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For Megan Doepker, a self-described “global citizen”, creating UNA Fashion was the culmination of years of traveling. A ticket to India in 2012 turned into a 5 month trip as Megan sourced the sustainable materials she needed for her eco-leather bags and jewelery. A proud pioneer of the slow fashion movement, Megan kindly took some time to answer a few questions about UNA Fashion.
1). What is UNA Fashion?
UNA Fashion is a fair trade fashion label specializing in leather messengers and handmade jewelry, where a purchase has a direct and positive impact on both people and the planet. We are a label that follows the principles of the slow fashion movement. We design our creations to be durable, timeless and functional. Like Modavanti, we also hope to inspire the movement for conscious consumerism as we believe our collective purchasing power can change the world!
2). Can you tell me a little about the designer behind the label?
You could call me a creative soul, with a social business mindset. UNA Fashion is the culmination of travels to developing countries, a personal commitment to sustainability and a strong desire to make a mark in cleaning up the fashion industry. I have prairie roots from Saskatchewan and have called Montreal home since the launch of UNA Fashion. On any given day while I’m not working on UNA Fashion, you’ll find me cycling around the city on my pink bicycle, drinking too much coffee and doing yoga in the park. If you could see into my mind, you’d discover me plotting travels back to India, Africa and beyond.
3). Who is your customer?
Most of our customers see fashion as an investment into a wardrobe that will last beyond the season. Leather carries so many stories with it as it truly is one of those textiles that gain character and beauty with age.
4). When and how did UNA Fashion get started?
UNA was an idea for many years. I loved wearing my custom belt bags and constantly had people asking where they would purchase one. There was clearly a niche in the market for fashionable fanny packs to make a comeback. This combined with a passion for leather, social business and artisanal handcrafting set me on a one way plane ticket to India in 2012. I spent 5 months sourcing eco textiles and finding organizations that shared a commitment to the same values as UNA Fashion.
5). What inspired you to start a fashion brand with a commitment to sustainability? Why is it important to you?
Where to start! I’m a global citizen who cares about leaving our beautiful planet for future generations in better condition than it’s current state. There are so many things wrong with the cheap, disposable fashion industry being mass produced in dangerous and unethical conditions. There’s a better way. I’m inspired by all of the social business making their purpose the driving force over profits. I’m inspired by both innovation in sustainable design, but also going back and valuing traditional artisanship. There’s room for a spectrum of sustainable fashion brands, and ultimately, I’m proud of the consumers that are the driving the movement!
6). What is the mission behind UNA Fashion?
The mission of UNA is to “Fashion the Change”. For UNA, this means using fashion as the platform to create sustainable development. It means ditching the crazy frakenfabrics of the last century and going back to natural and organic textiles. It means having creations that are well made and durable. We work with amazing fair trade organization that empower skilled artisans. The artisans are given the spectrum of tools to excel, including fair wages with access to education, support groups, health care and education.
I hope everyone can interpret our motto to “Fashion the Change” in their own way and think about how their fashion choices can change the world.