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Sustainable Spotlight Interview - Gemma

Posted on November 22 2018

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?
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    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?
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    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.