Picture courtesy of Bukola DagilokeMess in Coversation with Bukola Dagiloke, another powerful mind in Sustainability. Daniel Face April 20, 2020 Community, Interview, MESSFashion, Stories Mess Magazine is delighted to reveal another interview with an intrepid entrepreneur of the industry, whose company is re-defining the overall fashion sustainable scene. Her name is Bukola Dagiloke, Founder of Global Fashion Marketplace, the business developing agency which empower and promote ethical brands to compete in the fashion marketplace worldwide. Daniel: Hello Bukola, initially, I would like to thank you for joining the community of Mess, nonetheless, it is a pleasure to e-meet you and to further discover more about your company. Would you please start to entertain our readers telling a little about yourself and your background in the Fashion industry? Bukola: Hello Daniel and all the Mess community, I am very flattered to joining you today. I would like to begin revealing you that I’m an expert in storytelling and content marketing, my work is focused on helping brands grow. I’ve been into entrepreneurship since 2006, working as a brand consultant and more recently specialising in business innovation and sustainability. Brand and business strategy is what I have been doing with fashion brands since 2016, I help brands construct, maintain and grow their brand message and the Global Fashion Marketplace is focused on supporting brands with ethical and sustainable brand messages. What my work as a brand consultant is all about is unlocking the keys to your brand and providing a solid strategy for business growth. My first experience in the fashion industry was a business I set up when I was 19 years old. It was a fashion accessories brand specialising in importing ethnic jewellery from various cultures around the world. After working in high street retail during university I decided that I’d like to set up my own business in the fashion industry. Can you introduce our readers to Global Fashion Marketplace, your platform, which is currently offering business consultations over this difficult time for the industry? What inspired you and to develop such a forward-thinking company and why? The Global Fashion Marketplace was established in 2016 to help fashion brands reach new international markets and has evolved since its inception. We are now wholeheartedly focused on sustainability and innovation within the fashion industry and have partnered with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to promote responsible consumption and production with a hope that all fashion businesses and consumers will have sustainability embedded into their everyday lives by 2030. What inspired the work at the Global Fashion Marketplace has really been a journey into problem solving and discovering the immediate needs of the industry. I’ve known for a long time that the sustainability issues in the fashion industry are huge and the imminent impact on the environment will be catastrophic. I’ve been sounding the alarm on this issue for a number of years looking at how new technologies can have a positive impact on the sustainability and productivity of fashion businesses worldwide. What is your company’s mission? And what principles of fashion sustainability makes the platform unique among others in the industry? The passion that drives us forward daily is seeing ethical brands succeed internationally. Global Fashion Marketplace is all about strategy and innovation. We understand the frustrations of sustainable fashion brands and we understand the challenges of established brands that want to move to more sustainable processes. Supporting our clients to solve problems in their business and communicate their value to customers based on sustainable business practices is what makes us unique as a consulting agency. What’s the most challenging thing about running a sustainable business? I would say transparency is the biggest challenge to sustainability particularly in the fashion industry where there are so many gremlins in the supply chain. Honesty is what consumers are looking for and it is challenging to be honest about every aspect of your business, especially the questionable things that might be associated by default that is beyond your control as a brand. What, in your opinion, are the keys to succeed in fashion sustainability? The keys to succeed in building a sustainable brand is to ask the right questions. Particularly about your products, how are they made, who made them, what materials are used, how will the product be disposed of at the end of the life of this product, also how will you support your customer to take care of your products. This is really important for sustainability as responsibility not only lies with the brands that sell and create the products but also with their customers and how they use and dispose of products. Waste and overconsumption are really big sustainability issues that the fashion industry is facing right now. Everyone has an unexpected belief – or a different way of defining sustainability. What does fashion sustainability mean to you? What do you consider to be sustainable that others might not? I’d definitely say sustainability is a journey there is no blue tick for sustainability especially when it comes to fashion. If you are progressively moving your business away from unethical and unsustainable processes and you can see that you can improve productivity and profit without harming the environment even in small increments gradually you are becoming sustainable. This is not an excuse for greenwashing but 10% sustainable is better than nothing as I don’t believe we are at a stage in the industry for every business to become 100% sustainable but if everyone improved by 10% we would definitely be making progress as a global effort. What is something you wish people knew about sustainable fashion? Productivity is about useful outputs and these “useful outputs” are the important piece of the sustainability equation today. As we move forward in the coming years being productive and being sustainable, now means the same thing to produce just enough – not excess or waste as a result of the changing consumer habits we have been experiencing in recent weeks. Do you think that the industry’s crisis caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 might bring the industry to another level of sustainability? For instance, would you expect your clients to step forward into an eco-responsible fashion world? Since the pandemic crisis it’s becoming clearer that this pause in the fashion industry will yield good results in the long term. I think there is an opportunity for brands to start looking at what technology solutions and innovations are available to them and start to take action to test and implement new processes.It’s a time to reset and rethink their businesses, working through the current challenges we are facing. As a result of this global crisis it is good that the industry slows down with an opportunity to reflect. Conscious and sustainable fashion should now be on every business agenda. The barriers and challenges of the old way of doing business have been taken away and new opportunities are surfacing daily. Which are in your opinion the top brands that are leading the sustainable wave of the industry? Do you believe they are effectively teaching their audiences to be more sustainably conscious? I really like the work Adidas are doing to push the sustainability agenda and impact consumers with brand awareness of the environmental impacts of their fashion choices. As a result of their campaigns many more people became aware of the crisis with plastics in our oceans. There are many more sustainability and environmental issues beyond our oceans and I think brands need to be considering these and how they are going to tackle them and bring their customers on that journey with them. What are the three main key features to become an eco-friendly fashion Victim? I think the concept of being a fashion victim is the problem with society and the current consumerism that the fashion industry is used to pushing forward. To be sustainable is about minimalism and also quality. Consumers still want luxury but products that are meaningful, durable and allow for self-expression enable consumers to choose sustainability. As a consumer I would say the three key features to building a sustainable wardrobe is, 1. buy less, 2. buy quality and 3. learn how to maintain the products you buy so that they last longer in your wardrobe. Why would you recommend our readers to join and follow the community of Global Fashion Marketplace? The Global Fashion Marketplace is a community of forward-thinking innovators with ethics that want to see the fashion industry impacted in a positive way, providing jobs and opportunities with their businesses, supporting livelihoods and communities globally. To conclude, many young entrepreneurs will read and be inspired by our words. What tips would you give to our readers and anyone in the industry who would like to create or expand a sustainable company? Tips for building a sustainable brand are to work on your principles and values and to be fully transparent about your business activities no matter how difficult that might be, consumers appreciate you providing them with the opportunity to make the right choices. One step towards sustainability is a step in the right direction so celebrate your wins with integrity and again be consistently honest about what still needs to be improved.