An online store selling shoes, bags and accessories isn’t a rarity these days: most brands have their own online shop and if you’re a fan of clicking and shopping you’ve got a myriad of fashion-forward choices. So what sets Compassion Couture apart? It’s all in the name: on this pretty, pink-hued, inviting site, you can find eco-friendly and cruelty-free fashion only.
After working in a corporate environment, sisters Jill and Tracey decided to follow their true passion: making a difference to animal welfare and our planet’s well-being by starting Compassion Couture, a place where fashion meets vegan and eco thinking. Here, Tracey and Jill talk us through the inner workings of a compassionate fashion business.
Tell us about yourselves and how Compassion Couture was born.
JILL: Tracey and I are both non-meat eaters, are extremely passionate about animals and are very conscious when it comes to protecting the earth and the environment. We were having trouble finding stylish, high-quality shoes and handbags that matched our values. The idea then clicked. Other women must be having this problem. Why not build a website that brought together all of the products that we were looking for ourselves?
TRACEY: Compassion Couture was born out of a frustration of not being able to find high-quality and fashion-forward ethical accessories all in one place, combined with a desire to make a career out of a business that my sister and I could call our own. I switched over to a vegan lifestyle a little over 4 years ago but still needed to maintain a professional appearance for work plus wanted to be able to enjoy a little bit of shopping just for fun.
What does the term “eco-friendly” mean to you?
JILL: Some of our brands’ products are made out of recycled materials such as recycled PU, recycled PET, recycled nylon and even recycled plastic shopping bags. Other products use organic materials such as organic cotton or bamboo. Additionally, the majority of our brands take a proactive stance in reducing their carbon emissions at factories and one of our brands’ factories is even powered by Hydroelectricity.
Lastly, some of our brands actually sustain the local economies in developing countries by employing fair-trade practices.
TRACEY: It’s really hard to sum up the meaning of the term “eco-friendly” and it often gets tossed around carelessly a lot these days. What it means for us and the items we offer for sale on our site, is that the products were manufactured while taking some action towards benefitting the environment, reducing environmental damage or having a positive social impact.
What are your future plans and goals?
JILL & TRACEY: Our short-term future goal is to spread the word that we are out there! We plan to do more events such as trunk shows and pop-up shops. We are also planning on working with Farm Sanctuary in the spring. A portion of certain products will be donated to their great charity. We will also be adding eco-friendly jewelry to our site over the next couple of months. Our long-term goal is to open up a physical store – this would truly be a dream come true. It would be amazing for our values to get adopted by mainstream shoppers and I love demonstrating that it’s possible to balance a strong set of beliefs with the ability to still enjoy fashion and feeling feminine.
What future do you see for compassionate fashion?
JILL: I think that compassionate fashion is the future. More and more consumers are becoming aware of where the products that they buy come from and how they are made. It’s all over the news – from the ban of fur in West Hollywood to the prohibiting of plastic shopping bags in Seattle.
TRACEY: We are living in an exciting time for compassionate fashion and I think it’s on the brink of a huge expansion. With the “green” movement and people starting to focus on how the things they purchase are produced, there is a big push to make sure that people’s money spent is not going to support things that are socially or environmentally irresponsible.