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How one indie fashion brand works with an influencer

Mega-chains and high-street brands are typically based on the “fast fashion” principle, launching micro-frequent collections to entice new and existing shoppers to “buy now”. Because of this, trends come and go faster than one can follow. But whilst playing around with ever-changing styles of fashion can be fun, it certainly comes at a cost. The majority of shoppers buy cheap clothes and then don’t think twice about tossing them aside when the next new thing is marketed in their direction. This, of course, leads to unnecessary waste and pollution, whilst simultaneously the seller feels the need to sell or “get rid off” these new lines with competitive prices and discounts, driving down wages and standards. As a conscious consumer, sometimes it simply feels great to really purchase something that is sure to last you a lifetime.

Snazzy, an independent emerging brand from London, has made slow, fair-trade fashion their mission, recently collaborated with MOD by Monique, the German fashion and lifestyle blogger. They teamed up to tell the story of Snazzy’s new belt bag, The Aziza, made with salvaged Italian luxury leather and handwoven Berber rug by skilled artisans in Morocco. Here they share the insight into how they worked together.

Monique, as a fashion expert, why do belt bags have such a moment right now?
Well, I think that trends from the past are coming back from season to season. This time it is all about the 90s belt bags. I was a big fan when I was younger so I am not surprised that I am totally into these bags nowadays. One of the best throwbacks! They are practical and pretty at the same time, so a perfect addition to your day to night look. You might think that you might look like your 15-year old self but you don’t need to! Just dress up in a suit and add a belt bag – you will love it, trust me!

As a full-time influencer that has worked with some of the most renowned brands in cosmetics and fashion, what is your criteria when it comes to supporting up-and-coming labels?
I do love working with all of my collaboration partners and of course, I am really proud that I had the chance to work with some of the most renowned ones in the industry. But I also think that there are so many new, upcoming or independent labels who need support. Whenever I see a fit, I am thrilled to hear the ideas. The big names usually do not need that big support because they are big enough. Giving new ones a push is what I really love. Especially when it comes to supporting a good cause like what we are doing with Snazzy. I also believe that we need to support female business owners as much as possible.

What exactly did you like about Snazzy?
What I love most about Snazzy is the attitude to a very high design level and how they support artisans and traditional craftsmanship in developing countries such as India, Morocco and Kenya at the same time. I also appreciate the longevity and slow fashion factor. In a fast-living environment with lots of fast fashion brands, it is so refreshing seeing labels who really care about our planet. It is the perfect example that fair fashion can also be very trendy and fashionable!

What are your ethical values when it comes to consumer behaviour?
I think that it is necessary to buy in a very selective way. Therefore, I made a conscious decision not to purchase many high street or fast fashion pieces anymore. As a consumer, I would like to know under which conditions my clothes have been produced. I am talking about both, the human factor and our environment. Furthermore, vintage buying is a big thing for me at the moment. It is also a perfect way to create your very own and unique style. This is my aim: buy less, choose well!

Snazzy, why did you choose Monique as collaboration partner to promote your new belt bag with?
We loved the combination of “classy” and “trendy” that Monique exudes through her Instagram account. So many bloggers get it wrong these days – they might have the following but that doesn’t mean it’s one of quality. We find that a lot of accounts just “try too hard”, and lack a certain theme or character. What we loved about Monique’s account is the consistency in the tones and the Parisian-chic yet accessible look-and-feel, and it’s exactly what we wanted as a representation of our Aziza belt bag.

How long does it take to manufacture one? 

To begin with, can we just mention that to weave a full-sized Berber rug it takes many weavers and many days of work, up to a month on average. We buy these rugs from Morocco, and we buy the leather that has been salvaged from big factories overseas. This luxury leather, that has been left over in the production for big brands, would otherwise have been wasted. Once we’ve chosen these materials our artisans hand-make the bag, including the welding of the brass handles from scratch to finish. I would say the process of creating a new “batch” of Aziza bags from start to finish takes 3-4 weeks.

What are your manufacturing standards?
The artisans we work with are skilled craftsmen of the highest standards. Having said that, since every piece is put together by hand, they are never “100% perfect”, which, for us, adds to their charm. Everything is well-made, comprised of quality leather and rugs, but the bags’ intrinsic beauty lies in the fact that they are one-of-a-kind and with the natural signs of a product being made lovingly by hand. Above all, we are particular with our prices as we want to ensure the artisans are paid fairly for their work.

Do you usually work with influencers or was this collaboration something entirely new?
We try to work with influencers on a regular basis and we would love to do more collaborations with the right influencers for our brand. We hope our collaboration with Monique, for example, is one of the many to follow. Our hope is that through our collaboration with Monique we can reach a broader audience, and in particular one that shares the same values and ethos as our brand.

We believe people’s mindset on fast fashion and generic consumer behaviour is starting to shift, and that by informing them about the consequences of their buying choices we can inspire them to “buy better”.

How was the experience of working together?
We love working with a professional like Monique, and the fact that she shares an understanding of our brand values is something that is definitely not easy to find. We hope it’s the start of a long-term collaboration.

For collaboration requests and latest updates, please follow Monique on
 Instagram @modbymonique

Written by Stefani Thrasyvoulou, Hanna Moedder, photography provided by Monique Romanowski

This article was first published in ESTILA Vol7/2018.

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