In 1989 Arrogance Accessories was born. Celebrating their 25 Year Anniversary very recently, they’ve been creating hemp bags and accessories that are now being sold in popular high street stores. Read more about our interview with Alf Valora of Arrogance Accessories.
Tell us about family background – geography, culture, language, and religion.
Our family arrived in the UK about 1976 – Indian Ugandan Refugees due to Idi Amin. My Grandfather was a business man in Uganda so naturally he started a business in London where the entire family worked. One of the products we did was handbags, which my mother ran.
About 25 years ago she decided to leave her father’s business and started Arrogance Accessories Ltd. My brother and I have worked with her since she started the company.
We specialize in Leather bags made in India and this brought us great success. As the business grew, we had a long list of clients, the likes of Harrods, Selfridges, Makro etc. Most of the major high street stores we have supplied.
A few years later, we were introduced to Hemp by a German company. We decided that this will be the way forward and started working with one family run factory in China, where we sourced the hemp and manufactured Sativa Hemp Bags.
How did you get interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?
We knew about Hemp, but never worked with it. But once we started researching into its amazing qualities, it was a no brainer to push this material. We ended up being the first company to supply hemp bags to WWF, Amnesty International, now supply to companies all over the world.
What seems like the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion designers and companies?
It shows that things can be produced using such materials without losing any fashion, functionality, practical and value for money products.
What is Arrogance Accessories?
Arrogance accessories is a family Run business that conforms to all ethical practices in terms of staff, wages, suppliers who we work with, ensure that all practices are fair and people get paid accordingly.
What inspired the title of the organization?
My university friends were chatting about what we should call my mother’s new business and someone pointed out a friend’s personality – arrogant, that moved on to Arrogance Accessories Ltd, also we wanted to be letter A in the directory.
What are some of its feature products?
Bags, Luggage and Trainers.
What are the main fibres and fabrics used in the products?
55% Hemp/45% Organic Cotton.
Who grows, harvests, designs, and manufactures the products of Arrogance Accessories?
Material made in China along with the bags, I design the range.
Why should ethical and sustainable (and other) fashion designers and companies include the Triple Bottom Line analysis in individual and business performance?
Simply to help the planet and it’s a must that these practices are kept up.
What is the relationship between the need to implement women’s rights and children’s rights, and the fashion industry?
It’s a must to strive for better practices to improve their lives, or else what is the point.
How can individuals get the word out about these extreme children’s rights violations?
Mention it on their products, obvious marketing channels.
How can individuals, designers, fashion industries, and consumers begin to work to implement those rights so that these vulnerable populations, women and children, in many countries of the world have better quality of life?
Forcing the prices points up and setting an ethical margin to be made, i.e. buy at fair prices and sell at fair prices, don’t squeeze the bottom line.
From personal observations, more women than men involve themselves in the fashion industry by a vast margin of difference at most levels. Why?
Not enough is being done at schools to push young boys into the fashion industry.
Also, more men than women appear at the highest ends of the business ladder in fashion. Why?
They probably worked in the business and did not have time off for having children, bringing a family up and so on, which, in general, women have been seen to take.
Will having men in the discussion and on-the-ground improve the implementation of children’s and women’s rights?
What personal fulfillment comes from this work for you?
Seeing people happy from the start process to the end consumer buying your product and enjoying it.
What seems like the greatest emotional struggle in personal life for you?
Paving a good future for my Child.
What philosophy makes most sense of life to you?
Thank you for your time, Alf.