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Why you should 'Shop Fierce and Female' this Christmas

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by Startacus Admin

Age of Reason
The Shop Fierce and Female campaign, (#ShopFierceandFemale) spearheaded by interiors and fashion brand, Age of Reason, is encouraging the public to buy from independent, female-led brands this Christmas.

Care of Startacus, Sophie Turton, director of The Joyful Web, caught up with Ali Mapletoft, designer at Age of Reason, about the inspiration behind the campaign. 

What is the message of the shop fierce and female campaign?

For our followers to be empowered to make strong, bold purchasing choices that make a positive difference in the world. The Shop Fierce and Female campaignmessage is that you can have it all - beautiful, brilliant products, design with meaning, purpose and an empowered work force. 

Why is this important?  

We are in an exciting phase of female empowerment.  Some of the most interesting products and design are coming out of female led brands.  Many people, men and women alike, are keen to support female brands but are not sure how to find them. Our Fierce and Female Christmas is a way of pointing to a small group of amazing female-led brands, and encouraging us all to look further and find more ourselves.  

What is the impact of the fashion industry's approach to mass production?

Fast fashion does just that - it produces a lot of stuff quickly - and cheaply. Items become throwaway - worn once or twice before losing shape or starting to bobble, then being thrown out.  There’s such an excess of charity shop clothing that much of it actually rots away in open markets and warehouses overseas because there’s more throwaway clothing than the charity shop market can absorb. That’s pretty shocking, but we can make positive changes together! 

How would shopping at independent brands help to change this? 

The independent brands we’ve chosen for Fierce and Female Christmas mostly use small scale local manufacturers - producing what they can in a sustainable way where workers are paid a fair amount for each item produced. 

There’s definitely an argument for savouring the art of shopping and enjoying independent brands the way you’d enjoy a special wine or food- it’s a rare thing to be appreciated. I love to remember the exact circumstances of each purchase- why I bought it, how I was feeling, what it meant to me. We have so many choices now online, it makes sense to choose well. As Dame Vivienne Westwood said “Buy less, choose well. Make it last”

Have you always shopped independent? 

No, not at all, I used to be addicted to high street brands! But I set myself a challenge and it changed everything. 

Between 2014-2015 I only bought items of clothing and accessories if I could meet the makers- Jeweller Jessica De Lotz, who’s Shop Fierce and Female Campaignon the Fierce and Female list, was one the people I met and I’ve been a customer ever since. By 2015 I was back to shopping online, but my buying habits had been altered so much away from fast fashion, and towards quality items, that I was only buying 3-4 pieces of clothing and accessories per season.  

When I compared notes with a friend who was still buying fast fashion- and throwing it out just as fast- we found that I was spending £600-800 a season on timeless quality pieces from designers, while she was spending around £1,500 a season on high street clothes that mostly lived in the boot of her car, en-route to the charity shop.

I still have almost all my things, and I’ve just sent my favourite jeans away to an independent seamstress to be mended with visible stitching. Continuing the story has become part of the fun for me and its informed the way I design for Age of Reason.  

Who else is involved in the Fierce and Female Christmas campaign?

We featured Ellie Mac Embroidery, Kemi Telford, Anna Hayman Designs, Bell and Fox, Laurie Lee Leather, Pam Glew Art, Jessica De Lotz, Lynne Meek of Styling Matters, Steph of Don’t Buy Her Flowers and Genevive Sweeney Knitwear.

Why did you decide to team up with other female brands? Aren't they your competition?

My belief is that we are stronger together. I would define these brands less as competition, more as part of a community. Each brand brings their own unique footprint - introducing customers to likeminded brands can only be a good thing. When I interviewed some of the women behind the brands I was struck by their heartfelt answers, which really spoke of an emotional Age of Reason Studiosconnection to their customers. This is what Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers said about her gift hampers: 

"We started as gifts for new mums and since then we’ve expanded to cover all occasions when someone needs some TLC - get well, bereavement, birthday, even ‘sorry you’ve had a rubbish week’. But the core idea is about being thoughtful and letting someone know they’re loved.” 

What do you hope will be the impact of this message going forward? 

That there is a seam of immense female talent running through British design and retail. By buying with care we can all make the world a better place. There’s also a feeling that as female designers and customers we have come of age, we know ourselves. This is what designer Yvonne Telford of Kemi Telford told me about her own personal style  

"Confidence is what inspires me to buy and wear what I wear. With age, I have come to understand my body shape, how to love it and dress it. “ 

We’ve had a fantastic response to the campaign already with women and men buying gifts. It's no exaggeration when people say that independent designers do a happy dance every time someone places an order. Creating something beautiful out of nothing and seeing it go out into the world as a gift is a great honour, and something I never tire of! 

Check out the full, fierce Christmas gift list here#ShopFierceandFemale
Shop Fierce and Female campaign

If you like this retail focused feature, you might also want to read our recent article - Independent Derry makes shopping a local affair.

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Published on: 12th December 2017

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