Top five female ecopreneurs
Entrepreneurship in the green economy is becoming more crucial than ever – Sublime speaks to five inspiring women whose innovative ideas have taken the world by storm.
Alba Garcia & Anna Cañadell
Three years of monthly travels to Southeast Asia was more than enough to reveal the shocking reality of the local fashion industry, and this duo embarked on a journey for change, launching global sustainability management platform BCome.
They have more than 15 years of experience in the textile sector between them – Alba Garcia is a sustainable fashion expert with a portfolio spanning small brands to large groups like Inditex. Anna Cañadell, once part of the team that developed and launched the first company that Airbnb took over in Spain, brings the technological intel to their project. Empowering textile and apparel businesses to build responsible supply chains, BCome guarantees transparency and shares it with the customer by collecting social, environmental, and economic sustainability data across the entire value chain.
Alba and Anna’s goal has always been to create systemic change in the fashion industry. Their vision is to provide the knowledge and tools that the sector needs to make production systems more resilient, as well as promoting a more honest consumption model. BCome believes that it’s time to end the lack of transparency and responsibility and start creating a fashion industry in which profits for some don’t involve the sacrifice of others – one that works to improve the lives of people and the planet.
With more than a million traced, measured, and evaluated products on the market, BCome is a pioneer in the application of intelligent methodologies that enable brands to assess the impacts of the fashion industry. Among its clients are international brands like Ecoalf, Filippa K, and Axel Arigato.
Twenty-four-year-old Design Engineering graduate Ella Cope is the latest entrant to the sustainable fashion market. Growing up, she was always the first to reach for the necklaces in the dressing-up box – this translated into a love for vintage shopping and a dream to revolutionise our relationship with clothing, seeing garments as lasting companions rather than throw away items. And so she set up Della Yellow, filling a gap in the market for vintage designer jeans.
The idea is simple: customers can choose from a curated collection of reimagined vintage designer jeans or can send their favourite pair to Della Yellow for a makeover, both options creating a unique design statement. Every bespoke pair of Della Yellow jeans is sustainable, using rescued vintage fabrics. ‘We all have that one friend we admire, who has the skill and creativity to shop for unique things. They have a good eye and know their style; they always look fabulous. Della Yellow allows you to wear something nobody else will have, too. We offer high quality, stylish designs, giving you the confidence that you’ve chosen something chic,’ Ella says.
She adds, ‘I trained as an engineer, so I understand the importance of moving towards a circular economy, and how these processes can be incorporated into products and services that work for people. That said, I see Della Yellow designs as a form of art, be it the process of thoughtfully selecting eye-catching vintage fabrics or the cutting of flattering patterns to embellish them with. The result is a luxury experience and a unique piece for every customer, without compromising on sustainable values’.
The founder of this zero-waste dance and yoga wear brand hails from Estonia, and has worked in production, resource, and sustainability management in London for brands like Agent Provocateur, Boux Avenue, Kylie Minogue at Home, House of Fraser, Karl Lagerfeld and Vivobarefoot. Over time, Anneli felt increasingly uneasy with the inherently unsustainable and unethical value chains of the fashion industry.
‘Nüüd’ translates to ‘now’ in Estonian, because now is the best time – to be active and move more, but also to take action and address the environmental and social challenges that the fashion industry poses. Nuud activewear was born out of a desire to tackle some of the industry’s biggest issues. The brand has designed out waste, with all garments made from premium recycled fabrics, treats all stakeholders with respect, encourages diversity and empowers women. Aiming for complete circularity, nuud activewear utilises all production offcuts, offers free repairs, and redesigns worn garments into new products.
Their Italian fabric manufacturer is committed to sustainability, using renewable sources and dyeing technologies that reduce water and energy waste and have REACH and OEKO-TEX® certifications. The garments are then created in Estonia by a small manufacturer where fair wages are a priority and the environmental costs of shipping are kept to a minimum, with nuud activewear being based in London.
‘The environment and the future of our planet is very important, and I want people to be aware that luxury and sustainability aren’t two separate industries,’ Shrestha says. The multi-award winning eco designer has pioneered the concept of sustainable luxury since the launch of her eco-friendly Bridal Collection in 2011, when sustainable bridalwear was a rare word for mass media and average consumers.
Titled one of the the UK’s leading sustainable bridal designers, Shrestha has one of her designs preserved in Bath’s Fashion Museum as a sustainable piece of art. The luxury of her eco fabrics – ranging from milk fibres to up-cycled newspapers – exquisite designs and Nepalese craftsmanship have fuelled a positive change in the bridal world, making her Boutique a one-of-a-kind destination that brings sustainability, innovation, and social responsibility under the same roof.
Shrestha’s innovation has inspired women across the globe and attracted cult brides to her Fulham Boutique from all over the world, inspiring them to cultivate a sustainable lifestyle and making it London’s ‘Wedding Boutique of the Year 2020’. Her dedication for an ethical workforce and taking care of the environment made her stand out, representing a sustainable choice for brides through a business that leads by example. Shrestha’s zero waste philosophy has a strong influence for upcycling and recreating an eclectic mix of innovation and timeless design while staying true to her ethics and eco-friendly approach. Her work has been featured in leading international bridal magazines and media platforms. A London college of fashion Graduate, Shrestha’s creations have been worn by several celebrities including Victoria’s Secret supermodel Candice Swanepoel, American girl band Fifth Harmony, and Soprano’s Natalie Coyle.