This week we relaunched not only as a direct-to-consumer women’s fashion brand, but also have adapted a Made-To-Order business practice to rebuild for the future.
"I have lived the unsustainable pace of fashion and wish to shift out of a relentless growth model into a more responsible one. As a mother, business owner and lead designer; this was both a personal and practical choice. A choice embedded with care for the local industry we support, care for the clothes we are designing and care for the women who wear our clothes." - Natalija Bouropoulos
Find out more below exactly what lead to this change and why it was so important to Natalija.
When was the first moment that you realised that the fashion industry had a consumption issue?
Since launching the brand and in the couple years after, I would say I did everything "right" according to the unwritten rules of the industry. Putting out new, often art-inspired collections every season, wholesaled to large retailers like The Iconic and Anthropologie in the US.
But the more I learnt about the fashion business, the more I was getting upset to know that the problems of our global human and environmental challenges were created by the apparel industry.
The realisation that "we needed to do things differently" happened when I became a mother in 2018 - it was this moment when I was made more aware that my present actions will affect my daughter, her generation, and all those to follow.
There is a huge imbalance in supply and demand in fashion - typical fashion companies produce large amounts of inventory—which more than often leaves them with excess product at the end of the season. Unsold products are put on sale, marked down repeatedly, and if consumers still won’t buy, it’s sent to landfills or burned, adding significant pollution to our planet.
All of this just seemed so wasteful to me. And it is apparent that, that way of working is stuck in the past, rather than focused on the future.
You made the switch to a Made-To-Order model. What was the driving force behind that decision?
It definitely wasn’t an overnight decision. I would probably say from about 2018 I started to tweak my business slowly - I pared things back to a smaller seasonless ranges, brought my entire supply chain to Australia, experimented by producing 50% of styles Made-To-Order to create more sustainable business practices, and closed certain partnerships with retailers.
But it really wasn’t until when COVID hit and we were encouraged to pause, that I started to scrutinise the landscape and see large-scale shifts in the industry - it was basically impossible for an independent label, if I kept going with the same system to ‘really’ succeed.
It was an “epiphany moment”, that push I needed. So I decided to be brave in my business and take a substantial risk, reject the unsustainable pace of fashion, and shift out of a relentless growth model into a more responsible one.