An Interview With ‘Mindful Fashion’ Retailers Gather & See

Sustainable and Ethical Fashion beautifully curated. Organic. Fairtrade. Heritage. Small scale production. Eco-friendly. What more could you want?

Samata interviews Gather&See co-founder Alicia Taylor, one half of a power duo ticking all the boxes for mindful fashion lovers with online retail store Gather&See. Gather&See is an online store offering a curated collection of ethical and sustainable fashion brands to a fashion savvy customer who doesn’t want to compromise on either style or ethics.

Wearing Gather & See’s Seek Collective Savista Pant (£150)

– Tell us about the vision for the company?

My business partner Steph and I started Gather&See to make it easier for smart, design – conscious women to shop ethically. We wanted to bring together all of the incredible small ethical brands we had discovered in one place online where like-minded fashion conscious and ethically aware women could find a new, positive way to shop responsibly. We now stock over 20 brands and have customers from over 25 different countries. Our vision for the future is to continue to deliver fresh and innovative sustainable fashion to more and more customers and to demonstrate that sustainable fashion is the future of the fashion industry and not just a niche sector.

– How do you approach sustainability within the company and why is it so important to you?

Our approach to sustainability is very much a holistic one. The business is built on ethics and sustainability is at the heart of everything we do from how we identify our brands to how we manage our accounting, to what suppliers and service providers we use for our shipping. We want Gather&See to be an authentic and transparent business and to really breathe and live what we stand for. The fashion industry is a trillion dollar industry that has the power to do good but is also damaging our environment and exploiting people and an alarming rate. We are passionate about contributing to change within the industry.

– How do you ensure transparency within your business or that you are communicating this with your customers?

To make things clear for our customers we have built our Philosophies framework – the 5 Philosophies each demonstrate different aspects of sustainability and each of our brands and products must fit into at least two Philosophies. The Philosophies are Organic, Fair Trade, Small Scale Production, Heritage and Eco Friendly each of which we explain on the site. We also delve into as much detail as possible about every brand, explaining their story and why they fit with our ethos. On each product we provide all of the details on how and where the item was made, what certifications it has and what materials it is produced from. In arming our customers with this information they are able to make a connection with a brand or product and make a conscious purchase decision in line with their own values (and style preferences of course!).

– The word sustainable feels a little tired at times, how would you rather talk about fashion made consciously?

I totally agree, ‘sustainable fashion’ isn’t always a phrase that always sits easily. It is a word that can come across as vague and can be confusing with varying interpretations of its meaning which makes it hard to resonate instantly with a fashion consumer. At Gather&See we want to talk about fashion that has been done the right way, that respects both people and planet both in the present and in the future. In that sense it is just good, honest fashion that has been thought through from start to finish with more than just the bottom line in mind – ‘mindful fashion’ is a phrase we are using more and more.

Too true 🙌⠀ ⠀ #WednesdayWisdom

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– How do you select the brands you work with?

Selection takes a lot of ground work and research. We constantly have our ears to the ground and attend trade shows each season, we are also now in a position where we are fortunate enough to have brands coming to us directly. In the first case we have to love of the product – it needs to be something we can see our customers responding to positively and that fits our design ethos. Next the critical conversations have to begin around production methods – it is all about how, where, who. Our brands have to demonstrate regularly to us how they are working sustainably and where possible they obtain certifications from Global Organic Textiles Standard for organic materials or Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International for Fair Trade. We build long term relationships with our brands and transparency and mutual respect for what we are trying to achieve is everything.

– Describe Gather & See in 5 words?

Fresh, innovative, exciting, authentic and thought-provoking.

– What do you think the future holds for Gather & See and do you think sustainability is becoming more marketable and relevant?

I’m really positive about the future. We are seeing more and more people becoming interested in ethical and sustainable fashion and asking questions about their clothing. We are starting to see sustainable fashion featured in the media with ambassadors such as yourself doing an amazing job of highlighting the cause. I also believe the younger generation is more aware of the injustices that are prevalent in the industry. In fact our second biggest market is 18-25s which is very exciting. For Gather&See we have lots of new and exciting brands we are looking forward to working with and events and pop ups in the pipe line all of which I hope will help us to spread the message that sustainable fashion is the future. Now is the time to get on board!

Visit Gather&See to find out more.