Sublime: What inspired you to create an ethical streetwear brand?
Emy Venturini: I wanted to create and spread positive messages that uplift and empower people to feel more confident in who they are. Ipsilon believes that as we express our gratitude and love to each other, we change the world around us.
I’ve been a practising Buddhist (Soka Gakkai) since I was 18, and I love fashion, so I decided to combine the two and start my own business by creating apparel that would spread a positive message to everyone who wears it. I also want my products to respect the environment, and people: the fabrics I use are 100% organic cotton (GOTS certified) and ECONYL. So my inspiration was my religion, first of all. Its philosophy has always taught me to believe in the deep value of every human being, in respect and in spreading joy around the world!
In 2013 I took a life coaching course to deepen my appreciation of the importance of gratitude and love. I thought, why not try out this power of infinite love and gratitude in my own life?
S: How did you go about setting up IpsilonParis, and what problems did you run into at the beginning, if any?
EV: At first, my problem was finding the right supplier. It’s not easy to source ethical fabric in Italy.
S: How do you select the materials for your garments?
EV: I look for certification with each textile I use. I’ve chosen GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard certification for the organic cotton, and ECONYL, which is nylon that has been regenerated from waste material.
S: What’s behind the messages on your T-shirts?
EV: When they buy from Ipsilon, people are supporting three organisations: UNICEF, WWF and ICAN. I chose these three organisations because first, I think it’s important to help children around the world to have food, clothes and education (UNICEF – the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). Second, it matters to me also that we respect animals, so I chose WWF (the World Wildlife Fund). To protect human beings and uphold human rights, I chose ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons).
S: Do you have a story you can tell us about the impact of the IpsilonParis messages?
EV: Ipsilon is 100% sustainable. Using sustainable fabrics, and the message ‘Infinitive Love and Gratitude’, is highly meaningful for me: it expresses and teaches love and respect for other people – hence the hashtag #thisTEEcanCHANGEyourLIFE.
Many people who have bought an Ipsilon tee feel the positive message, and write to me saying that when they wear the tee, other people smile as they read the uplifting quote. We need to bring change, and this is a beginning.
S: If we had £100 to spend, what would you recommend we buy from your shop?
EV: One of the positive tees, of course!
S: Name one of your favourite products from the IpsilonParis shop, and why you love it.
EV: The iconic t-shirt: ‘Infinite Love and Gratitude’ with the embroidered red star. It’s the first tee I designed. I also love the Starry Tee in the #starry capsule collection. I think you can see how much I love stars!
S: Do you see ethical retail gaining more of a share in the market?
EV: Over the last decade, fast fashion has been the driving force behind some of the high street’s most successful brands, with clothes designed to be made and sold cheaply and worn for a short time. Within this system, clothes are quickly being used, then replaced. I don’t like this manufacturing system. There is no ‘story’ behind the clothes, no respect for the people who’ve created them. The goal is all about money. We need to use the fashion world to feel better as human beings and towards the environment. We can create cool sustainable brands, cooler than fast fashion because we have a deep mission! Many big brands have created capsule collections dedicated to sustainable fashion. I believe the fashion world is changing.
S: What are your plans for the future?
EV: I want to continue to grow Ipsilon as a global brand; to raise awareness. To find new sustainable fabrics for the next collections. I really want to pass the message on to as many people as possible. I would love all people to feel the freedom to be happy, grateful and to love themselves and others.
S: Finally, what’s your favourite hashtag?