Fashionova chats to Alex Hume, founder of Eco Fashionista
This year, Alex launched Eco Fashionista – an online boutique featuring green and stylish clothing and accessories. Eco Fashionista is not about preaching, sacrificing or making people feel guilty about the environment– it’s about giving consumers alternatives and making it easy it is to be stylish and green. Alex has found that most people want to make a difference but don’t want to give up the little things they love such as individuality and style. And that is where Eco Fashionista comes in! We caught up with her recently.
1. What was your first job in the fashion industry?
My first taste of the fashion industry came at 18 as a Christmas casual in Myer Miss Shop in Brisbane. Modest beginnings, but a lot of fun and a great summer job!
2. What inspired you to move from Law to Fashion? Was the step difficult
I have always loved fashion and dreamed of making it my ‘day job’. After my son was born in 2008, I also found myself looking for a creative outlet and a more flexible career path as my priorities changed.
Law and fashion are worlds apart in many respects, and the learning curve has been steep…but thoroughly enjoyable! It feels wonderful to run my own business and I feel such energy as I go about my day.
For the first few months after launching Eco Fashionista, I juggled law, fashion and family - which was challenging to say the least! However, after a successful launch, I’m now in the fortunate position of being able to focus on my family and the fashion side of things.
3. When did you decide it was a ‘greenie’ approach and voice you wanted to project?
The birth of my son was a huge catalyst for us as a family to move towards a greener lifestyle. And, as a keen shopper and fashionista, it was an organic process to apply this philosophy to my wardrobe.
I began to unearth some amazing labels in my own personal search for an eco wardrobe – labels with design credentials as strong as their eco credentials - and found to my amazement that there was no local offering that catered to the more discerning green fashionista. Designer eco fashion has really entered the mainstream overseas and I felt it was time the movement made its way to Australia. From there, the Eco Fashionista concept just evolved…
4. What is your biggest success to date?
Launching at Melbourne Fashion Week’s Eco Luxe Fashion Expose in September 09 was a big moment – the realisation of many months of careful planning and hard work. And just this week, Eco Fashionista was recognized as one of Australia’s best online fashion sites – which is a big achievement for such a young business!
5. What is your personal style from day to day?
My style has definitely changed now that I no longer work the corporate 9-5 and, I have to admit, since becoming a mum ‘practicality’ unfortunately often rules the day.
I would sum up my style as feminine (any excuse to wear a dress) and a little bit edgy. I can often be seen in Finish designer IVANAhelsinki’s folk inspired dresses or Minna’s lace and vintage print pieces.
6. In what other ways apart from your work do you take the environmental friendly choice?
For me, it is about the little things we can all do to make a difference. As a family, we make environmentally conscious choices like saying no to plastic, recycling, conserving energy, walking and riding our bikes, and supporting environmental charities and causes.
7. How did you choose which designers to collaborate with? Or do they choose to be involved with you?
A lot of brand research lies behind Eco Fashionista’s collection and the designers must be able to demonstrate both serious design and eco credentials. It was also important to me that they fit with my aesthetic – which is unabashedly feminine and whimsical. Now that Eco Fashionista is making a name for itself on the fashion scene, more and more designers are approaching us...if only we had room for them all! 8. What is the major difference in purchasing green clothing as opposed to regular clothing from stores?
There are two key differences between the clothes Eco Fashionista carries and those carried at many chain and department: the organic and sustainable fabrics and the ‘sweat shop free’ nature of clothes.
Eco Fashionista is about clothes that are gentle on the environment – and the people who make them! In addition, many of our designers also use eco-conscious production techniques (such as using natural dyes, digital printing and offsetting carbon outputs) and are part of the growing ‘slow fashion’ movement (ie making in small quantities, to order or by hand).
9. What are you wearing today?
I’m wearing a pair of Good Society denim jeans teamed with Minna lace cami and Where wrap around ballet flats.
10. Who is someone that currently inspires you?
I find the designers I work with very inspiring not only for their creativity, but for their commitment to the road less travelled - sticking to their principles without sacrificing the integrity of their designs. A lot to be admired in that!