SUSTAINABLE FASHION INNOVATION: INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE POSTMA OF RECLAIM BAGS
We’re all trying to do better for our planet, but hot new accessories company Reclaim makes it easy by fusing the recycling of waste products into high fashion items. We spoke to founder Sophie Postma about environmentally ethical fashion, the challenges facing young retail businesses and future projects.
Could you explain the concept behind your company briefly?
The concept behind Reclaim is to create beautiful products out of something that would have otherwise been waste and to challenge perceptions of recycled products.
The business is unique in the fact that it ties together recycling/recycled products and cutting edge, contemporary design. I believe that it solves the problem of being able to purchase ethically without compromising on great design.
Your bags are really beautifully designed, challenging preconceptions of recycling. Do you think there will be a fundamental change soon in our approach to sustainability in fashion? I’m thinking of current perceptions of disposable fashion and the masses of packaging we’re wasting.
I’m not sure that there will be a point when everyone suddenly stops what they are doing and have been doing for years, but I do think that slowly there will be small changes. I think it will be a much more gradual process; eventually becoming a way of life, rather than a thought that crosses your mind.
As well as your website, you’ve also sold through ASOS, Wears London and Topshop. How do these partnerships help you as a smaller brand?
Partnerships like this really help as they can open up a smaller brand to a whole new audience; not only for increasing sales but also just in terms of helping to raise awareness of the brand.
We love the community aspect of your ‘Make Tracks’ gallery (in which customers share images of themselves with the Reclaim bags). How important do you think social media has been for your brand?
Social media is very important for Reclaim; it makes engaging with your audience so much easier. The beauty of it is that it is immediate and your social media can tell the story of your brand on a daily basis. A brand isn’t just a product or a thing, it’s more of a lifestyle that people really want to be able to relate to and connect with; social media gives you the opportunity to do that.
What challenges have you faced setting up your own business?
You have to be able to continue to believe that what you are doing is great, even when you get knocked back. Someone once told me to see every failure as being one step closer to success. I think that is a great way to look at it and that advice has really helped me to continue doing what I love when things have sometimes got tough.
What are your plans with the company moving forward?
I was so pleased with the S/S 15 collection; it really was our most advanced collection to date. There are so many possibilities with the rubber so we will continue to experiment and progress through each new collection. We have also wanted to expand into homeware for a while now. Research into this has just begun and we would love to have our first products ready for Christmas.
What brand are you really excited about at the moment?
I recently discovered a jewellery brand, Eddie Borgo; a definite one to watch. He creates beautiful, statement pieces and recently designed a small collection of bags. This brand would be the dream collaboration for me.