The fashion industry uses enormous amounts of energy, water and resources, emitting 10% of the carbon emissions worldwide*. Reducing its impact is the ambition of Oxford-based WTVOX, a magazine that is focused on sustainable eco and cruelty-free fashion.
What began as a result of academic research by its founders into alternatives to fast fashion, has led to a thriving magazine and website which this month has launched an innovation which could be the start of a new chapter in fashion retail.
Laurenti Arnault and his partners realized that change in the fashion industry is always top-down, so they have concentrated on the luxury fashion market in creating Wardrobe of Tomorrow, the world’s first online marketplace exclusively dedicated to sustainable and cruelty-free fashion.
“For a long time WTVOX has been writing about sustainable innovations such as alternatives to cotton, which has a significant environmental impact, to alternatives such as coconut or bamboo textiles. However, there has never been anywhere reliable or accessible to source these amazing products. Now our online retail space does just that. It links responsible designers, forward thinkers and industry visionaries to customers all in one store.”
WTVOX has already signed up 50 prominent luxury brands including Stella McCartney and there are 600 products on offer. “Our aim is to be as transformative as Tesla has been with cars. No one had been interested in
electric cars until Tesla made them fast, cool and expensive. We want the trickle-down effect to change perceptions of sustainable fashion and take on the wasteful appetite of fast fashion.”
A guiding hand from OxLEP Business
To launch their innovation-driven business, WTVOX needed support and found it in the Innovation Support for Business programme (ISfB) through OxLEP Business. Its directors received business support on accounting and finance as well as attending events linking them with other organisations focused on innovation. Laurenti says the most valuable thing has been guidance for developing a robust business plan and getting access to experts. “We had to understand what is needed and where we are on the route to monetizing our innovation. Getting access to the people who could share their knowledge was invaluable.”
Changing the market, not just talking about it
Since we first announced our plans, the reaction has been outstanding. We are getting lots of interest from top fashion design schools including the London College of Fashion and have great relationships with big networks including the Future Fashion Alliance which has a global reach of 5 million. Laurenti explains: “The site is effectively proving the significance of the innovation, but we are now ‘investment ready’ to fund the next phase of our growth.”
How WTVOX is leading change
WTVOX is encouraging people to buy and talk about their purchases through the online marketplace, it is creating a community where customers can showcase how much good they are doing as a result of their sustainable buying. It will tally how much water and how much CO2 they have saved. Through conversations about sustainability, eco design and cruelty-free fashion, it is hoped that these ‘super ambassadors’ and pioneers in the luxury market will exert influence on high street fashion and consumer opinions.