The founder of OSIER, Theresa, went vegan after seeing documentaries about animal exploitation more than 3 years back. The food portion of being vegan was easy: vegan burgers, fries and pasta are great options! What was more challenging was finding fashionable vegan accessories like belts, shoes and bags. Out of her own need for beautiful and cruelty-free designs, she started her own company with Fiona Mitchell as Head of Design. We all love them already!
We talked with founder Theresa about her motivation to create a high-end vegan fashion brand. Read on to find out what we love about Osier’s new vegan line.
What first sparked your interest in sustainable fashion creations? Tell us more about the story of your brand and its mission.
As a company, we are deeply committed not only to the animals and our planet but also to the people that work for us and make our products. Which is why we chose to manufacture in Europe in a factory with excellent facilities, standards and certifications. The same goes for our packaging, dust bags and every other item that we make. We continuously strive to improve every step of our manufacturing process, using sustainable, eco-friendly materials while keeping our eye out for new, innovative vegan leathers.
The bags are designed and handmade in Europe. The factory is based in the heart of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, chosen to reduce air miles and the CO2 footprint of our products.
Which are your main sources of inspiration?
With OSIER, we’re dusting off the hippie image that often is associated with a vegan lifestyle. We’re hoping that the clean, chic look of our bags will appeal to a broader audience. Every sustainable purchase counts. This strive for a better world is a key motivator to get us out of bed in the morning. 😉
As for our company, we’re motivated by always wanting to do better: this can be the sourcing of more sustainable materials or finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint and give back to our community.
We draw most of our inspiration from the beautiful, open-minded city our label calls home: Amsterdam.
What’s your relationship with ever-changing fashion trends?
At OSIER, we don’t believe in trends. Which is why our capsule collection consists of five clean, timeless handbags that will survive fast fashion trends. The bags are made in neutral colours that match most outfits of the urban woman.
Taking into account that you are a creator that works with challenges every day, what’s in your opinion the biggest challenge of the fashion industry today?
The internet has revolutionised the way customers engage with brands on so many levels: the way we consume content and spot trends through Instagram and Pinterest, reaching out to brands on Facebook or Twitter for customer service questions or through sharing our favourite outfits – the lines of communication got significantly shorter. That’s a great trend that allows brands to connect with their customer and get great feedback.
But the internet has also revolutionised the way we consume content and receive information. Documentaries such as The True Costs opened the eyes of a lot of consumers on the devastating impacts that the fashion industry can have on people, animals and our planet in other parts of the world.
There is an increasing interest, from both consumers and organisations, such as the Fashion Revolution, in the transparency of supply chains and practices within the fashion industry which is great news! But it will be challenging for a lot of fast fashion giants such as H&M, Zara, others.
What is your personal view of fast fashion? Do you feel that the industry as the whole is falling a bit behind if comparing to sustainable fashion?
I read an article the other day that H&M has more than 4 billion worth of unsold clothes at this point. So there seems to be a trend away from fast fashion which would be a great sign. I truly believe that we as consumers can vote for change with our Dollars/ Euros and make a significant impact that way. The increasing interest in local farmers markets, vintage clothes and slow-fashion labels are great signs of a more conscious consumer.
Virtually all major clothing companies have a work in progress in the field of sustainability. What makes your brand stand out?
I think that it’s great news that the major clothing brands take action. They see the market trends and follow up on those good and necessary steps towards a better future. With their big market share comes big responsibility, I believe. Especially after events like the collapse of the Rana Plaza, the fast fashion giants are trying to regain their image and show the positive steps they are taking. Again, I believe that this is a good thing but we have to be conscious of greenwashing practices since there is still very little transparency within the industry.