It all started with a plain black tee. 

Well, sort of.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a fashion designer. My mum owned her own business designing and making wedding dresses so I only have her to blame for my desire to create - you could say it’s literally been sewn into the very fabric of my being.

Of course, I had to pursue this dream. After graduating, I landed a job as a footwear designer in New Zealand for two years and then went on to work for Jimmy Choo.

During these three years, I was lucky enough to experience the industry at all levels, from high street to high end. However, during my frequent trips to factories in the Far East to source materials, I instantly realised the impact fast fashion has on the environment. I’ve never seen so much pollution in my life.

As we walked up a narrow backstreet near a factory entrance, we were met with towering heaps of off-cuts from the recent production run. Rubber, PU, foam, expanded polystyrene, leather, polyester, insole board, outsole board… you name it, it was there. This was only a few of the many discarded mountains of waste we would see during our travels. All of which contribute to the staggering 12 million tonnes of textile waste thrown into landfills each year. 

I began to grasp the implication of mass-production and the devastating effect it has on our environment.

Sadly, this is only a fraction of the bigger picture. What about the whopping 1 million tonnes of textile waste thrown away by us, the consumer, each year? Or the amount of water polluted by toxic chemicals and dyes used during textile production? (20% of global industrial pollution comes from the dying and production of textiles each year). And what about the billions of people exploited in the process of making fast and cheap fashion?

Something in me shifted. It got me thinking about my purpose in fashion. If I’m honest, I didn’t get much sleep for a really long time.

I knew fashion was where I was meant to be, but I wasn’t going to pursue it at the cost of the earth.

Initially – after conducting research, watching documentaries, reading and learning about the issues surrounding the industry – I attempted to source sustainable clothing for myself. I was just after a plain black t-shirt. Incredibly, I couldn’t find a simple, sustainably-made black Tee anywhere.

I soon realised there weren’t many ethical options out there offering the core essentials every wardrobe is built around. Something clicked into place, and I felt this was a frustration many women were dealing with.

And this is when Zola Amour was born. The very first thing I designed was our ethical black organic cotton and bamboo t-shirt. From there, the collection slowly expanded to ten essential pieces, suitable for all occasions and seasons. I set out to create beautiful clothing that combines both comfort and confidence while being functional.

This has been a journey beyond anything I’ve experienced before. It’s made me question, stand up for what I believe in and realise my own identity as a designer and person.

For a long time, I thought I had to chase the dream of becoming a high-flying fashion designer. Instead, I ended up realising what's more important to me.

Through the creation of clothes that reflect what I believe needs to be the future of fashion, I’ve provided people with a choice. A choice to slow down and buy ethically. Each piece is designed with longevity in mind, handmade using only the best natural materials to ensure you will be able to wear it for many years to come.

Making a real difference is what’s more important to me.

Every day when my team and I design and create an item for Zola Amour, it’s done to the best of our ability while being as kind and considerate to the earth as we can be.

When our customers tell us how they can really feel the quality of our clothes when they wear them, it’s validation we’re closer to achieving what we set out to do.

But, we know this is only the beginning.

We’re striving for a future where sustainable fashion isn’t just a category, it’s simply just how things are. And we won’t stop until this is a reality.

We’d love for you to join us on this mission.