Apr 18, 2019 | By Cassandra Gagnon
Jul 16, 2018
As consumer demand for sustainable, ethically-sourced products heightens, here at WGSN we’re dedicated to highlighting the opportunities this challenge presents across the board.
A shift towards sustainability comes not just from an environmental need, but a financial one too, as consumers begin to reject brands and businesses that aren’t on board.
We’ll profile the brands who are leading by example, talk to expert industry insiders and bring you all the latest innovations, helping you to bring sustainability into the 21st century.
For more insight and inspiration, head to the sustainability section on WGSN.
For the next installment in our Sustainability Series, WGSN caught with sustainable lingerie brand HARA. Founder Allie Cameron talked the sustainable consumer, living in India, and brand transparency.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the brand.
HARA was officially started November 2016, but it’s been a work in process since as early as 2013. Throughout high school, I loved finding vintage and secondhand pieces to wear. It actually turned into a small business, where I would resell online pieces I had found. I then began thinking about how what we wear actually matters and impacts the society and environment that we live in. After leaving school, and dropping out of University, HARA, as a concept, was implanted in my mind. Back then, I didn’t know what it would be called or what exactly I would be selling, but I knew the values behind it would be to help the earth regain its power.
From that point, the manifestation of “HARA” took me to all places in the world. Melbourne, India, New York, back to Melbourne and eventually to Bali, where I would finally put into practice all my learnings, research, teachings and growth from the past 4 years.
It was after visiting India that you were able to find ways to be sustainable. Do you think that Asia is a key location to explore sustainability and find ways to achieve it?
It was after India that I realised I had no time to wait. I had to do something now. I realised sustainability needed to become an important part of people’s everyday life. I went to India to explore the industry– and face it front on. Finding ways to be sustainable has been a long process, and is constantly evolving as both technology and research develop. We found the natural dye house in Bali, and that was step one in achieving my sustainable brand.
Housing made from bamboo, plastic made from vegetable starch, and organic farming are a few of the different projects happening in Bali that I was inspired by and incorporate in HARA.
With sustainable clothing comes a higher price point, do you think this affects how consumers view sustainability?
As consumers educate themselves, they see the higher price point as investment into a better future. Every dollar spent on sustainable fashion is going towards fair wages, new technology to support sustainability in fashion, natural resources, charities and so much more. I wouldn’t even consider the price point relevant as I know many products made using unsustainable fabrics/synthetic dyes/low wage factories that have higher price points than may sustainable labels.
What is it that attracts consumers to your brand?
A refreshing point of view on gender roles, fashion and society’s labels.
Your website explains what makes HARA sustainable. Did you always know you wanted the brand to be completely transparent?
The brand was created because of the need for transparency in the fashion industry. The idea of sustainability came first, and the label came second. I feel so deeply that we are the environment that we live in– it’s our home– so in supporting the earth, we’re supporting ourselves. When I’m in nature, I feel overwhelmed by the beauty and the destruction happening against it motivates me to keep fighting for our planet.
I see the fashion industry playing a part in that destruction, and I knew that there was something I could do that could help this.
Do you think transparency is what customers are now after?
Absolutely, we now know the power we have as individuals to shape the world. Each moment we decide who we want to be, what reality we want to be a part of and these decisions create the change and the movement. We can no longer be mislead or lied to, consumers demand integrity and authenticity.
Do you think brands have to be sustainable now to adapt to consumer need for it? Or is down to brands to show why consumers need to opt for sustainable products?
It works both ways. Brands will soon be forced to adapt as consumers demand for sustainability. The demand increases as awareness and education increases, which is caused by those labels already in the sustainable market educating. This is how the movement is created and, at the core, it is the consumers that are paving the way for the future. Brands will follow consumer demand.
How can brands that aren’t already sustainable become sustainable? Is there an easy way to do this?
It takes knowing your supply chain inside out – and knowing exactly who is making what. Common situations are labels thinking they are paying one person a decent wage but, in reality, there is more than one person producing the clothing, and the money is being divided up between many which results in underpaid employees. Part of sustainability is making sure no-one is being taken advantage of.
Where do you see Hara going? Will you move beyond just underwear?
To create a platform of change, abundance, support, growth, rejuvenation, love and healing. To create a platform that inspires other labels to follow suit. To have a supply chain that has taken into account humans and environmental factors when created.
To move awareness to a point where the environmental impact is considered and acknowledged every step of the way from seed to store. That sustainability becomes the top priority.
To be a voice for those that feel suppressed, to be an inspiration for those that have dreams/visions for a better world, to speak up and speak out and continue the fight for this earth.
We are going to move into a lot more than just underwear, new things coming out soon!
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