Aestethic London recently launched their first ever collection, the Ethereal range. Each item is designed with high longevity, non-toxicity, biodegradability and ethics in mind, with a lifetime repair policy also part of the deal. Founder Lucie Azari tells Citywealth’s April French Furnell all about her new collection and how we as consumers can embrace the slow fashion movement.
How long has Aestethic and the Ethereal Collection been in the works for?
I started to think about the brand around three years ago when I was at the beginning stages of my bachelor studies. I always gravitated towards running a company that can be built and grown to carry my deeper values and to help it to manifest these values within wider society. My motivations were further heightened after having a terrible experience working within the fashion and luxury industries. The active steps towards creating Aestethic started around a year ago and it all began with finding the right suppliers and manufacturers that shared our values; this also gave us direction with regards to the financial aspects of the brand. The idea for the Ethereal Collection initiated when searching for organic, plant-based fabrics and trims where we were inspired by the creation of undyed, pure and elegant pieces that can stand the test of time; overall, the development of the collection took about 6 months.
Where is the collection produced and how do you guarantee it meets your sustainable goals?
We partnered with an ethical, sustainable and slow British manufacturer, Apparel Tasker, who shares our values and are located just 30 minutes outside of London. They have a zero-waste policy and focus on producing only high-quality garments, in low quantities that are responsibly made to last. Sustainability is at the core of everything they do, from the energy they use for production to the processes they have in place for delivering the pieces to us; additionally, their business model is predicated upon providing higher wages and world-class working conditions for their employees.
Tell us about Lifetime Repair.
Every piece is designed and created in such way that they can be circulated responsibly in society as long as possible. This integrates with our overall brand ethos which is to help to develop a deeper appreciation for the things we own, and to help foster a culture of reusing and repair.
In order to ensure this, each Aestethic piece comes with our Lifetime Repair service. This involves the offer for unlimited number of repairs of the garment throughout its lifetime given that the piece is repairable in any way.
What are your views on the slow fashion movement?
I believe that slow fashion and conscious consumerism are the most beautiful and, simultaneously, crucial movements in the world right now. It is uplifting to see prominent individuals moving away from mindless consumption and becoming conscious, conscientious and knowledgeable when it comes to purchasing products. More than ever, people are guided by companies who align with their beliefs and values, and not by price or convenience. This is fundamentally a new, meaningful relationship between companies and consumers, and it is driving systemic change in the fashion industry and beyond. It is worth remembering that consumers create transformations just by the way they consume, by imposing their standards and values and thus creating demand. We should not underestimate how powerfully this can contribute to creating a better future, because without this demand, ethical and sustainable companies would never survive against the fierce market competition, and industries will remain anchored to their current, often unsustainable, practices. Each purchase is an opportunity to vote for the kind of world we desire to live in, and as such, one should support as much as possible, the companies which are taking sincere actions to improve and contribute to a healthier planet and humankind.
This movement is also changing people’s relationship with fashion and how they consume it, bypassing impulsive buying to embrace mindful purchasing decisions. And as oppose to an overabundance of clothes, people are investing on quality pieces that they will enjoy and care for years.
Finally, it must be said that sadly, as with any change in consumer behaviour, many corporations perceive this as just another business opportunity or a marketing tool to brighten their public image, so more than ever, total transparency, integrity, and clear communication are key.
Is sustainability achievable for all consumer budgets?
It depends on which perspective you adopt, as a brand focusing on the fairest price possible, we consider ourselves as affordable. The core value of slow fashion is buying less but better, so I believe that the mantra “quality over quantity” should be adopted when considering this question. I believe that instead of reconsidering our budget, we need to reconsider our buying habits, instead of impulsive purchasing of large number of cheap quality clothing, we should invest in our wardrobe by buying just a few pieces that we deeply appreciate and that will last for many years. Traditionally, garments were locally sourced and produced. People had a more minimalist lifestyle and bought meaningful quality clothing that they could wear and treasure for a long time; such traditions can be adopted to help us realise the values we are striving for.
I am fully aware that sustainable fashion has an elitist image as many brands justify their much higher prices based on their sustainable practices. Interestingly, we were also advised that since the pieces are locally made in England with certified organic fabrics and materials, we should be able to justify this pricing strategy. However, my goal for the brand was to be fair in relation to its pricing and not to justify the value of our clothes by their price tag but their embedded values and longevity instead.
What’s next for the brand?
Expanding and developing our Ethereal Collection in addition to introducing a wider range of sizes.
Working on the introduction of our hand-knitwear collection; plant-based, undyed, organic and made by local independent artisans in England.