Interviewed by Larissa Mooken and Teemah Rajjoo – two students from Victoria University, Melbourne Australia.
Do you need a new dress or a new pair of shoes? Well, here are some facts which will make you think twice before indulging in a new purchase.
A woman spends $ 97 per month on clothes but they wear only 59% of it regularly. Closet crisis leads to the wastage of almost 14.3 million textiles annually due to over-consumption. As a result, the fashion industry is being known to be the most polluting one but also the largest employers of child labour. In a modern capitalist world where we put profit above people, greed over need, the rule of gold above the golden rule (Prince Era) – this is where fashion retailers introduce inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to the retail outlets to meet new trends on a weekly basis. This is where the global warming phenomenon has become more alarming than before. As such, Diane and Lena believe that:
The power of change lies in the hands of the people.
People must realise that they have the supreme authority as they are the masses. Since the dawn of humanity, all major advancements which have happened so far was by the powerful masses and not due to a singular global elite. Aligned with amazing pioneers, disruptors, activists and innovators shaping the fashion industry, people have the power to make a truly sustainable difference to create a new era. Therefore, the two young women want to
empower every individual to bring a sense of awareness of their consumption related to the fashion industry.
Diane and Lena are twin sisters born in France but grew up on a small and beautiful island called Mauritius in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Diane has graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in International Management from Toulouse Business School after which she has undertaken a travelling journey to experience the world in order to reconnect with herself.
Lena is still studying and will be graduating this December with a bachelor’s Degree in Branding and Communication from Vega School in Cape Town.
Being both at a turning point of our personal life, we are on a quest to find our sense of purpose genuinely attached to sustainability.
Growing up on a paradisiac yet fragile and damaged island, travelling the world generated an inherent part of them willing to protect the environment to prize humanity, ethnicity and the circular economy. Their journey began on their travel adventure together to Vietnam and the Philippines in July 2018 as they were looking for the right cause to fight for. The True Cost documentary was the missing piece of the puzzle in their sense of purpose. They discovered the hidden facet of the vulnerable yet exploited fashion industry which is too often unknown to the rest of the world.
Soon after, they realised that both of them depicted the same typical fast fashion profile, that is looking for trendy clothes at cheap prices without knowing its social and ecological consequences.
As a result, they wanted to propagate their new discoveries and create awareness about this harmful industry, but they did not know where to start from.
As quoted by Mahatma Gandhi, Be the change you wish to see in the world. They started to change their lifestyles which in turn inspire others, thus a series of events started to conspire towards the success of their quest.
Be the change you wish to see in the world
It all began on the 16th of July 2018, the page ‘dianeandlena’ was created on Instagram to arouse awareness about sustainable fashion and educate people through ethical brands. Unconsciously, Instagram proved to be a useful tool for them as well as for their viewers by creating sustainable content which opened doors to many initiatives, brands and movements. As they exposed an array of new information, change becomes controversial, causing a hysteria about consciousness where some only get affected and really stick to their decisions. The change movement is swelling, with more and more people trying to adapt to a sustainable fashion consumerism through participative brands.
YOU WILL LIKE THIS >> The 7 forms of Sustainable Fashion you should know and adopt
While travelling, they came across many inspiring people like Florence Bacin, the coordinator of Fashion Revolution in Vietnam, where they exchange views on the dramatic challenges and remedial solutions in the fashion industry. This initiated a fashion revolution which is the biggest slow fashion movement behind the global campaign #whomademyclothes. Given that the fashion industry is the second most polluting one, it was very exciting for them to connect with this dynamic and determined community of changemakers who are working hard to democratize sustainable fashion. It initiated a zeal in them to expose the dark side of this huge industry.
As they discovered Sapa in North Vietnam, Diane met Mama Sun who originates from a hill tribe ethnic minority called the Black Hmong. She had the utmost privilege to learn about their traditional textile techniques on how to naturally dye the organically grown cotton or hemp and how to make their amazing handmade embroidery. She realised how special she was to be able to meet the people who are behind the confection of our clothes. Consequently, Vietnam, which is one of the main fashion producers in the world, is the home place to huge amounts of clothes market, second-hand shops and frightful fabric wastage. They were amazed by the number of clothes which was underlining the environmental issues related to mass production worldwide, propagation of ruthless worker’s conditions, oceans of landfill waste and so on.
As they have constantly been faced by this problem during their trip, they created a special bond with the little hands which are behind the confection of our clothes as they are fighting for the survival of their tradition and prevent this industrial world from wiping out the roots of our existence. Their ultimate aim is to educate the younger generation to ponder about their intensive consumerism and to democratize the slow fashion industry.
Indeed, each time you buy something, this gives an undeniable power to the brand to continue its usual operations. Therefore, Diane and Lena want a sense of awareness through their Instagram page so that people of their generation are able to make mindful purchase decisions. Diane and Lena are also working on creating different and creative awareness campaigns in Mauritius. One of them will be the diffusion of the True Cost documentary in cinemas for free.
Authenticity is the key player.
They are embracing social media as a powerful tool which is backed by their honesty and authenticity to spread their genuine vision.
As a novice in the industry, they felt that they needed some notoriety to be able to associate themselves with other sustainable brands but surprisingly even though they just have 900 followers on Instagram they were contacted by a few apparel companies. So far, they have collaborated with Upsun, which is a robotics and apparel company based in San Francisco, whereby technology, digital customisation and automation are adopted to build custom fit jeans with 50% recycled fibre and 50% Re- Fibra. They embrace innovation to eliminate waste and inventories advancing the democratisation of sustainable fashion.
They are enthusiastic about the future as they have many more projects coming. So stay tuned, change is on its way.
See you on the sustainable side,