In recent years, sustainable clothing has become a catchphrase and it turned a few heads. Just as consumers today take a closer look at food, they are also shifting their purchasing decisions to create a cleaner environment through the clothes they wear.
With her extensive knowledge of sustainable fashion, environmentalist and designer Disney Andreas is the brains behind ‘July’, a label for unique sustainable hats.
The self-driven social entrepreneur did not only contribute to the dazzling fashion industry but created a relatable movement and trendy items that can spark a conversation around sustainable fashion.
“As soon as you are aware of what is happening in the world, you can’t help but think of ways you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Recycling waste at home – not littering, switching off the lights or unplugging, not buying unnecessary clothing items and the list goes on,” narrated the environment enthusiast.
Asked what inspired the brand, Andreas further explained “The intention was to make a hat of my own. I was impressed with what I came up with and immediately showed it to my family and friends – and they suggested I share it on social media. The response was amazing and that’s when I knew I can start a movement.”
Born in July, Andreas saw a need to name her items after her birth month.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to honour this passion project by naming it after that,” she said.
By using alternative approaches to fashion production, the ethical fashion designer uses an array of sustainable fabrics, including sisal twine and plastics.
Sisal is a 100% natural product from sisal fibre and commonly used in the shipping industry for lashing and handling cargo. The plastic is made from thermoplastic polymer and it is also eco-friendly.
Andreas, who is also pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies, recently joined Namibia’s leading sustainable development NGO – Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) as an environmental communications officer and her work involves having to document the voices of Namibian communities and especially conservancies.
“Sustainable fashion is a movement, a process that fosters change to fashion products, a system that works towards a greater philosophy and a trend of sustainability. In layman’s terms, it means better wages for the people, making your ever-so-beautiful garments. It means fashion brands are considering all environmental laws in the production of their garments. It means as an end-user, you make efforts to educate yourself and call-out brands that are harming our environment for the sake of fast-fashion,” elaborated Andreas, who is also the co-founder and fashion director of Monochrome Magazine.
In the past, it would have seemed improbable that sustainable clothes would be trendy and cool, but things have changed and it’s now taking the fashion industry by storm.
Andreas encourages people to be more conscious about what they wear and buy, adding that although it can be a costly movement to follow, organisations from around the world are making it easier for anyone to take part by sharing statistics, platforms to donate and tips on how to live a more sustainable life.
“The Namibian fashion industry has so much to offer. We have so many natural resources that we can incorporate around us that can be utilised. From textile designs to possibly fabric making and most importantly creating an industry that employs our population,” she said, adding that the local fashion industry is slowly adapting to sustainability.
If there’s one thing she would like to change in the fashion fraternity, Andreas wishes to help improve wages for garment makers.
“I see this sustainable brand as a conversation starter around sustainable fashion in Namibia and around the world, a movement that may rid the narrative of how it is such an expensive direction to take and that maybe we can all truly live in a world of zero waste from the fashion industry,” she concluded.