For the latest ‘brands we love’ interview we’re really pleased to welcome Andrew and Becca, co-founders of NU BLVCK, to the Lotus Blog.
Andrew and Becca have teamed up to tackle the world of fashion after bonding over their mutual disgust at the negative impact the fashion industry has on people working in the industry and the planet.
NU BLVCK is a new high-end fashion e-commerce label which is re-defining the way we buy clothes. Becca and Andrew are here to tell us more about their big plans to disrupt one of the world’s biggest industries.
What first got you interested in ethical fashion?
B. In 2007, I travelled to Kolkata, India to meet family who we’d lost contact with. I fell in love with the place and I went back several times to visit my family and then started to think about how I could sell the beautiful products that were on offer there, most of which were traditionally handmade by artisan craftspeople.
With the global machine that is ‘fast fashion’ the skills of these artisan craftspeople are being forgotten.
A good chunk of the fashion industry is about how fast, cheap and ‘disposable’ clothes can be now…often to the detriment of third world workforces that are underpaid and overworked.
This isn’t just the case in India, it’s a global trend.
This doesn’t sit right with Andrew and I. We believe that artists, designers and craftspeople bring so much to our lives and they shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Our model brings the makers back to the forefront, celebrating handmade techniques, great design, high quality materials and importantly a fair share of margin for all in the supply chain.
We’re creating beautiful products with a clear values driven business model, it’s a no brainer really!
We fundamentally believe we can create a global brand driven by these key values.
Tell me a bit about what you do…
A. We connect emerging fashion designers with artisans and makers from around the world. Our curated collections are designed exclusively for NU BLVCK.
We only produce in limited edition small batch runs once customers have ordered their NU BLVCK accessories. Doing so allows us to create truly unique collections, made to order and driven by our customer’s needs.
This direct to consumer model cuts out unnecessary middle men in the supply chain and allows for a fairer share of margin across the board. It also massively reduces waste in the supply chain which makes for a happy planet too!
Our pieces may take longer to be delivered than the usual high street brands, but we believe that our customers have the patience to wait a little longer for their exclusively designed, high quality, ethically produced piece.
In short, we’re creating beautiful, premium capsule collections of female fashion accessories through collaborating with amazing designers, artisans and makers from around the world.
Why is it so important to know who made your clothes and the story behind your garments?
B. One of our key values is transparency, particularly in our supply chain.
All beautiful things don’t come about without a story. A story of the life and inspirations of the designer and the maker, the materials they use and even the environment in which they work.
Too often this is ignored by the larger brands, with no recognition of the people who have made their products. Central to our business is celebrating those people, telling their stories.
Each NU BLVCK piece has its very own story and customers experience that from the moment they land on our website.
For example, a bag could be designed in Tokyo, and made in the foothills of the high Himalayas… who doesn’t want to hear that story?
Why does the mainstream fashion industry need to change?
A. Fast fashion changed the way we buy clothes, but to the detriment of millions of people all over the world and also to the detriment of our planet itself.
The industry needs to change because it simply cannot sustain this continual abuse of people and the planet.
We appreciate that people communicate who they are through what they wear, and we love that, we don’t want that to stop!
So we’ve set ourselves the task of shaking up the conventional model in the industry and creating beautiful pieces that have a positive impact, that celebrate people from all over the world and use the most sustainable materials to do so.
People are slowly becoming more aware of the negative impacts of the industry and there’s a wind of change coming. NU BLVCK is a global brand with global ambitions in leading that change!
How do you think the fashion world can become more ethical?
A. The industry can become more ethical by reassessing the status quo. The current model ignores the most important thing in our world – the people.
It’s currently driven by numbers, profit margins and volume. There is no face behind it all, no thought to the people who design or make these amazing things we wear! We’re are trying to change this.
We believe that the only people who are going to change this industry are the consumers. Market forces will dictate change before a decision is made in a board room of one of the larger brands, therefore consumers need an option to express their desires by purchasing ethically.
NU BLVCK are offering that alternative whilst maintaining a premium, fashion forward product.
What’s your plans for the future?
B. Our first collection launches on 2nd August. It’ll be available to pre-order as part of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
We hope people will get on board with our dream and we raise enough money to fund not only the first collection, but our e-commerce platform which will allow us to connect fashion designers and artisans from all over the world.
We’ll be launching a further collection before the Christmas this year and have many planned for next year. As our community of designers and artisan makers grows, as will our collections!
Long term, we want to create a global brand in NU BLVCK, a brand that stands for those stories of the artisans and one that people buy because they believe in our values.
The NU BLVCK launch event is part of the Merchant City Festival and is in partnership with up-and-coming drinks brand Isle of Harris Distillers and pop-up food brand Section 33. Tickets are available to buy here. http://www.merchantcityfestival.com/Pages/Event-Info.aspx?k=ae058977-04de-4263-802a-a62a00cf4c9b
You can find out more about NU BLVCK and their Kickstarter campaign here. nublvck.com.
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