Launched in 2011, ethical fashion label Beulah London came to surface after founders Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan spent time working in Atulya, an aftercare home in the Delhi slums.
With an aim to raise awareness of human trafficking and sex trade, after witnessing the devastating effects on these practices in the region, the duo set about creating the means to provide a sustainable livelihood through their label for victims of these crimes.
My Fashion Life caught up with the ladies behind Beulah London to discuss the intermixing of fashion and ethics, wardrobe staples and favourite holiday destinations.
What is the ethos of Beulah London?
Natasha: To produce beautiful, timeless dresses with a conscience.
Lavinia: Luxury fashion with a conscience.
How did you meet?
N: Our mothers are very good friends, and we met through our church.
L: Same as above! Our grannies were best friends and my dad and Nats’ uncle went to school together so we have been family friends for a long time.
Do you feel enough is being done in the fashion industry to support the causes Beulah London is standing up for?
N: I think people are becoming more aware of who has made their clothes, encouraged by the media exposing a few retailers. Esthetica, during London Fashion Week is a platform for ethical fashion, so yes there is definitely more of a movement towards it, which is exciting.
L: I agree!
What sets Beulah London apart from other ethical fashion brands?
N: The product is beautifully made, with the finest silks. We are also going into embroidery for SS’13 which will set our brand apart from others. What truly sets us apart is the fact we stand against fast fashion, and support charities on the ground working with trafficked and vulnerable women.
L: The brand was born from a passion to help provide an alternative, sustainable livelihood to women who have been trafficked into the sex trade. The ethical goals were not an afterthought as they are with some other brands, instead it was the reason the brand was born.
As much as we are trying to be an ethical label there are many obstacles we have to overcome to get there and we are very open about this – we have a goal and we are trying to work towards it. We are not a perfect ethical label but we are doing our hardest with the capabilities we have.
Favourite holiday destination(s)?
L: We go to an island in Greece every year as a family and it has so many fond memories for me so probably there!
Which three wardrobe staples can you not go without?
N: Platform wedges, Beulah’s Poppy dress, and our blue shibani scarf, which brightens up any outfit.
L: My leather studded jacket, our AW12 Wood white dress in red and my leopard print handbag.
You had no formal training in fashion when Beulah London was launched in 2011; did you struggle because of this? If so, how did you cope?
N: We have involved a designer to help for our SS’13 collection, as we definitely want to develop the styles and appeal to a broader market.
L: Yes, it was a huge learning curve for us – learning how to run a business and to be in the fashion industry was a huge task to get our heads around. We surrounded ourselves with experts in the field who have helped advise us all the way!
Define ‘ethical fashion’ in your own terms.
N: Fashion that represents an approach to sourcing and manufacturing that benefits people and communities.
L: Same as above.
If there were one celebrity you could choose to dress, who would it be and why?
N: Carolina Castiglioni – she’s effortlessly beautiful, with a classical style that goes beyond seasonal trends…and a great clothes horse!
Shop Beulah London here.