This year for Fashion Revolution week we are shining the light on different individuals who are working to bring change to the fashion ecosystem. Whilst remembering the Rana Plaza incident, we wanted to focus on conscious fashion revolutionaries.
Meet Sabinna Rachminova. Entrepreneur, London College of Fashion lecturer, Forbes 30 under 30 and creator of SABINNA a lifestyle brand based in London. Find out how she is connecting with her customers, pivoting and managing her business during these unsettling times.
How would you describe your current mood?
It's constantly changing. I will be honest: I am torn between feeling anxious and feeling the urge to try out new concepts and change the way we do things. It's not easy to find the right balance.
What effect has Covid 19 had on you and your business?
SABINNA offers conscious products and experiences, such as handicraft workshops and networking events for example. Due to the virus outbreak, we had to cancel all our offline events. We could also see the number of sales going down, as fewer people are currently buying clothes.
What effect had Covid 19 had on your supply chain?
We produce everything locally so the important part was to have a transparent conversation with all our manufacturing partners and see how we can go through these uncertain times together. We postponed some orders but didn't cancel any.
What has been the biggest challenge during this period of lockdown?
To stay focused and keep going.
What have you done during lockdown to innovate?
Our first task was to move the offline experiences to our online spaces. We are now offering online workshops and you can shop all required materials on our website. This way we can help our business to survive as well as give our community a therapeutic task that is very much needed at the moment. The response from our community has been overwhelming and we are very touched by the support.
We also changed our social media and newsletter content, focusing on positive news and trying to help our community to keep their spirits up in these very difficult times.
What small act of kindness has someone shown you or that you have shown someone during the lockdown?
So many! We had people ordering t-shirts for their friends, who are in self-isolation and asking us to write little notes of encouragement for them to cheer them up. It really touched us. We also include positive hand written notes from the SABINNA team with every order we ship and from this week on we also started to include free masks that are made out of our own off cuts, as in some countries you have to wear them when leaving the house.
How do you think this crisis will affect the fashion industry?
It will affect the industry on many levels and in many different ways. But we shouldn't compare small and independent businesses to the big players of this industry - the challenges are different for different types of businesses.
I am sure the supply chains will change, digital tools will be used in a new and smarter way and the experience factor for the customer will play an even bigger role. In general, I think businesses should be aware that they will be judged by the way they are behaving now, during the pandemic. People will remember who refused to pay for orders and let their factories down, what big companies refused to pay their retail rent (even though they could have afforded to do so) and who once again decided to put profit over people.
How do you think you will need to do things differently in your business post lockdown?
We are living through uncertain and eventful times and no one can tell how life will look like when this is all over. Now it's more important than ever to support small, local and independent businesses. This situation is scary but it can also be seen as an opportunity to rethink the way we live and consume. This is a chance for both - the industry and us as human beings - to become more conscious and empathic.
What would you advise our followers to keep their spirits up during lockdown?
Take one day at a time - this is what I am trying to do. And definitely do things that make you feel good - not the things that other people do on social media. If your thing is to bake, go for it! If it's handcraft, amazing! And if you prefer to do absolutely nothing, then this is absolutely acceptable. We never experienced times like these before and therefore no one really knows what to do. It's ok to feel scared and it's ok to have good and bad days.
#fashionrevolution#whomademyclothes#slowfashion #sustainablefashion #fairfashion #strongertogether #sabinna #fairtrade #responsiblefashion #bethechange #consciousconsumer #shoplocal #recycle #vintageclothing #reuse #fashrev #circular #fashion #clothesswap #globalfashionexchange
Learn more about Sabinna's work
Check out Sabinna's Instagram
Learn more about Fashion Revolution here