“One piece of clothing at a time of SL.AM LDN will change the world.”
SL.AM LDN is an environmentally friendly fashion brand with deep meaning that is just launching now. It’s founders, Safia Mushtaq and Amadeus Lombardi, are current Hult students at the UG London campus. We interview them to discover more about their sustainable business idea.
The Courage: How did you come up with the idea for your fashion brand?
SL.AM LDN: Since I started studying last year in London, I invested my free time in finding out what are the primary industries harming our globe, our nature, flora and fauna and came to a clear conclusion: that the fashion industry plays a big role.
If you actually invest some more time in this aspect, you will find out that not all the fashion industry harm the planet, but more the so-called ‘fast-fashion,’ which has a massive influence on nature. Fast-fashion can be seen as fashion which gets sold very cheaply, overproduces and is only looking for profit. So, I thought about how slow-fashion, which is more about urban looks, but therefore environmentally friendly, can change the perception of the industry.
Unfortunately, not a lot of slow-fashion businesses start producing, as the work to actually achieve an environmentally friendly product is way higher than just selling China wear. Additionally, the businesses are producing fashion which is very specific and supports a lot of urban styles, which not everybody prefers. Therefore, I decided to try and produce fashion, which can be worn by everybody, which is timeless and which supports the newest trends in the fashion industry.
C: What makes your clothes different?
S: SL.AM LDN clothing is produced in an eco-friendly way, which is saving the environment of getting polluted in a worse way, as well as raising awareness about social issues. It is a clothing company which is bringing the world together.
More convincingly, the clothing is made out of high-quality materials, which have a long lifecycle and are very comfortable to wear on a day to day basis. The clothing is produced in on a high hygienic standard and is part of the change the fashion industry is going through, the change everybody has waited for and the change which is helping the environment to survive. We want to encourage every Hult student, to not buy from us because we are Hult Students, but also to understand the urgency in the situation we are trying to change. There needs to be a change, and we are giving everything to start the shift towards sustainable fashion successfully.
C: Why that name?
S: The name is standing for Slums in India, which we, at one point in time, would like to support not only financially, but also with opportunities, friendships and most importantly love and appreciation for their being. Furthermore, it also has to do with branding and is, therefore, standing for the initials of the two founders, Safia Mushtaq and Amadeus Lombardi.
C: How does your production work?
S: The clothing gets produced individually. This means that we are not supporting any mass-production but we are producing per order. This means that it can take a few more days after you purchased something to actually have it in your hands, but you can be sure that the product was produced individually only for you. Additionally, we are looking for global cooperation with clubs, non-profit companies, and organizations which we will partner up with to increase awareness about the brand and the work we are doing.
All the packaging required when giving our customers their order is recycled, such as recycled paper bags, envelops, and so on. We have already taken our first step towards less wastage and towards a healthier planet and plan to do a lot more. We will be launching our website soon where customers will be able to shop online and with this, we hope to reach an international audience hoping to raise awareness om the ecological and social problems affecting our world to the day. In collaboration with other organizations who have more experience, we will be able to have better outreach and a positive impact on the community.
C: Where does the material come from?
S: SL.AM LDN is an environmentally friendly fashion company and therefore selects materials very much based on the background of it. The materials are coming from Europe and also the way we are using them in our products is eco-friendly. For example, we use cotton, which can be recycled, as well as polyester, which is mainly coming from recycled plastic. Polyester and viscose are very important materials in clothing, especially when it is something to stretch, as the lifecycle gets longer and the feeling of wearing it is nicer. However, if you find good quality cotton, which can be recycled, you can also try to only use cotton, as we are using in our t-shirt section. However, the materials are all recycled and can again be recycled after we used them for our clothing.
C: Where do you manufacture them?
S: Our manufacturing is taking place in Europe. The clothing gets produced in different production houses, but all are made in Europe. The advantages of manufacturing in Europe is that you do not need to be afraid to in any way about being support child labour, as well as you can be sure, that it gets produced in a hygienic and clean way. Additionally, the working environment for the employees is way better and way safer than in other parts of the world. This was from the beginning very important for me and for the business, and I am very proud that we actually were able to convert it into reality.
C: Where do you get inspiration from for your designs?
S: Our designs are inspired, of course, by the latest fashion trends, but more importantly, also by statements. The design of a clothing piece can take weeks, as we always search for a meaning behind each design. We do not want to add a design to a clothing piece but deliver a message with each and every piece of clothing. This also includes doing research, developing strategies of how we could address people with different designs and what kind of message it will send. There is not really one place we get inspired from, as we want to be individualistic and not copy other designers, but we are always looking out for a powerful, eye-opening and inspiring message for the designs.
C: What’s your projection for the future?
S: As we are a slow fashion company, this doesn’t necessarily mean that our steps towards having international appearance will also be slow, and therefore we are concentrating, to not only partner up with different influencers, but to also search for collaborations with organizations on a global basis. Concerning shops, we thought about to have pop-up stores in the near future, just so we can raise awareness about the brand and about our work.
In the future we will also look forward to expanding our operations to a team working with us, to create, distribute, market, finance and organize the business operations to a more professional and international standard.
We hope that we were truly able to make a difference for our community and as well as our planet, but what we also hope to have achieved is to have inspired others to step up and do their share to make this world a better place. With this, we would know that we have truly made a difference.
C: How you see your company in 5 years?
S: In 5 years, I see SL.AM LDN, as a standard for everybody. The goal is to create more designs and clothing styles that actually suit everybody.
Additionally, we want to get in contact with global organisations for social projects, where SL.AM LDN will help to raise awareness about social and also environmental issues. We are already in contact with organisations, such as Miss Scuba India, where we will try to help them with beach clean-ups and ocean clean-ups in the future. Also, we want to get in contact with organisations supporting Slums in India, as this is also part of the brands’ name. There we would love to support children, to be able to go to school, decrease the poverty rate and help to give these people a direction in life, by supporting them not only financially, but also with opportunities, friendships and most importantly love and appreciation for their being.
C: What’s your target?
S: The companies target is to raise awareness about social and environmental issues on this plant, by delivering a message with each and every design the company is bringing out there. We want to change the perception of people towards other cultures, religions, and way of thinking, to make sure that the world gets accepting of each other. We know that this is a very high goal we are setting to ourselves, but we are more than convinced, that for us it will be possible to achieve it in a way, of influencing a lot of minds around the planet.
The second target we have set ourselves is to change the perception of fashion. We think it is very important to deliver the message that fashion can also be sustainable. We need to understand, that cheap-selling companies who are producing in mass are polluting our oceans, the natural ground, and are exploiting natural resources, by only offering lower prices than other companies.
C: How do you think Hult can help you?
S: HULT International Business School is such an international university, with so many people coming from different parts of the world, from different cultures and religions, and still, I think that at Hult we have an understanding and accepting environment. I never saw any racism, hatred or unappreciation, and I think that Hult, therefore, is a role model for the rest of the world.
We students, and also the faculty and all the employees understand that there are different people, with different backgrounds, but still, understand each and every individual. Every student will at one point get released into real life, and taking these attributes with them will in small parts, and maybe only small steps, contribute to the social freedom on this planet. This is something the rest of the world should adapt to. Additionally, we think that Hult students have such a hunger to create something, to work hard for their goals.Therefore, I think that Hult offers a possibility for SL.AM LDN to get internationally known, and to build globally on the ground we offer with the brand.
C: What’s the message you want to give to the readers?
S: The message we want to deliver to the readers and also to the whole world is that we are one big family. No one of us has any right to be unaccepting of somebody else, and all of us have our own unique way of looking, living, and believing. It is so important that we all come together as one big crowd of people and to love each other in an appreciating way. We have so much power and creativity, hunger for creating and for having more, and this we should use, to not only save ourselves but to also save the planet, which is giving us the unique opportunity to live the life we are living.
C: Tell us something you would like everyone to know.
S: We want to thank you in advance, to help us grow and more importantly, to give your part towards a cleaner, environmentally friendlier fashion company. We are very thankful for the opportunity we have here at Hult, and we are certain that you are going to hear about us in the future.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!