Sustainable Spotlight Interview - Gemma

Sustainable Spotlight Interview - Gemma

There's no better way of finding out more about sustainability in Beyond Retro than from our incredible staff! Sustainable Spotlight is a new series of interviews with the staff that make our company tick - from warehouse, store and head office across the globe.

We spoke to Gemma, our Beyond Retro LABEL Designer to find out more about her role, the impact her role has on the environment and what she loves about working within the sustainability lead the Beyond Retro company!

  • What’s your role in Beyond Retro/Bank & Vogue and what exactly does it entail?
  • I’m the designer for Beyond Retro’s Label brand. My job is to find a creative solution to the excess amount of clothing which can not be sold within our vintage range and would otherwise be destined for landfill. Inspired by current and future trends I redesign garments either through customising, altering or using the fabric from a garment to create something completely new to give them a new purpose!

  • What’s your favourite part of the job?
  • Being able to create relevant and trendy designs and know that I am doing something to help the planet at the same time. We get to travel to India to work with the manufacturing team out there and it’s great having lots of interaction with the other teams in the business

  • Tell us more about how your role impacts the circular economy?
  • Living in the throwaway society we seem to have been accustomed to I think everyone is becoming more and more aware of the impact the fashion industry has on the world and the people on it. We have a great platform here where we can educate customers to make smarter choices when buying clothing and show how you can still dress fashionably affordable and not have to succumb to fast fashion.

  • What’s been the most interesting thing you have learnt about the sustainability of the fashion industry through doing your role?
  • Visiting the clothing recycling warehouses has really opened my eyes to the amount of clothing we are throwing away. The fashion industry has become faster and faster with ever changing trend and styles and the high street producing millions and millions of items of clothing which may only ever get worn a handful of times before being discarded and moving onto the next.

  • How have you seen the way we perceive sustainability change?

    Over the last few years, there has definitely been much more media spotlight on the issue of sustainable fashion and lots of big companies are starting to make changes within their business to try and help contribute to finding a solution. Take back schemes are becoming more common and designers are starting to take more action to raise awareness and make a change.

  • What do you try to do in your everyday life to help impact the environment positively?
  • I try and live as consciously as I can - recycling where possible, only driving my car when essential, reduce plastic usage where possible. I buy second-hand clothing and furniture and give to charity when something is no longer suitable for me to use. Small changes can make a big difference.

  • What do you wish you did better?
  • Finding the time to go to good fresh food grocers where items are not packaged in plastic.

  • What do you see in the future of the recycling industry?
  • I definitely feel like there are positive changes starting to happen with the government making new laws and trying to ban products which are damaging to the environment. I would like to see more companies who have power and influence setting examples and raising awareness so others will follow suit.

  • What do you think is key to reducing waste in the fashion world?

    I think encouraging everyone to make smarter choices when buying clothing. If it’s something that will be discarded within a short space of time then is it worth it? Investing in good quality long lasting pieces rather than throw away fashion will make a big difference. I also think that bigger companies need to look at the amount of clothing they are producing and re-evaluate the necessity of what they are manufacturing.  

  • What’s your top sustainable tip for our customers?
  • Be more mindful when shopping and don’t just buy things because of a ‘fad’. By taking the time to shop around and investing in better quality and better fitting products its more than likely they will become a staple piece in your wardrobe and you won’t want to throw it away!

     For more helpful tips on becoming more sustainable in everyday life, check out our blog for some super helpful tips on how to reduce your environmental impact.

    Beyond Retro team in India

    Meet Our Reworked Vintage Team From India!

    This Fashion Revolution week, we're focusing on our vision to make the fashion industry more sustainable. With our Reworked Vintage range being created entirely from recycled materials and to get the conversation on eco-friendly fashion started, we're talking to the talented ladies behind our remixed Reworked Vintage collection in India about their role in the company, their ideas of sustainability within the field and what they get up to in their free time.

    Padmini Venugopal - Raw Material Manager 

    Beyond Retro In India
    Hey Padmini! How long have you been working at Beyond Retro?
    I have been working in Beyond Retro since 2014! 
    What is your role and what does it entail?
    My role in the company is to procure raw material for our production process. I'm guided by the UK and Canadian teams on what exactly they need and my team of 17 have the task of then meeting these requirements. 
    What do you enjoy most about your work?
    I add life to every garment that's made in Beyond Retro. Since it's a rework of existing garments and accessories, we are able to be innovative in every product we make. We explore ways on how to create things that the customer would love. The ability to think innovatively each day is the best bit about my work.  
    Why do you think sustainability is important in the fashion industry?
    Sustainability is definitely important in the fashion industry because as citizens of Earth we need to protect the environment for future generations. We are responsible for every bit of damage inflicted on the atmosphere, environment and nature. It's high time that we raise our hands and do our bit to help every day. 
    What are your interests outside of work?
    Outside of work, I like cooking, playing badminton and reading books. 

    Deepali Gajra - Fashion Designer

    Beyond Retro Fashion Designer
    Hi Deepali! How long have you been working at Beyond Retro?
    I've been working for Bank & Vogue (our parent company) for three years! 
    What is your role and what does it entail?
    As a designer, my work begins by contacting the London design team where we discuss upcoming design ideas and clothing trends. After receiving the final designs, I get to work sourcing relevant hardware and trims for the upcoming clothing and accessories. 
    My main role on the factory floor is sampling, where I explain the design to sample cutters and tailors and describe how they're going to be used. After we finish the sample, we send photos and examples back to London to get them approved. Once the sample is given the go-ahead, I check all spec sheets and trims to make sure everything is ready for production and iron out any problems. 
    What do you enjoy most about your work?
    This is my favourite question!
    So in my work I really enjoy making new design samples, it's always fun to make a new sample and see what it looks like after completion. I also love when the London team comes over to work together on new season designs. 
    Why do you think sustainability is important in the fashion industry?
    The fashion industry is the second most pollutant industry in the world. Sustainable and eco-fashion is a part of the growing philosophy of sustainability where the goal is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. 
    What are your interests outside of work?
    I like listening to music, travelling and adventurous hobbies like camping, tracking and hiking. But mostly I like shopping ;) 


    Nithya Mukandan - E-commerce Manager

    Beyond Retro Website
    Hello Nithya! How long have you been working at Beyond Retro?
    I've officially completed 5 years as of this April! 
    What is your role and what does it entail?
    I manage the online production of Beyond Retro, making sure supply meets demand. 
    What do you enjoy most about your work?
    That the whole team works together to make stuff happen. We all support each other to offer creative feedback and make our ideas a reality.
    I love the challenge of coming in every day and solving the problem of creating more traffic to the website from around the world. Each day is different and a constant adventure, I just love my job and my team! 
    Why do you think sustainability is important in the fashion industry?
    Sustainable clothing is really important. There are many elements that go into producing clothing: the fabric materials, the type of dyes, the amount of pollution, the transportation of the products, the factory employees, the amount of water used, etc. 
    Sustainably-made clothing is produced by finding ways to make all of these elements less harmful to the planet we live in. For example, using organic cotton over plastics like polyester can be a more sustainable way to save the environment from toxic elements.
    What are your interests outside of work?
    Travelling all around the globe! 
    It helps me connect with new people, which helps improve my interpersonal skills. Meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds helps you connect. This acquired skill is useful when working with global distribution. And after a full year of work projects, it's like a much-needed dose of oxygen. 
    Discover our treasure trove of sustainably Reworked Vintage goodies and uncover the gems that our talented team have been working on.