Xandra Jane Design: Conscious Consumerism
With achievements, such as ‘New Business Finalist 2017’ and ‘Sustainability Champion Finalist 2016’ among its list of accomplishments Xandra Jane Design is ethical brand that I couldn’t wait to find out more about.
Launched in 2015, Xandra Jane Design aims to reconnect us with the joy of making our own clothes and forces us to ask those important questions that help to make us conscious consumers, whilst at the same time being a sustainable designer brand that is on course to rival some of the industry’s most established names.
Xandra Jane’s approach to clothing stems from unusual, original concepts, often enhanced by cultural interests. All of their work revolves around sustainable design. The brands fabric sourcing and manufacturing takes place entirely within the UK, which is inspiring to hear. Through their collections they explore important subjects such as gender fluidity through zero waste processes and up-cycled luxury that celebrates reworked one-off garments.
I spoke to Alexandra, founder of Xandra Jane, to find out more about the brand and her plans for its future.
Tell me a bit about you?
I’m 25 years old having established Xandra Jane at 23. I have globophobia which is the genuine fear of balloons. I currently live with my partner on his farm, whilst we’re saving to build our own house. My music taste is incredibly varied as you will see on our #studiosoundtrack tweets, with my favourite song of all time being Freedom by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton. My favourite animal is a giraffe and I have scoliosis which is a curvature of the spine. My lower spine is curved 48 degrees, I am 5’8” but should be 5’10”! I lost my Mum aged 56, when I was 19, to MS, and so you can often find me fundraising for the MS Society. My favourite book is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and my favourite film is Apocalypto by Mel Gibson.
What was your inspiration for Xandra Jane?
Xandra Jane was never my intention as a young graduate. I worked in London for a year or so, between places, trying to get my foot in the door. Initially I was hitting up to 18 hour days, 7 days a week for a streetwear company - unofficially as a studio manager yet on the imaginary pay packet of an intern. After this, and a handful of other poor opportunities and exploitations, I came home to Wales with an exhaustion breakdown, the little money I had left in my back pocket and a bad taste of the industry.
Being as stubborn as I am, and with little to no fashion design career prospects in Cardiff, I spent the last of my money on a studio space and started Xandra Jane. All without borrowing a penny; funding it myself entirely from freelance work. It snowballed from there and became a business where I could exercise my own morals and ethics which I believe so strongly in.
What are your plans for Xandra Jane and how do you plan to remain ethically conscious as you grow the brand?
I think my biggest challenge if my brand continues to grow will be maintaining the 100% translucency of the journey cards, but this is something I will never compromise and so consider that challenge accepted. For now, the supply chain is relatively small so I can oversee every aspect and stage of a garment. I want to grow the digital pattern library to maintain accessibility to designer products for the customer who can’t necessarily afford the premium price tag, and ultimately, I just want to continue educating my audience and spreading the passion I have for conscious consumerism.
There are a handful of collaborations in the pipeline and exciting collection concepts to come. Refining and building consistency with the blog is also taking shape so I hope to see that develop too.
What is your take on the fast fashion industry?
The industry itself is flawed and untrustworthy, society promotes this idea of consumerism and spending more to make you happy when we all know this to be false. I am working a very difficult balancing act, of selling premium designer clothes whilst essentially backing the concept to spend less and wear more. I believe the industry excludes the customer; not enough people understand the implications a £4 top has. We are fed with what the media tell us, when we all hold our worth a little higher than that, so why not explore, find out and drive change? There are plenty of small, independent and ethical brands out there trying to shout above the noise, but we can’t force a customer to listen. That journey must start with themselves.
If you could say one thing to all the CEO's of fast fashion retail brands what would it be?
You can still live an incredibly wealthy life by providing a living wage, or even making small changes to strive for better. You should treat your customers with the respect they deserve and realise what their intelligence is worth when they can see straight through your greenwashing attempts. I would like to know at what stage their greed began, have their morals changed from when they were at the start of their career? I have a lot of questions as I’m sure many of their customers do, it’s a shame only honest brands would jump at the chance to answer.
Thank you so much Alex for talking to Flor & Cesta, it has been an absolute pleasure to find out more about Xandra Jane and the ethos behind your beautiful collections. With unique inititatives like the digital pattern library that not only offer responsibly and sustainably made designer garments at high street prices, but also reconnect us to our fashion roots Xandra Jane is only destined for success.
If you do nothing else today, you must check out the Xandra Jane digital pattern library. A library of downloadable patterns that start at as little as £9.99 and allow you to reconnect with the joy of making your own clothes. Except this time, the finished product will be a designer garment.
Check out Xandra Jane’s full collection here and receive 10% off on orders over £50 with the code FLOR10.
You can also read my review of the CYRS rucksack from Xandra Jane here.