Meet the women who quit fast fashion to start sustainable brands

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I’ve been a buyer for about 20 years and in that time I’ve worked for big-name high-street brands, such as Topshop, Office and, most recently, Warehouse. I grew up in that culture of fast fashion, where you buy a new top to go to the pub on a Friday night, and my job was essentially fuelling that need to buy more.

I’ve always sold on eBay and at car boots or donated my old clothes to charity shops – I never threw clothes away. I started You Have Found as a side hustle when I was at Warehouse. I had a load of vintage pieces I’d picked up over the years, but they felt too special to sell on eBay or at boot sales.

At work, we were being challenged more and more about sustainability, but when you work for a big company that has margins and targets, then being sustainable is really difficult. Even when I worked on sustainable collections, I was conscious that they would arrive wrapped in plastic.

When Warehouse went into administration, I was made redundant and decided to concentrate on You Have Found. It gave me the opportunity to tackle all the things that were bothering me about working in fast fashion. For example, all our packaging is biodegradable and recyclable, while my business cards are made from recycled T-shirts.

To me it’s not so much about people shopping in Primark and Zara, but about making considered choices and wearing it more than once or twice.

I know a lot of people are put off vintage shopping because it can be quite overwhelming, so I really wanted to offer a premium service, where I source and create a collection of staple pieces that are modern and relevant, and that will work for years to come.

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