In today’s interview, we catch up with Amy Graham, founder of the new sustainable clothing brand, This is Anyo.
Amy shares insights on what motivated her to start an ethical, sustainable brand, the challenges she faced, and her plans for the future.
Hello! Can you introduce us to This is Anyo?
Hey! I’m Amy and I am the founder of This Is Anyo.
We create high quality, slow fashion that is made to be re-worn season after season. Our aim is to design contemporary styles that will last the test of time. We want our customers to love our clothing as much as we do, and for it to become a companion of theirs for years to come.
From day one, we are proud to say that all products have been made using sustainable materials.
From Organic Cotton, to Recycled Polyester which would alternatively have ended up in landfill. We’re not only a sustainable brand, but an ethical brand also, selecting our suppliers carefully to ensure they share our values so workers have a fair wage and good working environment throughout the product journey.
This Is Anyo is created for people who care about our planet. Those who are seeking sustainable fashion and accessories at an affordable price.
What motivated you to start a sustainable clothing brand?
After working in fashion buying and merchandising for a number of years, I saw first-hand the negative impact of the fashion industry. There was absolutely no consideration for where or how fabric was made, or the working conditions throughout production. The main concern was negotiating the lowest price and getting the most profit.
I knew that there were others out there with the same struggles and so I decided to take a risk, quitting my full-time job in the middle of a pandemic, and building a brand that has strong, sustainable values and creates premium fashion at an affordable price.
What were the main challenges you faced, when first starting This is Anyo?
I began several months before the business launched by extensively researching and studying sustainability and ethical practices to gain a clear understanding of how my brand could make a difference. Listening to podcasts and webinars I was keen to hear what market leaders had to say on the topic. Discovering what new processes and learnings are taking place across the world to try to restore the damage that we, as humans, have caused to the Earth.
These studies are ongoing as the fashion industry is continually evolving based on consumer demand. As more people are seeking to buy sustainable products, brands have started to listen, which is great!
The initial challenge was sourcing suppliers who match our values, and making sure that they are certified by the relevant regulatory bodies. We only want to work with the best. This was a lengthy process and I spoke to in excess of 50 different suppliers based around the world.
How do you ensure This is Anyo stays true to your mission as you grow?
Our values are at the core of everything we do. Continual research to keep up to date on developments into sustainability, seeking new suppliers who specialise in different product areas, and creating designs that will be exciting, yet relevant for years to come. These are our main goals.
We want to become a pioneer for sustainable fashion and build a community whereby we can share this knowledge with our customers, as well as learning from them!
What do you think are the main challenges around sustainability today and how do you approach these?
The main challenge is a mindset of fast fashion prices being the norm. For example, buying a synthetic dress for £10-15 to only wear a handful of times (if that!).
When I was in my early/mid-twenties my friends and I would brag about how cheap our outfits were and for a night out would always look to buy something new, getting anxious about wearing the same thing twice. Back then we didn’t have any idea of the impact our shopping habits were having on the environment.
For a company to sell a dress for such a low price and make a profit, the workers have not been paid fairly. The quality is likely to be extremely poor and so this dress will only have a short life and soon end up in landfill; this should definitely not be the norm.
At This Is Anyo, we have worked hard on our pricing structure to ensure it is fair. Fair to the customer, to our suppliers, and to us.
We offer styling ideas via our Social channels to give inspiration on how to get the most out of your clothing. This is something that we want to do more of as we grow and to share our customer photos of how you wear your This Is Anyo. As our styles are so versatile, many of them can be styled as casual daywear, or they can also be dressed up for an evening out!
We want to emphasise that buying quality fashion which can be worn over and over again will be far more cost effective than buying cheap fashion items that are worn once. Not to mention achieving a lower environmental impact!
Do you have any advice for people looking to be more sustainable in their consumption habits and lifestyle?
Yes! My main piece of advice is to not put pressure on yourself to be 100% sustainable. It is far more beneficial to start making small conscious changes to your habits that can be maintained in the long-term than to go all guns blazing into being Zero Waste and then fizzle out after a few weeks because it doesn’t suit your lifestyle.
We have all been there with faddy diets for example; we have good intentions to start with but slowly end up sinking back into old habits. Whereas if we make small, healthy changes this can be maintained and becomes a part of your normal lifestyle!
Educate yourself on ways that you can make differences that suit you. Start using re-usable cups for your coffee or reusable bottles for water. Take canvas tote bags to the supermarket. Look to buy from sustainable or second-hand brands, but on the odd occasion you might see a fast fashion item you really want, and that is ok!
Have you tried a product from another sustainable brand that you think our audience should know about?
One of my absolute favourite sustainable brands is Rather Lather. A local Yorkshire brand who create handmade beauty products from natural ingredients. Their range include a variety of soaps for the face and body, as well as shampoo bars; all paraben free, plastic free and cruelty free. There is even ‘Sham-poochie’ a shampoo for your dog!
What does the future look like for This is Anyo?
Knowledge of sustainability is growing and there is a better understanding of the impact of fast fashion on our planet. Customers are seeking alternatives which is amazing to see, and brands are starting to react. In the next few years we expect the majority of brands to have started manufacturing in a more sustainable and ethical way.
As we grow, we will continue to design and manufacture key fashion items, based on what our customers are looking for. We are excited to expand our product categories and our collections will be guided by our community!
A huge Thank You to Amy, for sharing her journey with us. To learn more about This is Anyo, and to support a small brand, visit their website here.