Bibico is an ethical clothing brand reknown for its simple effortless style. Their clothes are made from the best quality natural materials and produced in fair trade cooperatives, certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation. Read more about Bibico with our interview with Snow, Bibico’s founder and designer.
Tell us about yourself – familial/personal story, education, and prior work.
I am a 39-year-old mother of 2 little girls. I come from the north of Spain, but have been living in the UK for the last 10 years. I did my fashion degree in France and worked for major high street brands, including ZARA, for over 12 years before I started with BIBICO on 2008.
How did you get interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?
After working for over 12 years on high street fashion, I got very disappointed on the speed and heartlessness of the fashion world. When I started to work on the fashion business in 1997 with Zara we used to produce 1 collection every 6 months. By the time I finished working for the high street fashion in 2008 for Topshop London, we were producing new collections every week and putting big pressure on price and on the whole production chain….it was too unhuman for me to be part of it so I quit my job in the fashion industry to prove to people that making slow high street fashion at good prices was possible.
How did your educational/professional experience inform fashion work?
I’ve been working in the fashion industry since I was 18. I’ve seen with my own eyes lot’s of changes in the fashion world. The information is there, the problem is some people don’t want to see it….I used to get really down when I was working in London for a major high street brand and used to give instructions to mature Chinese ladies working form a garage in London and getting pay less than £5 per hour
What is the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion designers and companies?
Show to the high street world that ethical fashion is possible. Be transparent and inform people…most of the people don’t know what is behind their clothes…they just consume….we need to educate people….hard work in this high spending society!!!
Who is a personal hero or heroine within the ethical and sustainable fashion world for you?
The ladies that work for us are my heroines…The Spanish lady that set up the cooperative I work with in India. She started to work with underprivileged people in the 60’s…she was the pioneer of the ethical world…She did change the lives of thousands of ladies…
What is BIBICO?
An ethical company that wants to prove to people that every day ethical clothing is possible
What are some of its feature products?
Our hand knitted jumpers are always very popular. I guess it is hard to find a hand knitted jumper out there, and people can really appreciate the amount of work behind one hand knitted jumper…someone has been knitting for 3 to 5 days to finish one jumper, and each piece is unique and made with pure wool……amazing!
What is your customer base – the demographics?
40- to 60-year-old ladies that believe in good quality products and prefer to buy less but good.
Did you have a mentor in this work?
No, I wish I had one. I come from a family of hard working self-employed people, so I guess they were my mentors.
Have you mentored others?
No, but I will do…I think it is amazing to give back…experience is everything…you can learn lots from book, but the advice of someone that comes from the same background is priceless.
What are the importance of mentors in the fashion world for professional, and personal, development?
Always great to have mentors, but they must come from the same background as you, and from a hand-on experience…There are a lot of mentors out there but they are academic mentors…a good mentor is someone that has done it, not someone that has studied it!!!!
From personal observations, more women than men involve themselves in the fashion industry by a vast margin of difference at all levels. Why?
I guess us ladies are more into fashion than men. We like to feel good and look good. And for centuries we have been told to knit, stitch, and fix things around the house…For example, 99% of the knitters that make our hand knitted jumpers come from rural Nepal where knitting has always been a necessity and pastime skill. In Nepal, ladies are knitting everywhere, for the house it is necessity, but also as a pass time craft, chatting with their friends over some tea!!!!
Continued on to part two.