This summer I had the pleasure of interviewing Gergana, from the sustainable brand Blonde Gone Rogue, who taught me not only about the mission of their brand, but about sustainability as a whole, and the little changes students can make in an effort to becoming more sustainable (on a budget!) The mission of Blonde Gone Rogue is to develop sustainable fashion which is accessible to the consumer- they pride themselves on striving for good working conditions, and only using stable materials. The brand seeks to combine accessibility, design and sustainability.
Prior to the interview, I had a look on the website and was tempted by some of the designs which were both eye-catching and wearable. However, one thing that put me off was the price; as a student it would seems extravagant to spend upwards of a hundred pounds on a singular item of clothing, and I’m sure I can speak for many when I say this. Pricing was one of the things I brought up in the interview- why is their clothing priced this way? Is it justified? Gergana’s response really opened my eyes- I hadn’t realised how much more difficult sustainable clothing is to develop. There are two branches to this- materials and the labour side, into which ethics is heavily tied. As Gergana put it, what is the point of being a brand that is good for the planet if you simultaneously exploit workers to do so: surely that would be counter- intuitive. Blonde Gone Rogue are considerate of their workers, a refreshing change from the constant news regarding sweatshops, fast fashion and the systematic exploitation of factory workers. They provide good facilities and working conditions, a fair wage, and a sense of community. Another aspect is the material they use: Blonde Gone Rogue want the clothes they make to last, and therefore the quality is a huge factor in the production of their garments. I had never really considered how much material wastage there is when it comes to the production of clothing, and so was shocked to hear about the slack material that can end up sitting in a factory unused for months before eventually being thrown away. Blonde Gone Rogue are revolutionising the production of clothing, by using this waste material to make their garments. In essence, they are taking somebody else’s discarded material and turning it into an entirely new garment. This whole process is time consuming and expensive, and so learning about this really helped me to understand the reasons behind the pricing, and how justifiable it is.
I would still hesitate to spend lots of money on a single item of clothing, and so I asked what students can do to become more sustainable. One of these things is to buy clothes that you are sure you are going to wear multiple times. This sounds so simple but I am guilty of buying a dress for an event and then never wearing it again, or buying a cheap top that I can only wear once before the material gets stretched and misshapen. And so something we can all do is give ourselves a little pep talk before we buy something: does it make us feel confident? Will we wear it many times? Is the quality good? If so, then it can go straight in the basket. And who knows, one day you might be looking for a unique and exciting item of clothing, and find that Blonde Gone Rogue is in fact the place to go.