“I remember everything about what it felt like growing up in that place. I have become more aware of where in the world there are parallels to that kind of upbringing… that’s made the world very small for me. Yeah there is this big open world, but actually it’s tiny.” Annegret Affolderbach
Episode Two – Annegret Affolderbach – Sustainable Fashion, Change-Making and The Berlin Wall
Forging new forms in the heart of luxury
In this episode Amisha enjoys an intimate chat with Cultural Futurist & Creative Director Annegret Affolderbach. As well as being a major contributor to The Future is Beautiful book which inspired this podcast, Annegret is an award -winning, disruptive innovator and social entrepreneur, recognised by the Ethical Fashion Forum for pioneering work in ethical fashion and challenging mainstream thinking about what is possible in terms of supply chain.
Having spent her childhood behind the wall in East Berlin and being present when the wall came down, Annegret reflects on the gifts of that time and how this early confinement made her aspire to a different way. Now living as a global citizen, Annegret uses design and fashion as a tool for communication and to mobilise a large amount of people to think in a different way.
Her Choolips fashion brand was produced by a Ghanaian women’s co-op, trained by Annegret herself to create exceptional designs using revamped forms of traditional techniques such as batik. The collection flew off the rails of Topshop in Oxford Circus, successfully connecting with a young audience who understand what is behind creating a fair and sustainable product.
Annegret shares the highs and lows of scrambling the supply chain to fulfil a major UK brand order in a tropical climate, making waves by challenging unsustainable industry practices, setting boundaries with buyers, serving as a catalyst for community enterprise and how transparency has allowed her to grow the value of her supply chain and product.
We also hear about the new experiential work that Annegret is developing – working with mainstream big brands to present alternatives and forge change in “The Heart of Luxury” – and how, six years on from laying out her vision for The Future is Beautiful, different elements of it have come to fruition in her life and work.
“It is very easy to have ideas about the future, but actually to be present in the present and think about that – there are challenges in that which I enjoy.” Annegret Affolderbach
You can follow Annegret and keep up with her work via her Instagram @choolips
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