Sustainability and fashion may seem like an oxymoron - it certainly did until a few years ago when the need for a more environmental and socio-economic approach was realised. Today it is a highly debated and covered topic, and companies worldwide are transforming their business models, adopting more sustainable practices and rethinking their supply chains.
There are many different aspects of sustainable design; from environmentally and ethically conscious production, to high quality products that do not need replacing, and to vintage and secondhand items that are given new life. Although not always perfect, these are important steps towards a more sustainable industry.
Make It Last is a creative network that promotes and sheds light on sustainability initiatives in fashion and beyond. Encouraging conscious audiences to make smarter, greener choices to redefine fashion in a contemporary setting.
We partnered with Make It Last to update an old IKEA sofa with a sustainable cover from our Respect collection made with 100% recycled material (read more about that here). As sustainability and ethical practices are core values at Bemz we naturally jumped at the opportunity to sit down with Lisa Corneliusson, one of the founders of Make It Last, to hear her thoughts on the matter.
How would you describe Make It Last?
MIL: Make It Last is a space dedicated to inspiring ideas that all somehow aim to last in the long-run. Sustainable design; circular thinking; conscious everyday choices. It’s a lot about innovation and at the same time, taking care of what’s already here.
B: How has your background in fashion and journalism respectively affected your outlook on sustainable practices?
MIL: When we started Make It Last, we had both worked with traditional fashion media for quite a while and felt we needed to find our own pace. We wanted to move away from only thinking in seasons and buying new things.
B: And has your perception of the fashion industry changed since launching Make It Last?
MIL: Yes and no. The fashion industry is traditionally very conservative. It takes a lot of time to implement real change to the most established parts of it. At the same time, there is an explosion of innovation happening in a parallel universe, with new brands working in new ways. The dream is for these two worlds to meet more often.
B: We see a growing awareness among consumers from an environmental and socio-economic perspective. How do you perceive this trend?
MIL: There’s definitely an increasing interest in these questions. Consumers want to make informed choices and they also want more transparency from the brands they buy from. Younger generations even more so.
B: Sustainability and design - how do they coexist? What does sustainability mean to you?
MIL: Well arguably, sustainable design needs to be design-led, otherwise people won’t choose it. It’s the combination of sustainability, usability, fashionability that is really exciting.
At Make It Last we choose to highlight different kinds of sustainable initiatives. It can be about the way of sourcing materials, the material itself, the environmental or social aspects of the production process, the longevity of the design, the use-phase or what happens to an item post-use.
B: Is sustainability the new luxury?
MIL: Oh yes!
B: Buying organic/sustainable products can be really expensive, a choice that some people aren’t able to make - it’s also become a marketing descriptor du jour. What are your top tips for a more affordable, sustainable lifestyle and home?
MIL: The whole idea of sustainability being a trend isn’t something we buy into. It’s a necessity as well as the new luxury.
The best tips of all is to buy less. Remember that you can’t buy style or confidence. Think about what you really need and what you can perhaps skip, borrow or rent instead. Then when you do invest in things, make as informed choices that you can. Have circularity in mind and try to limit your use of raw materials that are running out.
B: What inspires you?
MIL: Individuality, always.
B: Your personal interior style?
MIL: I’m nostalgic and like pieces of furniture that have been in the family for a while. I’m also an auction fanatic, most of our furniture have belonged to someone else. I’m also an art lover and wish I had more walls to hang things on. And then, add plants.