Welcome to the Ethical Fashion Agency’s blog. What better way to start the blog than by telling you a little bit more about us?
You might have read the story of our business in the About Us section, but here you can find the story of how our founder, Maira Bay, started her passion for fashion:
As with so many stories of my life, it all started with my mother. She was an Art professor, Art critic and also helped start a fashion school in the University where she taught. She was passionate about aesthetics and education. When we lived in England and later in Wales, we travelled around Europe visiting countless museums, cathedrals and other amazing architectural landmarks (my father is an architect, so you can see how much this family was into art!) I learned a lot about fine art from her, and inherited her passion (as well as an eye) for aesthetics.
I remember distinctively visiting the Museo del Prado and falling in love with Velàzquez’ Las Meninas. As a small child (with light blonde hair), I identified with the girl in the painting: dressed in her best and being pampered by those around her. It was also the start of my fascination for the history and sociology of dress.Las Meninas by Diego Velàzquez
Growing up, my mother had a strong influence on my choice of clothes, and (after the end of my grunge rebellion in the early 2000s) I solidified my identity with the classic, timeless Preppy style. I believe that style was also heavily influenced by my life in the UK, always seeing the royal family dressed like this.
Having grown up mostly in a hierarchical, high power-distance culture clothing was always key to asserting social position. My mother worked hard to teach me how to dress properly for our social status. And a strong part of that was taught by observing and analysing how other people (in lower social classes) dressed. This might seem discriminatory or derogatory to people from egalitarian, low-power distance cultures (like USA, Canada and Australia), but it is an essential part of upbringing if you want to succeed in a hierarchical culture. I believe this habit of analysing people and their clothing was another contributor to my fascination for the sociology of dress.
As historical dramas became more popular, my fascination with the history of dress also grew stronger. My husband always jokes that I only watch shows like The Tudors and Poldark for the outfits. Why people wore what they wore at certain times (including nowadays) is something that fascinates me.
And that finally leads me to ethical fashion.
Because of my strong upbringing in Preppy culture, I was always against fast fashion. I’ve always bought clothes that are timeless and classic, so I’ve never felt the need to renew my wardrobe every season (or even every few weeks). I’ve always thought that that kind of attitude towards clothes was wasteful. Like I said in the About Us section, I’ve always bought clothes with the intention of wearing them for at least 10 years.
Ecological conscience and sustainability were also always a part of my life. I was already donating part of my allowance to Greenpeace when I was 10 years old. My mother passed away in 2009 and I moved to Canada in 2010. I tried to fit in the Canadian/North American workaholic culture, but ended up sick from stress in 2014. That’s when I made drastic changes to my life. I started meditating, only eating organic, only using cosmetics rated 0 or 1 by EWG, donating old clothes to fabric recycling (they’re usually so worn out that I can’t donate them to other people), etc.
At that time I also realised that the North American corporate world was not for me. I decided that the best direction for my career was to have my own business. I tried to start 3 businesses but lacked the business model or the passion to make it happen.
It was only in January of 2019, when I started thinking of the prospect of selling ethical and sustainable products, that I realised how passionate I am about this cause. I finally understood the writers that say that “passion will get you through the tough times in entrepreneurship.” I don’t get up in the morning and do all the boring things that come with starting a business (like configuring a domain name and email box) because “I have to” (just like a kid “has to” do their homework), I do them because “I need to” (in order to pursue my passion). It makes a huge difference.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and learning a little but more about me and The Ethical Fashion Agency. Stay tuned for future posts on entrepreneurship, sales and of course, ethical fashion!
Are you interested in getting into the ethical fashion market? Are you already in it but want to grow your sales without hiring a sales person? Are you looking for new ethical products for your store or distributorship?