Our July theme of ecofeminsim has already started a lot of meaningful conversations on consumerism, fast fashion, and how feminism intersects with climate change. We turned to Brighton-based sustainability brand, Revival Collective, to include their beautiful zine inside our Wild Women box for July. We thought it would also be a great insight for you, our lovely subscribers and followers, to see a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes of running an eco-conscious brand. We spoke directly to Hermoine, the creative mind behind Revival Collective, and she answered all of our questions about the inspiring Revival Collective:
What is Revival Collective, in a nutshell?
Revival Collective is an ethical and sustainable fashion, beauty and lifestyle platform. We aim to promote more conscious living by raising awareness of the issues in these industries in an accessible way, and by providing inspiration, suggesting alternatives, and encouraging activism.
So, what does Revival Collective do?
We run our website where we share articles written by us and a group of amazing writers, ranging from think pieces and interviews to outfit inspiration and roundups of our favourite sustainable items. We are all on a journey to be more sustainable and we want to share everything we have learnt along the way with our readers in a fun, accessible way. We also love hosting regular events in our city, Brighton. We’re big on activism but know there are a lot of ways to engage with this, some louder and some quieter – we love the way fashion and creativity can have such a huge impact. This is why we love collaborating with incredible people who share our values, and sell our t-shirts and tote bags with activist slogans and illustrations. We also have two zines that encourage positive change!
What was the motivation to set up Revival Collective?
We were both interested in living more sustainably after we started to learn about the impact different industries have on people, animals and the planet, but were faced with the eternal struggle… how do we find alternatives that we actually want to wear and use, that we like and that fits our budget? There are loads of alternatives out there but many are small brands so they’re hard to find, so often when you start looking things will either be really expensive or just not your style. Plus, how do we know who is really doing some good and who’s just greenwashing? When we first started we were frustrated by the lack of fun, engaging sustainable fashion content for young people on a budget – it was all one style and all pretty luxury and high end. So we decided we wanted to curate an online marketplace for sustainable fashion and lifestyle products that was centered around a blog that helped people make informed choices and become more sustainable in all parts of their life. Basically we’d do all the hard work for you in terms of research, present the issues and give you somewhere to buy alternatives.
You create a lot of content and have so many spinning plates! What have been your challenges so far?
Burnout has been a big one for us. It’s really bloody hard to make money to be able to pay yourself even one day a week to do your passion project. We started with big dreams and a lot of passion… but a non existent budget. We have both been balancing Revival Collective with working full time, which means a lot of 7 day weeks and week nights working late – but we are determined to keep pushing it as not only do we want to devote ourselves full time to a business that we love and 100% believe in, we also know that our mission is an incredibly important one.
How do you think we as individuals can start on a path to a more sustainable life? What are those first baby steps we can take?
Firstly, it’s important to educate yourself on the issues – but obviously there are quite a few, so pick one area of your life you think you’d be able to make switches easily or an area that resonates most with you. In terms of educating yourself, lots of people have shared their journey and a great way to pick up tips is following influencers or bloggers on social media – it’s easy and accessible and they’ve done most of the research for you already. Then just start swapping things out to more sustainable products or practises and incorporating it into your life slowly. So, if you choose to tackle plastic in the bathroom, when you go to buy new choose a shampoo bar or a bamboo toothbrush instead of your usual. If it’s fashion why not see if you can buy something second hand or from a sustainable fashion brand instead of the high street, or get something repaired instead of discarding it. Start with small steps in one area at a time and gradually start to build up – if you try to overhaul your life all at once you might burn out and struggle.
What are the barriers to access that you understand to be in the way of more people being ecofeminists/ living sustainably?
Honestly, so much is against us living more sustainable lives, which seems absolutely bizarre considering that we are currently at a point of climate crisis. The way we consume at the moment is at the expense of our planet and the people who live on it. I think the hardest thing for so many of us living in western societies is that it involves rethinking the things that we have taken for granted and didn’t even question before someone pointed out. We also have to educate ourselves on environmental issues that aren’t made very obvious to us and also change our perceptions of price and the ‘true cost’ of so many items we are used to being a certain price. We have to stop, rethink and literally go out of our way to change our habits. Not everyone has access to a bulk store to buy loose grains from because these aren’t super common in every city or town, vegetables in the supermarket not in plastic are more expensive (if that’s an option at all), generally just the easiest to find and cheapest options usually have a high cost to the planet. Also getting an item repaired isn’t always cheaper than buying a whole new item in lots of instances. This is completely ridiculous. The main thing is just the time involved in researching topics, finding out what’s best to buy, where you can get it, then often going out of your way to go there, and not everyone has the time.
There’s such a pressure for people to go completely plastic free all at once; but obviously this is just a bit misleading from mixed media messages and some consumer advertising. How would you say we can start on an SUP-free journey?
Oh my goodness, it’s so hard for a normal person with a busy life to go completely single use plastic free. It’s not made very easy for us. Our advice would just to choose plastic free options whenever you can. Focus on the things that are easy like having a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, taking your own reusable bags to the shop and choosing loose fruit and vegetables where you can. Other things include making food at home from scratch, which saves you money and means you stop buying things like meal deals or pre-prepared and packaged foods. If you can’t buy plastic free then don’t beat yourself up – take it slow, choose one thing to tackle at a time, keep working at it and try your best. It’s still going to make an impact. Also support campaigns that are pressuring big corporations to start taking responsibility and moving away from SUP wherever possible.
So, in your opinion, why do ecofeminism and sustainability go hand in hand?
The environment is an issue for feminism, especially intersectional feminism. The climate crisis affects all of us. The damage we are doing to the environment through our consumption in western societies has big impacts on people all around the world, including women, who often live much more sustainable lives than us. We are dumping our unsustainable practises on them – whether that’s sending our landfill to other countries, our plastic washing up on their beaches or the effects of climate change on their ability to farm effectively. Most of the people who sew clothing in the fast fashion industry are women, so by purchasing these products you’re funding an industry that disproportionately negatively impacts women. Feminism is about standing up for everyone, not just the people in our own lives, so we need to remember the impact we have in places in the world we don’t see ourselves.
We are so inspired by what you’re achieving right now, but we’d love to know what your aspirations are for the future of Revival Collective?
At the end of 2018 we launched our first product line, which is a range of ethically and sustainably produced t-shirts and tote bags with illustrations and slogans, and we’ve built on that range with more designs and with our two zines. This year we’re hoping to expand our product line by stocking some of our favourite sustainable living accessories. We’ve already got the wheels in motion for this and we’ll be timing the launch of the new line along with an exciting rebrand of our website. Looking further than the year ahead, we want to keep expanding our product range and keep growing so we can find the best fashion pieces, the best beauty products, and the best lifestyle accessories and put them all in one place, to make it easier for people to buy great sustainable alternatives. Plus I’m sure we’ll be writing loads more content and putting on a lot more events along the way!
Thank you so much to Hermoine for answering our questions about sustainable fashion and living ethically, and to co-founder, Harriet in being part of making this collaboration happen! If you’d like to find out more about Revival Collective, check out their social media via @revival.collective, where you can find links to all their projects!