Coming Full Circle with Erika Lau & Tiffanie Darke

 With the thrilling launch of our vibrant capsule collection, we've reached an incredible milestone in design and innovation! To commemorate this special occasion, we gathered together our cherished friends who are also inspiring women, for a day filled with celebration and the sharing of incredible stories about remarkable full-circle moments. It's a time of joy, connection, and inspiration!

Erika Lau

Erika Lau, Eco Lens Extraordinaire, is an environmental photojournalist with a profound commitment to the intersection of human activities and the natural world. With a background in ecology and conservation, Erika employs an interdisciplinary approach to address complex socio-ecological issues, emphasising community engagement and empowerment. Her powerful storytelling through photography has garnered global recognition, shedding light on the environmental challenges we face.

Erika in our Pampas Jacket

Q1: What does coming ‘full circle’ mean to you in the fashion industry?

To me, "coming full circle" signifies the embrace of a circular economy model within the fashion industry. It entails ensuring that every raw material introduced into the fashion industry remains part of it for as long as possible. This journey might begin with the cultivation of a cotton plant, followed by its transformation into fabric, which is then meticulously crafted into a garment meant to be worn, reused, and cherished.

In contrast to a linear economy where discarded clothing items meet their unfortunate end in landfills, a circular economy offers an entirely different fate. Here, these garments have the potential to be disassembled and reconstructed into new wearable creations or repurposed for non-fashion purposes. The essence of "coming full circle" in fashion embodies a sustainable and regenerative approach that minimises waste while maximising the lifespan and utility of fashion items.

Q2: What does coming ‘full circle’ mean to you in the way that you live your life? 

When I was 9, I picked up my first camera, and it completely changed how I approached the world. Despite my desire to explore this passion, my parents, being typical Asian parents, encouraged me to choose a more traditional career. Consequently, I completed my bachelor's and master's degrees in ecology and conservation and spent several years in research. However, a creative calling always lingered within me.

Recently, I took a leap of faith and applied to a second master's program in photojournalism and documentary photography, which I was fortunate to be accepted into. My aspiration is to merge my knowledge of conservation biology with my photography. Now, I feel like I've come "full circle," where all my past experiences have converged to shape my present. In short, what I’ve learned is that when you’re navigating through life's uncertainties, it's crucial to trust that it will eventually make sense in the end.

Q3: Why are you passionate about transforming the fashion industry?

My passion for transforming the fashion industry is rooted in the alarming fact that it stands as the second most polluting industry worldwide, after the oil and gas sector. What's striking is that each one of us contributes to its environmental impact, regardless of our personal circumstances. As an environmental activist and ecologist, I'm committed to minimising my carbon footprint and perpetually seeking sustainable and responsible living practices.

Furthermore, the fashion industry carries a dark history of exploiting factory workers and subjecting children to labour abuses. From a humanitarian and ethical standpoint, it's imperative to champion social consciousness within the fashion industry and advocate for transparency. My passion for transforming this industry emanates from a desire to tackle both its environmental impact and its ethical shortcomings, making it more sustainable and socially responsible for the benefit of our planet and its people.

Tiffanie Darke 

Tiffanie Darke, renowned for her prolific career in fashion journalism, is a mouthpiece for sustainability advocacy. She co-founded Agora Ibiza, a sustainable fashion boutique within the eco-friendly resort Six Senses, and is driving meaningful change within the industry. With a background in magazine editing, her journey now includes inspiring storytelling through her substack newsletter, "It's Not Sustainable," and an upcoming book on building sustainable wardrobes. She is a powerful force for positive transformation in the fashion world. 

Tiffanie in our Aires Top  

Q1: What does coming ‘full circle’  mean to you in the fashion industry?

It’s about understanding the true inherent value of each piece of clothing we own, and then using that value relationship to prolong our wear and inform how we might dispose of it. Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl talks about our wardrobes as 'Narnias' - that there is a whole world of life behind each piece we have, which mostly we have no idea about. From the people that made it to the materials it is made from, the colour it is dyed and so on. Remember: loved clothes last longer!

Q2: What does coming ‘full circle’  mean to you in the way that you live your life?

I recently went on a regenerative leadership course where the seasonal cycles of spring/summer/autumn/winter were introduced as ways to think about lives - and our work lives too. The point was made that we need to go through winter to reach spring, that nature teaches us that periods of hibernation and deprivation are necessary for true regeneration.

Q3: Why are you passionate about transforming the fashion industry?

I want people to buy less, but to buy better. To really savour those moments when we choose something new, to consider vintage and second hand, repair and alteration. I started the Rule of 5 campaign this year, which follows the climate advice that we can only really afford to buy 5 new things a year. Because is all our planet can afford. Even if you can't quite manage 5, its such a useful number to have in mind next time you find yourself at the checkout...

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