The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. It doesn’t only contaminate the world, it also contaminates our skin, our largest organ. If we buy clothes made with materials that have been treated with chemicals and pesticides, which were later added other harmful substances so they’ll smell less and look right, what do you think will happen to our skin?
If each of us changed the way in which be shopped, we’d shake the entire value chain and not only save the environment, but also the workers, by taking care of their health.
Every day, from the moment in which we wake up until we go to sleep, we make decisions about our future. All of us, the consumers, are the only ones who can decide how the future of fashion turn out. Whether we buy local organic apples or apples imported from another part of the world. Whether we buy bags and bags of clothes from some cheap store or we get well-selected quality clothes from young brands with new ideas… Whether we think sustainability is important or not… we’re all aware of how much power we have as people.
One of the people who thinks and re-thinks how we can change the world a little to have a better future is Jana Keller, founder of the sustainable fashion brand Royal Blush. She’s a huge influencer in that sense, and that’s why we wanted to interview her.
After 18 years working in the fashion world and 10 years researching sustainability, the creator of Royal Blush has already founded several companies and projects that have positively changed the fashion market. Among them are the brand Royal Blush and the sustainable luxury products fair GreenShowroom, which takes place in Berlin twice a year.
Jana Keller studied the fashion business and then began working as a shopkeeper in department stores. Later, she decided to study fashion design at ESMOD Berlin. When I was presenting my final thesis, my women’s fashion collection got several sponsors committed to fair trade. This positive feedback led me to create my own brand in 2006. In 2009 I founded GreenShowroom with my partner Magdalena Schaffrin. (…) And when I finally decided to make my first presentation at a fair, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fill up the space. I bought tanned vegetable leather to create my first bag collection. And then I realized how little people knew about this material. That made me decide to do something different in the fashion market. And it worked! Jana has just opened another business: her own store, Royal Blush & Friends, in Basel, Switzerland.
My advice is to ask ourselves these questions when we are about to buy something: Where is this from, who made it, what is it made of?
In fact, this is her biggest illusion for the year. We want to excite and inspire people with our super modern sustainable store and replicate this model around the world. Have fun while doing things right!
Jana’s suitcase includes some of her friends’ brands, who are also sustainable fashion designers, such as Johanna Riplinger, 8 Eden Avenue and, of course, Royal Blush. All of these, and many other similar ones, can be found at the new Royal Blush & Friends store.
We like how she talks about her lifestyle. According to Jana, leading a sustainable lifestyle is great, but it doesn’t mean everything needs to be black and white. I grew up making sure no resources were wasted: food, electricity, etc. We eat organic foods, most of them untreated. I love vegan restaurants. But when we travel or eat with friends, it is what it is. I don’t want to complicate my life or that of others by declaring myself prophet of any specific group.
Jana likes deep documentaries. She recommends More than honey and Who killed the electric car, which help open one’s eyes. Like many other designers, she also tells us about The True Cost, a documentary that shows what isn’t seen in the fashion world. It’s a must for anyone interested in the world of fashion – she says– You need to watch this amazing selection at Filme für die Erde.
Jana’s personal goal for Royal Blush is to create products that combine transparency, sustainability and fair trade with a design and quality of the highest level. I call it positive luxury. And we like that name. But this is a different kind of luxury, make no mistake. The current luxury fashion is nothing more than an empty shell based on its brand image. Even though they could choose the best sustainable materials, they still don’t seem to do it, or only do it when it’s convenient. I know this because I’ve worked in some of those first-hand productions. In a specific case, I remember they used imported Chinese pork leather for their shoes’ lining and charged 3 times more than what I charge for mine, and yet I get more expensive materials. It saddens me to see this.
We asked her about how Royal Blush began. I suppose every beginning can be rocky, but it’s overcome by the excitement of the new and unknown. I quit my part-time jobs when Royal Blush turned three. In 2010 my life-long partner, Joe, joined the business. Since then, the brand has grown continuously but in small steps. Opening our own store is a new beginning… that comes with many questions. It’s so exciting!
Of course, it’s not all a bed of roses. Finding the balance between the design and not compromising sustainability is one of the most interesting challenges of sustainable fashion – confesses Jana.
I have no heroes. We’re all heroes and heroines! Anyone who can change the way in which we lead our everyday lives, whether they’re well-known or unknown…
Royal Blush’s latest collection, Fall Winter 2016/2017, which is still in stores, represents an exciting mix between futurism and tradition, sustainability and fashion, business and leisure… It only includes the best fibers, such as alpaca and silk La Paz, tanned vegetable leather and organic salmon, as well as other GOTS or WOTS-certified fabrics, or some which have been directly created by the artisans from the country of origin… This collection is a succession of beautiful stories from beautiful people – says Jana proudly.
The new fashion collection for Spring Summer 2017, called Urban Nature, is about freedom, naturalness, freshness, softness and everything that reminds us of the summer.