Meet Madara of 'What's Your Legacy'
Interviewed by Ella Drake
Madara Freimane of What's Your Legacy came to visit Ella in Monarc's London Studio. What's Your Legacy poses the idea of having less but having more through its online platform that looks at sustainable fashion. Watch WYL's 'The Makers' clip with Ella here.
Hi Madara. What is your background and how did you come to start WYL?
I run WYL [What’s Your Legacy], which is an online platform around sustainability and innovation in the fashion industry. I started WYL back when I was studying at London College of Fashion. After looking at how fashion was made, I knew that if I wanted to get into this industry, I had to work on improving it and innovate on how things have been done thus far. My background is in fashion photography and videography but I like to say that I double in doing anything that needs to get done.
Can you tell us, what is WYL's legacy?
I hope to show that the right choice is also the best choice meaning that you can build a successful business while also having a good impact on the planet and people living in it. I think people often feel that if you want to create a business it instantly means sacrificing your values towards the environment or humans, or because you want to be sustainable you should move away from capitalism and making money. However, in my opinion, we need more entrepreneurs starting businesses that not only create amazing products or offer a great service, but from the start have sustainability as their core value so we can create a world that makes it easy for consumers to have a good impact in their everyday lives. I believe that people want to do good but it has to be easy and accessible for them. I hope that I am building a platform that helps people to easily make more sustainable choices and inspires others to create businesses which have a positive impact.
What do you think is the main role of sustainability in fashion and accessories?
I personally look at the two main sides; the ethical and environmental. For the ethical side, I would look at who makes the garments/accessories and if the people are treated well, receive benefits and are paid fairly for their work. And then on the environmental side, I look at the materials, processes and business models used. This means not only using sustainable materials but also optimising the whole supply chain from water treatments and use of renewable energy to waste optimisation and circular design.
How did you start the WYL project and what does it consist of?
Through one of my projects at London College of Fashion I looked into the behind-the-scenes of fashion, and even though we all know the industry has some problems, after doing my research I couldn’t go back to the way I was once shopping. So then and there I decided to start shopping sustainably. I googled sustainable fashion and when I looked at Google images I would see slogan t-shirts (and not the cute kind!) and ‘green clothing’ and my first reaction was, I’m not wearing that. But after more research I started to find some cool brands like Reformation. So I knew if I had this problem, more people would be having the same issues as well. Therefore, WYL was started as an online magazine to give a platform to brands that created beautiful garments that are also sustainable. Soon after, I started to get questions from people about where I was shopping, so I created a Sustainable Brand Directory to have a space where people could find all these brands in one place. WYL's online brand directory now has more than 300 sustainable fashion brands.
What would you like to achieve through WYL and this movement?
I would like to help in creating a more sustainable world within the framework of a circular economy, where we not only create products from sustainable materials and with ethical practices, but also to figure out how we can re-use the materials after a consumer has finished using the product, by putting them back into the loop. In this way, creating connected systems that not only moves us away from climate crises but also allows us to create a connected world that allows all of us to thrive. Sounds like a utopia, right, but I really believe that we need to have big goals to actually achieve them.
Visit WYL Store's sustainable brand directory here.
Follow @WYL_store here.