#anewageinspiration: What’s Your Legacy?

 

What’s Your Legacy has been one of my favourite youtube channels for while now, the layout, innovative video ideas and the way of spreading awareness about sustainability and ethics in a way that is far from preachy or intimidating, in fact, I find Madara treats her channel and the way she speaks about ethical fashion with a normality that it should be spoken with, like a ‘normal’ fashion blogger or Youtuber would discuss their or others wardrobes. It’s incredibly refreshing and inspiring to watch and that’s why you can probably guess I emailed her to ask if I could ask her to be part of my #agenewageinspiration project.

What’s Your Legacy:

Instagram: @whatsyourlegacy.co.uk
Twitter: @wyourlegacy
Youtube: What’s Your Legacy
Website: http://whatsyourlegacy.co.uk/

When did What’s Your Legacy start? What inspired you to develop an ethical website and YouTube channel?

I grew up in Latvia surrounded by nature so there has always been that respect towards environment. However, during my studies at London College of Fashion I decided to look into how fashion is produced. To be honest, we all know that there are many problems with how our clothes are made but when you really dig into that you kind of can’t go back. At least I couldn’t so then and there I decided to start shopping sustainably. However, when I googled words ‘sustainable fashion’ the clothing that I saw wasn’t necessary anything I would like to wear. After all I did study fashion for the reason that I love style and beautiful designs. Nevertheless, when I commit to something it is difficult to change my mind and I continued to research. After a while I started to find lots of cool independent brands that created clothes more sustainably. I knew if I had this problem of finding beautiful sustainable brands others might as well. So me and my co-founder Anna started What’s Your Legacy as a project to share these brands with other people and show that dressing more sustainably/ethically doesn’t mean to sacrifice on aesthetics. We knew that in order to show this cool new kind of sustainable fashion we had to go where people are at and create appealing original content around it. This obviously meant social media. I noticed that I would rarely consume written conte
nt online but I watched lots of video content on YouTube from short vlogs to long discussion panels so coming from photography background I thought myself to make videos. Basically, from analysing myself and others we try to make sustainable fashion accessible to wider audience. 

 

 

Are there any ethical brands in particular that inspire you to become a better ethical consumer?
When I talk to the founders of sustainable/ethical brands there is this notion that first and foremost they want to create beautiful clothing but they believe that sustainability and ethics should be the norm so that is why they are doing that. I truly believe that because of where the world is going there is no point of starting a brand that is not innovative in the area of sustainability and ethics because it might work for the short term but it won’t when it comes to long term. I believe that sustainability and ethics actually is an 
advantage to brands. It seems kind of straight forward. For example, if you are smarter about how you use your recourses it can be more financially beneficial. Especially when it comes to things like circular economy where the idea is to have higher performance materials and products that could be regenerated in the end of their lifecycle. In the future when raw materials will be more scarce, which means more expensive, whoever will have figured out how to make a new item from the old one will for sure be the winner. Or something like sharing economy where we rethink the whole concept of ownership and suddenly it is about making garments that last longer because that mean them being more financially viable. Sharing economy has already transformed many other industries with AirBnB and Uber and fashion industry could be the next. You can see that I am quite excited about the innovation within fashion industry. One of the companies that I recently discovered and found very intriguing was Modern Meadow that creates lab-grown leather. There are lots of problems with unsustainability and ethics of the leather industry and this could possibly be one of the solutions. Another innovation that I find exciting for the future is blockchain technology that would allow to have trustable and transparent supply chains. 

What would be your first piece of advice that you would give to someone who wants to start buying ethically?
I would say – do the best you can at the point you are at. It basically means don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Often when we discover something that is wrong in the world we want to change everything at once. That might get overwhelming because you realise that it is imp
ossible to be 100% ethical and sustainable so people give it up all together. We definitely wouldn’t want that so baby steps. Personally when I need to buy something new I look for sustainable alternative and do one thing at the time. I still wear some things from years ago that I bought from high-street and there is nothing wrong with that. See where your budget is at as well. Sustainable fashion is more expensive which is normal but it takes time for your mind to adjust to that. So start with smaller things like, for example, underwear, basic t-shirts etc. If you love second hand shopping that might be a cheaper option for you. Look for more independent brands and if you are ever confused if they are making their clothes sustainably/ethically drop an email to their customer service.

Do you think that 2018 will see a rise in ethical consumerism, if yes/no then why?
Of course, every year we see more awareness around this subject. I even believe that the fact the president of USA is denying climate change is raising the awareness and activism around it.This is because it has made people realise that no one will save the world in their place so they have to do it themselves. Just look at how Women’s Rights Movement has grown over the last year. Some while ago I read this brilliant book called ‘Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb that helped me to understand this subject. Also this is the first time in the history when we actually know what is the impact of our actions and in this global world people no more only care about what is happening close to them but they care about what is happening around the globe. I also believe that technology and innovation will lead the way for more ethical and sustainable consumerism. Instead of thinking how to guilt people to shop more ethically and sustainably the industry should think how we can make sustainable fashion the most convenient and desirable option. Just think of electric cars. For years people didn’t want to use electric cars because they were small and didn’t have a great performance until TESLA came around and made the coolest car ever (my humble opinion) that, by the way, is more environmentally friendly and I think this is how we should approach fashion. 
I feel like 2017 was eye opening for high-street stores trying to adopt more ‘sustainable’ practices (which have been met with a lot of skepticism, as well as greenwashing), do you think this will continue this year or do you think that the unethical practices of high street stores will continue?
I believe that seeing high-street retailers implementing sustainable practices (them being greenwashing or not) is a positive trend. This means they have recognised that their customer wants that and it would be beneficial for their business to make a move towards it. For real change to happen we have to have massive high-street retailers changing their practices. So even if we feel like sometimes it is all greenwashing we have to support them but keep them accountable at the same time. This means asking questions and asking for results. I believe that seeing sustainable fashion mentioned on high-street plants this idea in the minds of millions of customers that would never otherwise thought about it or never knew where to access it. The change within high-street is slow because of the scope of the businesses but, for example, seeing H&M launching something like ARKET which is their newest brand, that is more transparent with their production and supply chain, is a proof that change is happening. Furthermore, the retail is changing in general. As social media has given platform to so many independent 
brands we can see how that is affecting big retailers that are closing their doors one after another. The customer is becoming more interested in experiences and story of a brand and ethics and sustainability can be a major part of it. 

Are there any exciting plans or projects for this year and the future of What’s Your Legacy?
Lots to come. One thing that we are working to create is comprehensive and curated sustainable brand guide that would help people to discover brands for their price range and style preferences. So look out for that.
And finally, you’ve asked so many people before but what’s your legacy?
I ask this question to so many people but only recently someone asked it to me. With my life’s work I would love to show that you can create successful business that does good to the world. Often we have this misconception that business is bad and that even earning money is bad but I believe the opposite and I think that successful innovative businesses will bring a great positive change to our world and environment. I also want to show that women can be strong leaders. When we see most leading roles taken by men even if we think it doesn’t affect us it does subconsciously. I think women should strive for top leader jobs if that is what they want and I want to lead by example. Honestly, it should be diversity of all sorts b
ecause the world is diverse and we need all kinds of opinions and ideas to improve how we are doing things now. So big things in my mind! 🙂 

From reading the interview questions to writing this post and re-reading them, I keep thinking about what Madara has said, about the changing future of both fashion and sustainability as a whole, but also the way one can do good and also benefit from it, because I agree that there is a misconception of creating a business that does good in the world but also earning money from it. I also really want to read Antifragile because it sounds so insightful and I am always on the hunt to broaden my knowledge of topics that I’m perhaps not as informed as I would want to be in.

Her comment about showing how women can be strong leaders really touched a cord, as someone who inspires to work in the UN (or an organisation similar) one day, reading that answer really inspired me. It’s such a simple thing but from an online influencer who shares everyday about new brands that are paving the way to a better fashion industry; who posts videos about other empowering women who take a stand for what they believe in – Madara embodies the positive power that can be spread online. I hope, if you take anything from reading the interview, that you can be a strong leader, and I too hope that I can have a legacy as great as Madara’s.

Thank you so much Madara for doing the interview, as always leave any inspirational people, brands or magazines etc. that you would love me to interview on my blog 🙂 and of course show Madara some love on What’s Your Legacy! 

lots of love, eleanor xx 

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