What do you get when you mix two no-nonsense-women-on-a-mission together? You get Maria and Christina; a potent combination of fashion voices and experiences, from sustainability, luxury sales to scaling up fashion startups. So herewith, meet Maria, the woman after our own heart who is championing textile-waste-busting fashion as she joins The R Collective family to supercharge our UK expansion. Let’s hear it from the women themselves…
Maria, it’s exciting to have you onboard with The R Collective! How and why did you and Christina start working together?
Christina and I met at an “Inspirational Women’s Dinner”, a unique professional women’s network event where leading women - from finance, fashion, arts, health to all other professional walks of life - meet to rub shoulders (sometimes crying on them too!) and to share challenges and gleam support. We were essentially joined at the hip before the starters rolled out, so it was somewhat an electric first meeting!
I recognised immediately that Christina has been at the forefront of the sustainable fashion revolution for so long, long before the rest of us had caught on. I have so much faith in what she does, the knowledge and networks that she and the team carries.
And we both have the same passion to help our industry and take it to a better place, believing that purpose driven business must play a big role in transforming fashion. We both care deeply about the environment, have great careers and we are both successful women who care about what we put on our body, and how these clothes are made. That’s terribly important.
So it was so natural for us to collaborate - to bring the best of each of our world’s together to the table.
Maria, The R Collective’s clothing has quite a story to tell. Put simply, they are not your average clothes. What does this mean to you?
The journey that The R Collective clothes have been through is what makes them valuable! Through rescuing, reusing and recycling luxury fashion waste, we are using unwanted materials and bringing a new life to these materials - through creating clothes. Through having been personally involved in this recent capsules’ life journey, from design board to today on this shoot, I know that The R Collective is writing a new journey for waste materials. The proof is on my back right now - and this brings me joy!
So these pieces add a note of happiness into someone's wardrobe because emotionally they have a very important story to say. Their journey is very meaningful and that automatically makes them something I want to wear forever and have forever in my wardrobe.
Christina, your admiration for Maria goes back a while. How’s having her in The R Collective?
Well firstly, Maria is a brilliant fashion entrepreneur who is as on the ball with the bottom line as she is the ideal hemline! I love her commercial acumen - she’s been involved in an impressive portfolio of successfully implemented and highly profitable enterprises - and she has a strong creative vision. So this balance of bang for your buck and living and loving fashion is really impressive!
I’ve always believed that “Together we go further than we can ever go alone.” And so having others bring their power, ideas, networks and sense of purpose into our work is like a lifeline. We’re dealing with a huge crisis - that of fashion waste and the associated environmental pollution - and we need urgency, potency, and a dose of strong friendship, to bring more solutions to the forefront.
Working with Maria on The R Collective’s expansion into the UK is a dream for us. I’m a no-nonsense type of person, and so it’s invigorating to meet another woman who calls a spade a spade. There’s no mincing of words or ideas when Maria and I are at the table.
Tell us more about The R Collective’s UK expansion.
Yes, we’ve launched the business in the UK, to expand our work and impact in this exciting UK and European market, whilst continuing to work hand-in-hand with our Hong Kong headquarters, which remains very much the heart, artery and bumper fuel station that is the engine of our business. Hong Kong sits within Asia’s clothing production and waste hotspots, so this is where we’re rescuing waste and working with global fashion industry leaders to co-solve - or at least try to solve! - the textile waste crisis.
And now, being further embedded in the UK means we can partner with some of the world’s best fashion businesses and astute consumers, to sit closely within the UK’s world-class sustainable fashion action.
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