10 Questions For Sustainable Store London
All Images: Sustainable Store London
If you want to find unique, ethical treasures, then you should know about Sustainable Store London. We asked founder Isabella Broden 10 Questions about sustainable style and why pop ups have the personal touch that e-commerce lacks.
Whilst sustainable fashion isn’t always a niche you can find in your local shop, sustainable pop ups have become a great way for customers to explore the theme. In London, The Sustainable Store London is a regular pop up, offering fashion, accessories and lifestyle products. Created by Isabella Broden, the shop brings together sustainable and ethical brands from around the world. Isabella herself is no stranger to fashion, she also stocks her own brand Oramai there. The store is always a beautiful mixture of colours and crafts, sights and sounds. Isabella believes it’s important to create an immersive customer experience. In her mind, pop up’s are the perfect way to tell stories, in a way that digital commerce simply can’t compete. We chatted to the founder to find out more about what inspires her and why she enjoys supporting up and coming brands.
The Vendeur: Can you tell us about your background before starting Sustainable Store London?
Isabella Broden: I was born to Swedish parents in Switzerland and discovered my love of fashion and design at a young age. I pursued these passions throughout my studies in two of the world’s most creative capitals, Florence and Paris. Having studied Fashion Business at Polimoda in Florence, Fashion & Apparel Design at the International Fashion Academy in Paris, and finally, Graphic Design at the prestigious Accademia Italiana; I embarked on a career in the fashion industry. I have worked at international brands such as L’Officiel, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Graff Diamonds and Ralph & Russo.
As an avid traveller and speaker of six languages, I soon found myself exploring parts of the world that were living with the negative effects of consumerism and climate change. It made me feel an incredible responsibility to join in the fight for change. This lead to me conceiving my own sustainably focused fashion brand, Oramai.
TV: What led you to start Sustainable Store London?
IB: After launching Oramai, I took part in various Pop Ups, many of them were very uninteresting and just about selling product. I felt there was more of a concept behind this. I wanted to inspire people and teach them how we can change our behaviours by inviting sustainable advocates, speakers and well-being mentors to these events. Soon I discovered there were many brands out there trying to become more sustainable. I felt the need to guide and support them and create a place where we could all exchange ideas and help each other. This was the beginning of Sustainable Store London.
TV: What attributes do you look for in brands when curating the edit for each Sustainable Store London Pop Up?
IB: Sustainability within fashion is a very loose concept that many brands today are using as a green washing marketing technique. However, for me I like to get real and believe everyone needs to decide what sustainability means to them. For me it is a product made with natural materials, produced in the most environmentally friendly way, and with small production runs focusing on craftsmanship.
TV: Do you find yourself affected by seasons or trends while buying?
IB: No, and it is quite funny because I sell summer clothing in the winter and have many confused clients coming into the store. However I know there is always summer somewhere and the same goes for winter. I tend to have more wool in the shop in the colder months. However we stock cashmere throughout the season and the same for linen clothing as both aare temperature regulating and can be worn all year.
TV: You favour colour and pattern where some people believe a more minimal style is a better way to be sustainable, do you agree?
IB: No I’m the opposite! I agree that a sustainable wardrobe is built of key pieces that you can wear with many different combinations. However they shouldn’t be too extravagant because of this but why keep it boring. I love craftsmanship, wearing something detailed that you know someone has embroidered for hours is just fabulous!
TV: What advice would you give start up fashion and accessories brands looking to work with stores such as your own?
IB: Keep it real. Don’t come to me and tell me that you are sustainable because I produce only 2 things even though it’s made of polyester. I am happy guiding brands that want to embrace sustainable practices and I do so with many that reach out to me. My main advice would be firstly, work with natural materials and study where they come from. Learn how they are grown, ask whether they are organic? Is there any waste created etc. Secondly look at production. Where could I make this so it doesn’t have to travel the world. Keep your carbon footprint in mind along your entire supply chain. Can I make it locally to where I am based? What are the smallest quantities I can make so I ensure no overproduction? Then come to me and we can talk about the rest.
TV: How do pop ups help you tell brand stories in a way that digital doesn’t?
IB: For me it’s all about IRL (in real life). Yes we sell online but it’s just not the same. Especially with my brands as they are often only available in one size and imagery online doesn’t show off the quality of the garments in my opinion. You need to come to the store, feel the pieces and try them on.
TV: In 2019 it felt that sustainable fashion had found it’s groove in pop ups, 2020 was very different. How has Sustainable Store London grown or changed since it began?
IB: I think 2020 was quite different for all of us! I started my store and have experienced three lockdowns in that time. It’s been quite an interesting ride. However, I think that sustainable fashion is the only way forward and I have seen an increase in interest in my store during 2020. We’ve met even more clients that want to support small independent brands. They want to buy less but better, rather than going to the well known cheaper shops. That is very positive indeed.
TV: Which brands have you really excited for 2021?
IB: Valle and Vik is designed by Silje Vallevik who makes the most stunning prints. The silk they use is the most comfortable and is OEKO-TEX certified. ReVive’s founder finds vintage pieces all around the world. She revives them with hand embroidery that she does herself. Each piece is stunning and totally unique.
TV: What are your plans for SSL going forwards in such uncertain times?
IB: At the moment I have gone into “hibernation mode”. I hope that after this lockdown, in the springtime, things will change. Hopefully we can open our doors again soon and continue to host our inspiring talks and events.
Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.
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