Starting a fashion brand is easy! 

But selling to actual consumers is very difficult!

As we all know it is easier than ever to start a brand open a web shop and promote it via Social Media. Unfortunately, there is so much competition and noise that it is getting more and more difficult to built a following of loyal customers you need to be successful with your Ethical Brand. We have sketched out three key questions every aspiring Founder has to answer, and asked some of the most successful female Ethical Fashion Entrepreneurs and Designers combining decades of experience.

But first a short introduction of our experts

Safia Minney People Tree

Safia Minney is a British social entrepreneur and author. She is the founder and CEO of People Tree, a pioneering sustainable and Fair Trade fashion label with a mission to provide customers with beautiful clothes. She is also a well-noted spokesperson and campaigner on Fair Trade and Ethical Fashion. She initiated World Fair Trade Day in 1999 which is endorsed by the World Fair Trade Organization and their members and celebrated on the second Saturday of May each year. Additionally, she  co-wrote the book, Naked Fashion, The Sustainable Fashion Revolution.

Claudia Lanius  As early as 1999 Claudia Lanius brought her vision to mix ecological raw materials with feminine fabrics and silhouettes into life.

Claudia Lanius

In her studio in Cologne she develops twice per year the ideas and concepts, which are then realized by her assistants in loving detail. Organic Fashion Deluxe is the perfect combination of materials, fair working conditions and ambitious cuts and shapes.

Marina Spadafora is an Italian fashion designer.


After moving back to Italy from Hollywood where she has worked as a costume designer, Marina started her brand “Marina Spadafora”. During the 1990s, she got global attention for her collections that featured sophisticated knits. Since then she has collaborated with labels such as Ferragamo, Prada, and Miu Miu.

Marina is currently Designer for ADUM and Altromercato

Question 1:

What would you suggest to a young founder who likes to start an Ethical Fashion Brand or Shop today?

Safia Minney – People Tree

Start with experience in fashion retail not just design or partner with business people with experience and access to finance. 

Claudia Lanius – Lanius

I would suggest creating a strong and compelling concept which includes the product and the marketing strategy. Also look for great staff especially in QA. Network with sustainable Platform

Marina Spadafora – ADUM

My suggestion is to start small and local as much as possible, source organic materials from local manufacturers and attend fairs and try to join up with other like-minded designers to open temporary shops. Have a presence on the Internet it since is the future of sales

Question 2

Which trait is the most relevant  running an Ethical Fashion Brand today?

Safia Minney – People Tree

Persistence and good sense of enterprise & fashion retail & media talent. 

Claudia Lanius – Lanius

You need a “clear face” including State of the Art good design. In our industry, the product is King. Look for an authentic and honest well developed concept.

Marina Spadafora – Designer ADUM

Resilience and Innovation. You have to hang in there even when it looks like nobody cares because you know its the right thing to do. Innovation so that you can renew the look of Fair Trade Fashion with a more Avantgarde Fashion feel

Question 3

If you could start your brand/company again today. What is the one thing you would avoid?

Safia Minney – People Tree

Don’t give all your life to your brand. Always keep something back for yourself. 🙂

Claudia Lanius – Lanius

I would put more work into the details and the overall concept and direction. tart with a unique strong concept as there are so many different brands out there, a flood of brands.

Marina Spadafora – ADUM

I would stir clear of ideology for the sake of it and old fashion green militants because that attitude belongs to the past

If you are an aspiring designer or social entrepreneur, what are the questions that keep you up all night? Just write in the comments section of this post and we will get in touch with Claudia, Marina or Safia and try to answer your question as soon as possible.

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