Fashionnovation is on a journey to introduce you with unique, sustainable, rising fashion brands, start ups and the masterminds behind them. As the continuation of our journey, Kazi Purba explored V’LE Magazine and the mind of its founder through some questions. In our today’s exclusive interview, we take the humble opportunity to introduce you with Bof Setlhare, a visionary founder of V’LE, a start-up based in New York, United States. Having a background in fashion working as a fashion model, keeping the idea of ‘fashion with purpose/fashion for good’, he is using his skills in fashion to manifest that idea to life. Today we will listen to his story of building up a network called V’LE to promote sustainable fashion around the world.
What is V’LE?
V’LE Magazine is a digital magazine focusing on sustainable and ethical fashion. We share academic insights related to sustainability (or lack thereof) in the fashion industry. We noticed that when people think of sustainability in fashion, there’s more emphasis on environmental and social aspects. So, the whole point of V’LE is to highlight other aspects that are not discussed in the mainstream conversations. We discuss political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal aspects. In a way, it’s a 360° approach because we recognize the interaction of fashion with all of these aspects. Another core element is our creative side. We do editorial shoots and relate them to the topic so that the articles aren’t too wordy. Lastly, we are a directory for sustainable fashion brands. On our Features page, we have sustainable brands with varying styles for consumers looking to buy more sustainably.
Why did you establish this platform? What was your drive?
I have a background in fashion working as a fashion model. During the covid lockdowns, many industries were going through sudden shifts and that got me thinking about this idea of ‘fashion with purpose/fashion for good.’
The next step was to figure out how I can use my skills in fashion to bring that idea to life. As a fan of academia, I realized the need for educational resources that promote awareness specifically when it comes to sustainable fashion.
Who are your audience?
The primary audience is fashion brands and consumers. The great thing is as niche as V’LE is, we cover a broad spectrum of subjects. People in tech, social services, psychology, environmental activism, federal agencies, etc., can find something they relate to. So basically, our audience is anyone interested in conscious fashion and longevity in fashion.
Please share some of your memorable incidents with V’LE.
I was happy when the website surpassed 100 visits lol. To be honest I can’t really single out any memorable incidents given our small size. I literally remember everything we’ve done. Being able to reflect on our operations and see how the process is different for every article, and just be grateful to have worked with amazing people. It’s a special feeling knowing that people (photographers, models, collaborators, and our audience) are giving us their time considering we’re a small startup.
What is sustainability according to your view point? Can we really assure a sustainable future of fashion? How can V’LE support this grand endeavor?
There are 2 ways to look at sustainability; the brand side and the consumer side. The brand side focuses on the supply chain activities (from sourcing raw materials to point of sale) that prioritize sustainability and ethics. On the consumer side, it’s about information and resources that promote conscious consumption of fashion items. It’s also important to note that sustainable fashion isn’t a new thing and many cultures across the globe have been practicing it knowingly/unknowingly. It’s just that this conversation is becoming mainstream mainly due exponential growth of fast fashion and the urgency for climate change action. Sustainable fashion looks different for everyone depending on geography, culture, financial and economic constraints. The idea is to look at areas within one’s life and what role can they play to push the movement forward.
What are your future plans with V’LE?
In the future, we want to incorporate other elements such as e-comm with our own collection. Would also love to launch something in physical form rather than being exclusively digital. Creating a space rich in music, arts, culture, and fashion where people can come and interact.
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