Bozena Jankowska: The new luxury brand on a mission to make an impact
Written by Hanna Pumfrey
Experience. Sustain. Repeat. This is the motto of exciting new brand on a mission, Bozena Janowska that launched this week. Fierce, driven and hell bent on making us all sit up and listen, the brands founder Bozena is a woman that you cannot help but admire.
After over 16 years of corporate life, working in some of the UK’s largest and leading organisations, in mid-2016 Bozena left her role as Head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Allianz Global Investors to pursue a passion project that had long been brewing. She has taken that leap that many of us long to take. To leave the safety of a permanent, stable career to leap into the unknown and pursue a passion. Or in Bozena’s case, to fuse her two passions together.
‘I joined the world of finance at a time when ‘sustainable investment and finance’ was more of a concept than a reality. At the time, I felt strongly that this was a powerful medium for advancing the sustainability agenda. I am proud of what I have achieved in this industry and I am now ready for a new challenge. I see fashion as another key vehicle for driving the sustainability agenda. My aim for my brand and collections is to inspire people; to get people thinking and talking about important sustainability issues.
Fashion is always something I’ve been interested in; growing up in an all-female household clothes and appearance were always important. I spent hours as a young girl making my own clothes; for me, when done well, fashion is a form of art and creativity. It is this creativity and ability to inspire people through design that draws me to the fashion industry.’
So, bringing her extensive knowledge in sustainability to the table, Bozena is making her debut into the fashion industry with collection ‘Ode to the Bee’, created in partnership with Buglife, and inspired by the world of our furry black and yellow buzzing friends.
Bug Life are working hard to halt the extinction of invertebrate species and to achieve sustainable populations of invertebrates across the UK. As we become an increasingly urbanised population, and lose more rural areas that house these invertebrate species, we need to use these spaces for habitat creation and Buglife are working to help support bees in these areas. Their ‘Urban Buzz’ project is using innovative techniques to create eight ‘Buzzing Cities’ in England and Wales for our declining pollinators. By transforming mown and unused areas of land, Buglife are creating 100 sites in each city equating to more than 200 hectares of rich and vibrant habitat equivalent to over 33 Wembley Stadiums. Bozena will be donating 3% of net sale proceeds from every purchase made to Buglife to support the work being done with bees and pollinators in the UK.
I’m not sure Bozena’s choice of partner for this collection could be more pertinent. We are at a tipping point in our ecological history; insect abundance has fallen by 75% over the last 27 years. Does it matter? Even if bugs make you shudder, yes it really does. Insects are vital plant-pollinators and although most of our grain crops are pollinated by the wind, most of our fruit crops are insect-pollinated, as are the vast majority of our wild plants, from daisies to our most splendid wild flower, the rare and beautiful lady’s slipper orchid. Without them, our delicately balanced planet is in a very dangerous place and the reality? People are just not aware of this.
For me one of the biggest joys of making the switch to a sustainable lifestyle has been to choose brands that I feel proud to wear, proud to tell the story of and proud to use as another medium for bringing about the change that is so needed in our society. Choosing brands that stand for hugely important causes is a choice for a better and more sustainable future.
Let’s talk details. Bozena’s collection uses sustainably sourced silk and wool (all REACH certified) from UK based manufacturers. Anecdotally, the wool she uses comes from the same manufacturer that provided the material for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress! Bozena’s garments are made to order in a factory in Stratford, East London. This way she can ensure there is no waste and a close working relationship with the women making the collection. The collection is a selection of timeless classics, that are definitely an investment, but an investment that you will be wearing for years to come.
When asked about her plans for the future of Bozena Janowska, Bozena said, that although growth of the brand is important, her main focus is on building up a loyal customer base that are excited about each collection. A network of people who become that vehicle for change as they go about their daily lives using their choice of clothing as conversation starters for challenging and raising awareness of important environmental issues.
‘I want to be seen as a label that is authentic and credible. A label that you can believe in. I am not saying that Bozena Janowska is perfect. Far from it. I am continuously striving to make the fabrics we use increasingly more sustainable than they currently are and to refine our processes. I am always looking to improve.’
Bozena’s first collection ‘Ode to the bee’ launched this week. And what a first week it has been; the brand was also named 'Best Up and Coming Fashion Brand' by Eluxe Magazine in their 2018 awards this Wednesday.
Check out the collection for yourself here.