We recently had the pleasure of talking with Ethical fashion advocate, writer and founder of Ethical Influencers, Besma Whayeb. I highly recommend visiting Besma's blog where she writes about everything from sustainable fashion, to clean beauty and low impact living. Recently Besma shook up the fashion industry with an eye- opening article, calling out 70+ fashion brands on their not so ethical practices.
We have collaborated with Besma on many occasions so it was lovely to sit down, hear her journey into ethical fashion, gain top tips to get started on your slow fashion journey and hear her ANUKA Stories!
I would love to learn more about your background, how did you get into blogging about ethical fashion and then going on to start Ethical Influencers?
I started writing in 2014, and if I’m honest I was initially focused on sustainable food. I’d been living in Paris (as part of my degree) and realised my relationship with food could do with improving, so I started learning French cooking and the importance of provenance. That same scrutiny then fell upon my wardrobe and so my journey into ethical fashion began! Now I’m delighted to be writing guides to sustainable fashion, lifestyle, and more, while also supporting 700+ creatives do the same through the Ethical Influencers community.
Has slow fashion changed your style?
Yes, it really has. I now look for a good set of values with the brands that I shop with, as well as sustainable fabrics, good quality clothing, and of course, second-hand and vintage finds!
Could you share your key tips for people just starting out on their slow fashion journey?
Yes! I recommend getting to know the real fashion industry, i.e. that each piece of clothing is made by hand, with thousands of workers being treated poorly, and with awful consequences for the environment too. Watch The True Cost documentary, or Riverblue to see what it’s like. At the same time, get to know your style - what do you like? What looks good on you? How can you replicate that using second-hand and sustainable fashion? And can you get more creative with your wardrobe, rather than shopping for new looks?
We’ve just launched #ANUKAstories, a space to share the stories behind some of our most sentimental pieces. Could you talk us through a particular piece from your own jewellery collection you wouldn’t be without?
I love the sound of that - jewellery is very sentimental to me, and my most beloved piece has to be a gold necklace with key emblem that my parents gifted to me on my 18th. My mum has her own version, and I hope to continue the tradition too.
Do you have a go to everyday piece of jewellery?
I wear a pair of chubby gold hoops most of the time - they go with everything and they’re so easy to wear!
Favourite ANUKA piece?
My current favourite is my Single Twist Ring, which goes well with a few other gold rings I’ve collected over time and like to decorate my hands with. At the same time, I love my gold drop necklace, which first made an appearance on a special date night with my boyfriend!
If you were to create a bespoke piece of jewellery, what would you want to create?
I would love to create a set of gold medallion necklaces for myself and my three best girl friends.
Could you share some resources you’ve found useful on your ethical fashion journey? (books, Films etc)
Aside from the aforementioned films, I’d recommend reading The Curated Closet by Anushka Rees, which helped me to hone in on my style and what fits my figure, A Life Less Throwaway by Tara Button, which explores why trends create waste (and how to transcend them), Dressed by Shahidha Bari which explores fashion history and personal expression, as well as resources on Fashion Revolution, Slow Factory, and so many other online blogs and sites.
What podcast are you currently listening to?
The Guilty Feminist has been a long-time favourite of mine!
And finally, Fairmined gold or 100% recycled silver?
While I wear gold more than silver, in this case 100% recycled silver. Let’s make things circular.