Last Thursday 18 July, the EBD team celebrated its second year by having a panel talk and party at Mahiki. Roberta has always been adamant that being ethical and living sustainably doesn’t mean living a life without elegance and style – and on our birthday we really proved that theory correct! The room was filled with glamour, optimism, and hope for a better future.
Roberta Lee our founder wanted to say a few post-event words and special thank you…
“EBD has been a pursuit of pure passion, it’s been challenging at times, yet I remain optimistic and feel honored to have so many amazing people around me. I have so many people to thank, so I can’t mention them all – but I’d like to say a huge thank you to Steve Woody for believing in my vision and building the EBD prototype back in 2017. A big thank you to the interns who have all helped in different ways. Thanks to our Trusted Partners. A big thanks to our volunteers past and present. And a special mention to Saumen from London Organic PR who helped me find the venue for the party, and of course a big thank you to the fabulous Jenny Holloway who stepped in last minute to talk on our panel. And finally, thank you to all of our supporters, who believe in what we do, who attend our events and support our brands.”
Guests arrived dressed in their best, grabbed themselves a delicious cocktail, then enjoyed some time networking with others and soaking up the atmosphere. Roberta was keen to ensure everyone was personally welcomed and greeted with the usual EBD family hug.
The future of fashion was the focal point for the panel discussion which kicked off around 7.30pm. Roberta hosted the panel and also contributed as EBD’s founder, along with Jenny Holloway (Belles of London and CEO of Fashion Enter), and EBD’s trusted Partners Utami Giles and Steve Woody.
The panelists raised some really interesting points around government legislation, technology and how businesses can add more value without pushing consumers to constantly purchase new things.
The topics included innovative natural materials or fibres recycling, how a change of approach to shopping is needed, and the importance of ethical brands giving visibility to their stories, and how their products get made.
Utami Giles, talked about polyester; a synthetic fibre produced so far on a large scale that can be recycled. The government, for now, has not put in place laws to stop the production of this highly polluting material once it has reached landfill, but there are companies that have developed machines that can recycle these fibres, and put them back on the market in other forms, or even better, companies like Pinatex which has designed a new weaving process using innovative natural fibres such as pineapple.
Jenny Holloway, who has extensive experience in the fashion industry spoke beautifully about the consumer and fashion, changes in manufacturing, and treating employees fairly and ethically. She flagged the importance of buying better and offering solutions like, being part of the design process of your own clothes, making sure they fit well, (her label does bespoke fittings), and said “We all know what we like. Be proud, wear what you want to wear”.
The panel agreed that buying clothes from ethical brands might seem more expensive, especially when compared to buying from fast fashion brands, but that’s because the focus is always on the upfront cost, rather than the cost per wear. Roberta highlighted the need for brands to focus on the lifetime value of a customer rather than just looking to constantly sell new items, incorporating extra value such as return and repair services, upcycling and bespoke fittings
Another interesting point touched upon during the panel was the relevance of social media, Steve Woody, founder of Online Mastery, gave his thoughts on how independent ethical brands can ‘thrive with their tribes online’. As consumers are becoming more conscious, we want more transparency and we want to know the story behind the brand. When it comes to deciding on a product, we are more likely to buy from like-minded brands that share the same values as us and our vision for the future.
The panel all agreed that you can do still do good while making money, the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) is something that everyone needs to focus on. However, the main take away about the future of fashion was that we must simply ‘buy less and buy better’.
Before concluding the evening our founder Roberta Lee revealed the new website (phase 1). We’re very proud to show off a new sleek and chic aesthetic and simpler way for people to shop their values. Many members of the EBD Team worked tirelessly through the weekend to help migrate all the brand listings – a big shout out to Abbie & the amazing Andrea (who sadly couldn’t join us as at the party as she is based in Brussels) who really stepped up and helped Steve get the website live and ready for the party.
We are working our way through more edits and updates for the brand listings, so expect to see more improvements over the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled, as we’ve got more to show off soon.
Roberta also announced that the Ethical Brand Academy was open for a new round of applicants and that she was looking to refresh the Directory will more capsule worthy timeless brands that make beautiful things, made to last. If you’d like to be considered, leave us a message in the comments below and we’ll get back to you.
The EBD Team.