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Emily and Melissa started their journey towards Leo Strange in very different places and were brought together by truly serendipitous experiences in India. After hearing their story and seeing their samples, its hard to believe they only met a few months ago.

Emily © 2017 Zev Weinstein

Emily has over 10 years experience in the fashion industry, predominately in High Street fashion. During this time she began to realise the serious social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry and started identifying potential areas for change. While in Northeastern India Emily volunteered with a friend’s grassroots educational Charity, the One Love Project, based in Pushkar. Here she met a family that had lost their factory in a fire, and started producing kimonos with them from Sari waste. In this experience Emily saw potential to effect change and became motivated by a desire to work closely with villages in India.

Melissa’s journey with fashion begins at a young age but pauses when her sewing machine catches fire at around the age of sixteen. Following this she spends some time travelling the world and arrived in India, where she opened up a cafe. While running the cafe Melissa worked closely with women in the local community and saw potential for supporting their empowerment through providing employment. This experience of working and living in India inspired her to impact change in these communities through social enterprise. It is also here, surrounded by the amazing textiles traditions of India, that her passion for creating garments was reborn.
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While awareness of the social and environmental cost of fashion and food production and consumption is on the rise, it can often feel like there is a lack of guidance on what actions you can take and where you can find ethical and sustainable products. What stands out in many conversations I have on this topic is a sense of helplessness in the face of injustice, with many people feeling unsure of what to do, and whether their actions actually do make a meaningful impact. The United Nations named 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, which present exciting opportunities for aspiring conscious consumers. Travel combined with making a positive impact on peoples lives and the environment seems like a pretty good formula to counter feelings of helplessness and despondency. (more…)

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