Within the world of fashion, the only constant is change. As cultures, technologies, and perspectives shift, so too do trends and how they are produced. For each exciting transformation, there is often a visionary eager to share their distinct creative lens with the industry.
These entrepreneurs of design and style all began with a single spark of inspiration or a change they wanted to see within fashion. Together, they are showing others how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change.
By examining and breaking down how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change, the chance for those sparks to spread into a flame burning with new positive innovations can drastically increase.
So here are the stories of just a few remarkable individuals taking risks and seeking to develop solutions to the biggest problems affecting fashion today to show you how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change.
Cutting-Edge Fashion Entrepreneurs
1. Louise Ulukaya
Founder of sustainable clothing brand Mon Coeur, Louise Ulukaya, has directed her company’s focus towards a group she felt didn’t have many eco-friendly options: children.
In fact, Louise decided to establish her business after starting her own family and wanting kids to have access to clothing that could be both fashionable and environmentally-conscious.
Currently offering garments for children ranging from 3 months to 8 years old and with products now being sold all around the world, Mon Coeur was able to do just that.
To ensure the sustainability of her products, Louise only utilizes fabric.
In addition to how the clothing is crafted, everything is manufactured from a facility in Portugal with fair labor conditions for all workers.
Out of all the sales the brand makes, 1% of the profits are pledged to 1% For The Planet, where they are allocated towards tree planting and combating climate change.
Relocating funds to help rewrite the wrongs caused by deforestation shows how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change.
If you want to learn more about the brand and Louise’s mission, make sure to register for the 9th Edition of the Worldwide Talks, where she will be part of a panel!
2. Gihan Amarasiriwardena
A Chemical Engineering graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gihan Amarasiriwardena had an unwavering curiosity for seeing how things mixed.
Among the largest of his interests was the intersection of workwear and athletic clothing.
This journey has since led him to become the President and co-founder of the Ministry of Supply, a company that follows the motto, “Comfortable clothing unlocked by science.”
In the wake of COVID-19 and the strengthening of remote work, designing garments that allow for professionalism to be maintained without the stiffness of traditional office wear was crucial.
At the center of technology and fashion, Gihan implemented everything from Phase Change Materials NASA devised to control astronauts’ temperature to engineered warp-knit stretch fabric into his pieces.
These calculated modifications, in pairing with the newly emerging technique of moisture-wicking, resulted in the release of a fully machine-washable clothing line prepared for users to work from anywhere.
Showing empathy through fashion is also how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change.
3. Áwet Woldegebriel
The entry of Áwet Woldegebriel into the clothing industry was directly influenced by the life story of his father.
A tailor by trade, Goitom Woldegebriel moved and lived between the war-struck countries of Eritrea and Ethiopia over a period of 30 years.
After ultimately being forced out of his home country in 1998, Áwet found asylum in the United States in 2000, where his dreams to pursue fashion originated.
Holding onto his father’s earnest approach to craftsmanship and advice to seek “people with greatness in their hands,” Áwet was equipped with all the tools to start his own business.
When the pandemic began to affect the well-being and livelihoods of those in his community, Áwet saw that misfortune as a call to action.
He launched Áwet New York in 2020 with the objective of working and collaborating locally with garment workers who were struggling to do business in the midst of COVID-19.
Since then, the brand has put out seasonal collections of gender-neutral streetwear imbued with the colors and emotions of his Eritrean and Ethiopian upbringing.
With each piece he sells, Áwet hopes the wearer feels the power of connecting with one’s community.
Connecting communities through fashion is another way to see how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change.
4. Andréa Van Der Meel
Holding strong environmentalist beliefs, Andréa Van Der Meel was driven by the goal of presenting consumers with an accessible way of seeing the impact companies they shop from have on our planet.
In acknowledgment and shock of how wasteful in emissions and production fast fashion could be, she knew clothing businesses would be the perfect place to start.
Collaborating with co-founder John Holt, Andréa developed All Things Considered (ALLTC), a platform where consumers can search for any company they consider supporting and access information on their sustainability efforts.
Additionally, users of ALLTC can actively use their voices to vote on whether or not they think fashion brands should be improving their direction toward helping the environment.
Although writers currently input the descriptions of businesses listed on ALLTC, Andréa aims to have the website operate through the use of artificial intelligence in the near future.
5. Matthew Scanlan & Diederik Rijsemus
Discontent with working on Wall Street, Matthew Scanlan chose instead to travel in search of work he felt was meaningful.
When he reached Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Matthew met with the local herding communities and knew he had found what he was looking for.
During his stay there, Matthew and his close friend Diederik Rijsemus founded NAADAM, a sustainable fashion company creating luxury cashmere clothing.
In partnership with Mongolian goat herders, Matthew and Diederik were able to cut the expensive middlemen out of the cashmere trade.
This allowed both herders to make more for their work and NAADAM to sell their garments for less. The strategy is yet another example of how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change.
How fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change is part of the Future of Fashion
As these stories show, there is no one right way to start a business or create a tool for the world of fashion. However, it’s possible to see how fashion entrepreneurs can inspire change, and there was a common thread among these entrepreneurs: passion for positive change.
By supporting fashion entrepreneurs, whether by exploring their journey or directly purchasing their products, consumers, too, have the power to shift the tides of the fashion industry toward a brighter and more sustainable future.
*written by Sam Fleming
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