We speak to the co-founder of Stories Behind Things about how we can all take steps towards a more sustainable future.
Sustainable fashion is hugely important to us and we’re always on the lookout for exciting entrepreneurs in the industry who are helping the movement. As soon as we heard about ‘Stories Behind Things,’ we needed to know more. Founded by best friends Jemma Finch and Ella Grace Denton, Stories Behind Things “simplify, excite and empower individuals to live consciously.” The idea came from their love of hunting for vintage clothes and the satisfaction in knowing that these unique pieces have a past life; a story.
Jemma studied Fashion Marketing at the University of Leeds then went onto work for MatchesFashion.com for two years. In a pub in London, the two friends realised they both had the same frustrations and worries with the fashion industry, and envisioned something fresh and forward-thinking. Their ideas aligned and together they launched Stories Behind Things; a platform combining storytelling with sustainability. Now, they boast 18k followers on Instagram where Ella and Jemma share fashion, beauty and accessory ‘edits’, promote events, upcycling workshops and London-based clothes swaps. With Ella’s background in social media and Jemma’s fashion degree, it was a perfect match to bring this good cause to life.
A sustainable product ''is an item or service that minimises its impact on the environment at each phase of its life cycle,'' according to the NSW Government Environment and Heritage. As waste piles up on our planet, consumers must think twice before they make a purchase. This means investing in products that will last longer (avoiding needless throwaways) and choosing companies that mirror your own values, from recycling to human rights. Thankfully, a whopping 73% of millennial consumers declare they are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand, according to Forbes.
Thanks to the ‘Attenborough effect,’ the ultimate nemesis amongst the younger generations is plastic. The shocking images of bottles and bags clogging up our oceans and shorelines have helped build awareness around this issue. Many established brands are now adapting in an attempt to end this modern problem, including us. The Timberland's Second Chance Program means your well-worn pair can be dropped off in collection bins and sent to charity. And by 2020 we hope to use 100% recycled, organic or renewable (ROR) content in our collections.
Purchasing more consciously has huge benefits, from boosting positivity to supporting local communities, but could we resist the temptation of buying new products entirely? Green fashion ambassadors like Jemma are urging people to ‘upcycle’ rather than continually stuff new items into their bursting wardrobes. Stories Behind Things host workshops where they teach consumers how to revamp pieces they already own, from bleaching to lacing. Jemma makes sure her upcycling tricks work for everyone, regardless of the time or space available at home. To produce enough cotton for one pair of jeans, many gallons of water are needed; one of the reasons why Jemma is asking us all to reconsider our next shopping splurge.
Beyond bedrooms, exciting designers are also pioneering upcycle fashion. Last year, British designer Christopher Raeburn deconstructed and remade iconic Timberland garments to create a new capsule collection, using recycled polyester, organic cotton and ethically sourced materials. The collaboration proved that you don’t need to rely on the new for a fresh look.
Jemma Finch: “The principle for conscious consumption is simple: make informed, considered decisions about what you buy”
Small steps you can take to become a more conscious consumer:
- Wash clothes at cooler temperatures
- Rework clothes in your wardrobe i.e. ‘upcycle’
- Swap clothes with friends or head to Clothes Switch events
- Regularly clear out your wardrobe and donate to charity shops
- Remember to drop off your old Timberlands in our collection bins where they will be recycled.
- Purchase quality and durable garments
Whether it’s for the planet or personal values, it’s vital we collectively take steps towards a more sustainable future by thinking twice about every single purchase. Making conscious buying decisions doesn’t mean avoiding retail entirely - we can still treat ourselves and shouldn’t feel guilty in doing so. The most important factor is considering where every single penny is really going. Buy less, choose well.