'Our brand is a protest against the disposable fast fashion industry'

sustainable Meet Daisy and Ozric, owners of the sustainable and ethical fashion accessories brand "What Daisy Did". They¬†would like to introduce the world to their ethical and sustainable recycled leather bags.  

What's the story behind your product?

Over the last few years we have worked at over 30 music festivals, working in all aspects of event sustainability. It pained us to see how much waste was left and how disposable everything seemed to be. We were inspired to create something that would not only last, but would use wasted materials. sustainable We found this when travelling in India. India is the worlds most resourceful country and whilst there, we met a man named Manish, who at this time was already creating beautiful products from landfill materials. We discussed our ideas and so, it all came together! Manish now employs over 90 skilled families that were left jobless when the leather shoe industry moved to China. They are paid fair wages, given the opportunity to work flexible hours and of course, no elderly or child labour is used.  

Can you tell us about some of the products you sell?

sustainable The materials we use are offcuts wasted by corporate factories in Delhi, who waste them for slight blemishes, imperfections and discolouration (which we think adds a lot of character). Because our supply of materials is ever changing it means that no two products are ever the same colour combination or texture, every bag is completely unique. Our brand is a protest against the disposable fast fashion industry    

How does using recycled materials differ from using new ones and how is it important to you?

sustainable Not only does the production of the bags reduce the amount of materials going to landfill, it also reduces the demand for new materials.

What do you take into consideration when designing a new product?

We try to use timeless styles that last year round. We ensure a strong structure in hope that our products will last for years to come and help reduce people's fashion consumption.  

How much of an environmental hazard do you believe landfills to be?

sustainable Landfills pose a great threat on our environment worldwide. The western world could definitely learn a lot from the developing world in terms of reducing, re-using and recycling. But quite often this achievement comes from the grim reality of the great contrasts between rich and poor. As a result, millions of people worldwide are working in landfill sites salvaging valuable materials. These people often work in terrible conditions with very low life expectancies. We believe that useful materials need to be sorted before reaching landfill. Also, once treated, leather can take 25-50 years to decompose, and synthetic leathers can even take hundreds of years.  

Do you feel that your business model is more sustainable for using ethically sourced leathers?

sustainableBeing vegetarian ourselves, we have a lot of concerns when it comes to the use of leather, as the farming industry contributes massively to environmental damage, and of course there are a lot of welfare issues surrounding the industry. Our leather is a by-product of the meat industry and the bag factory industry so whilst we don't believe in farming, we don't want this valuable material being wasted.

What makes you different from other sustainable/recycled brands?

We are a small business that loves talking about what we do. We love sharing our ideas and listening to what people think of our products. We love to learn as well as educate.  

What does the future have in store for 'What Daisy Did?' and how do you think the ethical fashion industry is growing?

sustainable We are currently getting back to our roots and working on prototypes for bags made from waste left at festivals, such draw string bags made from tents. We are working in collaboration with Festival Republic and you can find our stall at next years Latitude festival. We are also looking at making a vegan bag range that is made from off-cut and recycled synthetic leather. We are currently looking for a charity that invests in greener solutions to fossil fuels and are hoping to donate the equivalent fuel cost importing our products.  

Do you have any tips for people who would like to start their own recycled fashion line?

Be sustainable from the start, there's no point starting a recycled fashion line and still buying on the high street. Once you are shopping totally ethically, look at what there is a market for and what materials around you could be used to fill that gap. Be creative and have faith in yourself that you can do it! We take a lot of inspiration from one of the worlds biggest ethical brands "People Tree".     sustainable Thank you Daisy and Ozric! To see the range of colourful bags that they sell, follow this link What Daisy Did have a showroom opening tomorrow in Northampton, UK, follow this link for more details. To support What Daisy Did on Facebook, go here