ABOUT THE FOUNDER – Interview with Staiy
I am originally from Germany and at first I tried many different things from human resources, to communication and project management. I was always very passionate about sustainability and ethics and when I wrote my master thesis about sustainable fashion in Lisbon I realized that there is a lot of potential for growth and expanding in this industry. That combined with my passion to spread important messages made me want to continue this little project of mine. And I’m just fascinated by where it got me and Vanilla Sand.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR OWN AESTHETICS WHEN YOU FIRST CREATED YOUR BRAND? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO FIND IT?
It was fun creating my own aesthetics when creating Vanilla Sand. I think what was important for us was to define our objectives and goals. To find our vibes and inspirations and to figure out how we want our target consumer to feel. Free & responsible!
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CREATE YOUR OWN BRAND?
During my Master studies at Nova SBE, I chose to focus my final thesis on sustainable fashion and that’s basically how Vanilla Sand was born. It kept growing after I finished my studies and that’s when I saw the potential of the brand and decided to pursue it full time.
WHAT MAKES YOU, AS A DESIGNER, DIFFERENT FROM THE REST? (ONLY IF FOUNDER IS ALSO DESIGNER)
I think what makes us different from other designers is the fact that we try to combine new, upcoming trends with sustainability, which is something that I always struggled to find and also one of the reasons why I saw so much potential in our Brand concept.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH STARTING YOUR OWN LABEL?
There are so many challenges when starting your own label and you will keep running into them. When you start a label from scratch there are so many different things to consider, to research and to learn which can be both challenging and exciting. Funny enough I was always interested in being my own boss and getting away from the corporate, often ruled 9-5 jobs but it’s just now that I realize how important administrative organisation is.
WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN TO YOU AS A PERSON?
Sustainability to me is a wide concept that includes social, environmental and economic aspects of the lives of each individual and activities of societies and businesses. In my opinion what’s most important is that people become more aware of their impact on our environment and do their best, even if it’s just a minor thing, to contribute and give back to our planet. There are so many easy ways to live a more sustainable life, from turning off the lights, to buying and consuming local produce, recycling, donating etc. Sustainability is a word that gets thrown around a lot nowadays but it’s way easier than you think.
WHICH SUSTAINABLE HABITS DO YOU CARRY OVER IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
Simple things like taking a shower, not a bath, eating mostly plant based, avoiding fast fashion at all costs buying local produce, riding my bike.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE FASHION INDUSTRY TODAY?
There are a lot of things that need to change about the fashion industry today and I think the biggest and most important part is to focus more on need rather than want. With fast fashion rising the consumer preferences have shifted dramatically and the fashion industry now has a disastrous impact on the environment. But there are solutions and alternatives to these problems and it’s more important than ever that companies start to build more awareness and show willingness to change.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MODERN LUXURY IN THE INDUSTRY TODAY?
To me luxury doesn’t have a clear definition. Personally I appreciate quality, detail and craftsmanship. I like things that will last me a long time and things that look beautiful and that make me feel good. When looking at the industry nowadays the term ‘Luxury’ has changed dramatically and not in a good way. Luxury used to be something totally out of daily reach. But it carried a tradition of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect presentation. Now, most luxury companies take advantage of the wants and desires and sell luxury products to the middle class that are everything except luxurious. They secretly produce in China, some even in sweat jobs and employ child labor while making a huge profit and profit from the luxury image. It’s lovely and responsible to look for quality, detail and craftsmanship again.