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Fashion Business Club: Dolly Jones Interviews Laura Bailey

Model, now activist and spokesperson Laura Bailey chatted to Dolly Jones about the importance of sustainable ethical fashion and why shes not an ‘eco warrior’.

Written by Florence Massey

Illustration by Katie Harnett

Held at the Swarovski Lounge, information pills just off Regent Street, and myself and Amelia enjoyed the hour long talk between Dolly and Laura. Hosted by the Fashion Business Club, drugs it was the first eco talk FBC had ever had. Beginning with some general questions from Dolly about the whys and wheres she got involved, Laura was very realistic and frank about the current situation where sustainable fashion is concerned and the direction it needs to take. She also spoke very openly about her career as a model, and juggling working full time with being a mother: ‘My system is chaos, I sometimes work all night as I don’t want to miss a football match, a ballet recital or anything’.

One of the main issues which cropped up was that ethical fashion is still struggling to find a place in the industry which placing it on an equal footing to mainstream fashion. The reality is that not enough people are supporting the use of sustainable processes and local materials and until this changes it will be difficult to make a significant impact. Another interesting point raised was that many independent fashion designers are green without necessarily labelling themselves as an ‘eco-designer’. Small scale designers tend to work using a much simpler and less costly process, for instance with local rather than international suppliers.

Laura is keen to see her work towards reaching a larger recognition for ethical fashion as ‘a journey to take rather than a message to preach’. I agree, it is so important that consumers understand the importance and take on the idea of sustainable fashion wholly rather than as a fad.

Illustration by Katie Harnett

However, the importance of a trend in the quest to become more ethical is not to be sniffed at. A sustainable Christopher Kane collection at Topshop would fly off the rails. The Green Style Blog is a hit. It’s about finding a way to bring together of the moment, must-buy pieces with a long-term awareness of ethical fashion that is ingrained in the industry. Obviously this is not going to happen overnight and Bailey understands this but refuses to consider herself the ‘eco-warrior’ some have labelled her as. That term is a ‘cliche’ she says, who disregards it quickly when asked by an audience member how she feels about it.

During the question and answer session, some very interesting debates emerged, concerning the real (as opposed to the oft optimistic reported) reaction to ethical clothes. Truth be told, many people will buy stylish clothes at a fair price regardless of how sustainable they are – sustainable fashion needs to be fully intergrated with mainstream fashion for it to survive in the marketplace. I left the talk feeling a mixture between optimistic and somewhat disheartened. Bailey is knowledgeable and honest about how ethical fashion and fair trade is at the moment, and unfortunately it is struggling.

Laura Bailey is an ambassador for Barnados, Oxfam and the fairtrade foundation as well as contributing to several blogs including Vogue’s Green Style and collaborating with ethical fashion label Made.


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2 Responses to “Fashion Business Club: Dolly Jones Interviews Laura Bailey”

  1. Sam Atkinson says:

    LOVE the illustrations you did from my photos of the Laura Bailey interview! They are brilliant!

  2. Lauren says:

    Fab interview and I wish I had been there – Florence is one talented lady!

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