Our first collection ‘Revybe – The Memoir’ consisted of 15 women’s jackets upcycled from four designers from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago.
According to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, Trinidad and Tobago is the second largest producer of carbon emissions per capita due to it’s ineffective waste disposal systems.
Being a native of this island coupled with this alarming statistic, it gave us tremendous impetus to work with designers from the island.
We wanted to raise their awareness of sustainable fashion and upcycling with our brand and ultimately inform the island that upcycling can be an alternative fashion option.
We worked closely with a fashion organisation called Fashion Focus that connected us with four talented designers, Lisa See Tai, Delia Alleyne, Charu Lochan Dass and Nwannia Sorzano.
Our aim with this collection was to show that sustainable fashion does not have to be a compromise on aesthetic appeal.
The collection reflects our dedication to make fashion more exclusive, sustainable and transparent. The collection is exclusive because each item we upcycle is only available once and throughout production we share videos of the process with the public. Finally, we are a brand that shows who made your clothes!
In terms of the name of the collection it was inspired by the word revive; giving new life to these garments and making the consumer feel great when they wear one of our pieces.
We also wanted to capture our international team, and named each jacket after its style inspiration from cities around the world.
Overall we are offering a unique fashion experience – a sustainable alternative where you can get to meet and interact with our designers and empower them to create a truly one of a kind fashion item which makes a difference to our environment.
‘Revybe – The Memoir’ collection.
What are your plans for the future?
Justus: Currently, One Memoir is self funded but we are exploring our funding options since our first collection has gotten great feedback.
We’d love for One Memoir to commercially grow each year and we have just started the planning for our second collection with Scottish designers for 2017.
Although we are a team of two people our pace has been steady and we want our sustainable community to grow with us.
We’d like to secure more collaborations with creatives and brands that share our ethos and we look forward to welcoming fast fashion consumers to upcycling as well.
We are convinced that offering a sustainable alternative can be a viable alternative for us all and so we aim to disrupt the current wasteful and non transparent practices we see in the industry.
We hope to be the leader in upcycled fashion and the brand consumers turn to when they want to make an ethical fashion purchase.
Justus and Shelly have big plans to shake up the ethical fashion world and make upcycling more mainstream. We’re looking forward to following their journey!
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