Our Story

You've seen the documentaries (a true cost movie). You've read the news articles (fashionrevolution.org). You know the problem. This is my experience of the mass production fashion industry and how it gave me the drive to change fashion from the inside.

The plane touched down in Hong Kong airport early on a mid-November morning. I took in my view of China for the very first time to see a thick, hot, fog...I thought to myself. 'Wow, what a misty morning, I wonder when it will clear?!'

It was upon my arrival in Dong Guan that I realised that the mist wasn't going to clear and that it was in fact pollution.

It didn't take long for me to figure out the cause of this strange mist...

The next day after passing hundreds of towering, tiled factories. We drove underneath a fantastic Chinese gate, the entrance to the old village. Winding down the old narrow streets they stopped outside a factory in the process of being built, propped up with hundreds of sticks of bamboo.

We got out the car and passed what would've once been a picturesque river. Or at least I thought it was a river, it had now succumb to pollution caused by quick mass-development and was full of piles of floating rubbish, plastic, materials, crisp packets, paper, you name it, it was in there! After looking disgustedly at it for a few seconds, I saw something move out the corner of my eye, and realised..'Argh! A rat!'

We walked up to the tiny back street factory entrance and were met with an enormous pile of off-cuts from the recent production run. Rubber, PU, foam, expanded polystyrene, leather, polyester, insole board, outsole board and much, much more. This was the first one of many discarded material mountains that I was to see in my time travelling to the far east. All of which I am sure, ended up contributing to the 12 million tonnes of textile waste that ends up in landfills each year.

It was on these trips to the Far East that I began to understand the implication of mass-production and the devastating effect that it is having on our environment.

Sadly, this is a small view of what the bigger picture is and doesn't consider the whopping 1 million tonnes textile waste that gets thrown away by us, the 'consumers', each year. It also doesn't consider the amount of water gets permanently polluted through textile production per year (20% of global industrial pollution comes from the dying and production of textiles each year). As well as the billions of people exploited in the process of making these cheap, fast fashion items.

After spending 5 years working as a fashion designer. I have been fortunate enough to experience the industry at all levels, from high street to high end. My experience taught me that all designs are created to become 'redundant', to date and be disposed of. Something which began to gnaw away internally and caused a contradiction between my personal morals and the morals within my career.

Something had to change! I could no longer feel comfortable contributing to this industry as it is, both as a consumer and designer. I decided to make the change and in June 2016, Zola was born.

My aim with Zola is to change consumer perspectives. To create sustainable items of clothing, ethically, that meet strict criteria with certifications to ensure that they are natural/ organic and that their environmental impact is a low as possible. Not only that, but I wish to ensure that everything produced, has been carefully designed, whilst considering the longevity of use for each piece. Each piece is made out of the best quality fabrics and finished to the highest standard, to ensure that it will last and be able to be loved for years.

I believe that a change is coming, that people are waking up, wanting better for our world and are consciously choosing to save it, not destroy it.

Join us in being the change...

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Video clip of Emily, Owner, Creative Director and Designer talking about the dangers of mass-production, her experiences in the industry and what provoked her to start Zola.

Talking during 'Fashion Revolution Week' April 2017.