Topic of sustainability seems to be gaining momentum not only with the press, but with consumers. Earlier this month, on May 16 an eco-friendly clothes brand Asquith, which has been championing sustainability and supporting women in business for almost 17 years, hosted its first Eco Summit at Asia House. Inviting press, bloggers, friends and brand founders that have been putting their eco voice to good use, Asquith founder Alice was determined to spread knowledge & inspire a conversation from which all of us can only benefit.
‘We all are so busy, so thank you for joining us today. We all have a voice, lets talk more about sustainability’ Alice Asquith
Once we all assembled in the high-ceilinged rooms and changed into the comfortable Asquith clothes, which make you look stylish while allowing your skin to feel comfortable and the body to move freely encased in them, yoga was the first on the list of activities. Starting the day with a gentle yoga flow led by the founder of Fierce Grace Yoga, Michele Pernetta, was a privilege in itself. Michele, tall and graceful as a Bambi, turned the music on and condensed her usual 1,5 hours class into thirty minutes. We stretched and moved and were even taught three moves that you could do, if god forbid, you were incarsarated – a bit of humour allows the muscles to stretch that much further thanks to endorphin release.
As yoga came to a close, the extraordinary voice of the ilapothecary founder Denise Leicester filled the room, taking charge of our minds. Her healing sessions are so transformative people laugh, cry and release long-hidden tensions & grief. Denise also introduced one of her recently launched products, SOS Pearl Drops. ‘A potent modern-day rescue remedy that combines homeopathy, flower essences, herbs, gems such as amethyst and gold. You should use it in moments of fear, anxiety, and restlessness. This is both a preparation and a solution – ideal for before an interview, a flight, or any situation that unsettles you (children can use this too) as it soothes and protects leaving you feeling calm.
If you aren’t already familiar with Denise’s work, make sure to book yourself for a treatment at the Ilapothecary clinic close to High Street Kensington or attend one of the workshops or yoga Nidra sessions. I promise you will feel a change, especially if you have been going through difficult times or are feeling stuck, yet unable to start planting the seeds of change.
After we were fed and watered, we all assembled to listen to the main conversation of the day, sustainability. The panel was led by the editor of the Pebble magazine Georgina Wilson-Powell and included nfluential faces in eco-friendly fashion and lifestyle – Founder of Unbeelievable Health Sarah Orecchia, Fran Willow AKA Sustainability Blogger Ethical Unicorn, Asquith Founder & Creative Director Alice Asquith, and Sustainability Advisor Allanna McAspurn. The main aim was to discuss the future of the fashion industry, based on panellists own professional experience, provide top tips for living a more conscious life and share information on how we can make a difference to the health of the planet.
Alice shared her career path, saying that it’s been a long, but interesting journey to build Asquith, especially at the time when the idea of combining style & sustainability was unfathomable to many. Alice has been pioneering the use of natural fabrics, particularly bamboo, that is durable, sustainable and comfortable and as an Asquith customer I can testify that the clothes look and feel as good after a few months, if not years of wear, as when you first try them on.
The panel talked about their own businesses and daily practises, the importance of bees, the twisting of the facts when it comes to selling consumers the products, be it in fashion or nutrition and the importance of developing brands that help our economy become more circular.
‘Buy Less, Use Less, Waste Less” Sarah Orecchia, founder of Unbeelievable Health
Being sustainable is akin to being disciplined, paying attention to small details that, like pieces of a puzzle, create a full picture. Considering the fast fashion and level of prices compared to consumer’s household incomes, it makes sense to focus on the inclusive approach, at the time when many businesses want just to ride the headlining wave, as opposed to building a sustainable business that benefits both brands AND consumers, without harming the planet in the process.
Of course this is not going to be instant, yet consider that many of past practises (like vintage and thrift stores, hand-me-down clothes that went from the eldest child to the youngest one or reusing glass bottles ) weren’t invented by millennials, but by the generations before them. Older generations had much less choices, yet were closer to nature and more mindful about their shopping. It helps to be reminded that whether you are a millennial or a pensioner, we have much more in common that might initially meet the eye.
Consider washing clothes at 30 degrees and flat-drying them (Asquith is a big proponent of this), buying clothes that last, using cotton bags or straw baskets instead of plastic bags. Say no to plastic straws. Take your own cutlery to have office lunch. Drink loose teas, instead of buying tea temples that aren’t biodegradable. Buy coffee capsules that can be recycled. Introduce small changes to your habits, instead of doing too many things at the same time and frustrating yourself. Get informed by reading blogs and books or following bloggers and journalists who write about sustainability. Support social projects and businesses that help women and children from unprivileged backgrounds. Ideas were certainly a plenty and everyone was only too happy to share – after all, we best learn through dialogue and questioning things, in order to understand and change things for the better.
Bright and fun-filled Miami, with its beautiful Art Deco buildings and stunning blue sea, inspired the SS19 collection. The fresh and happy colours like Flamingo, Sunset Pink, Blue Splash, Orange and Lemon invoke carefree days on the beach, sun on your skin, icy cocktails and everything that is good about summer.
From day one, Alice has been committed to helping reduce global consumption by producing the best quality, non-synthetic clothing. Each Asquith piece is super soft, thanks to the sustainable bamboo and brand’s trademarked natural performance fabric, Bambor. Clothes are created with practicality in mind and by incorporating elegance and multi-functionality into the design process, so you can wear the clothes to your yoga or pilates class, to work or on school run without compromising on style (or comfort).
Alice visits the factory in Turkey, where the clothes are made, a few times a year and shares her insights, as well as the talents of the Turkish women on her website and on social media. After all, the success of Asquith is not just down to Alice’s vision and determination. It is the sum of all parts and she is incredibly proud of every single member who helps to contribute to the brand’s success and customer satisfaction.
Many of the attendees also had a chance to enjoy a mini back massage or reflexology provided by Holistic Hub. I had a ten-minute reflexology session with Juan, who allowed me to switch off and let my body enjoy the relaxation and fine-tuning. I was also reminded that even a short massage or reflexology session speeds up detoxing processes in our bodies, so hydrating yourself through the day is doubly beneficial.
Any changes takes time and requires effort and by combining our experiences and opinions we can turn something neutral or negative into a positive. It’s not the question of age and profession, its about being conscious of the consequences of our daily actions. How often we shop, do we take the time to look after ourselves properly, which brands do we choose to support as consumers. So summits like this, which combine different aspects of wellbeing and lifestyle can help us speed up the positive change.