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New circular ideas for small businesses hatched at roundtable event

Last week we hosted our Circular Economy event, in collaboration with The Green Business Network, at Orford House in Walthamstow. A chance to hear from exciting guest speakers, connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals and learn more about circularity and how it can benefit businesses, read on below to find out more about this incredible evening.

Kicking off the event, Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District, took to the floor to explain why advancing the field of circular design is so integral to the future of fashion. “At Fashion District, we are all about future-proofing businesses, that’s why helping to implement a circular business model is imperative to our mission,” she told the packed room. “Circularity can help make a positive impact on the planet by transforming our throwaway economy and tackling climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution. Ultimately, it can change the fashion industry for good. ”

Afterwards, guest speaker, Connor Hill, founder of Inspire Circular, delivered a keynote speech on the circular economy. Having spent over ten years developing and delivering circular strategies at Adidas, John Lewis, and M&S, Connor is perfectly primed to discuss how change can start with businesses, whether small or large. “Where does everything end up?” Connor asked attendees. “When we think about fashion, sometimes it’s easy to forget that everything we’ve ever owned in the past has an impact on the planet.”

Carrie Davies, founder of circular fashion brand One Essentials, then offered up a case study of her own Walthamstow-based business. Carrie launched One Essentials during lockdown after working in the fashion industry for years. “I didn’t want to make stuff for stuff’s sake,” she said.“I was creating all this stuff and not thinking about where it ended up. It all just becomes someone else’s problem. We’re not thinking about that when we create something.” Frustrated with the system and the quick turnaround to meet demands and trends, Carrie realised she wanted to make a difference. The idea? Pants that are biodegradable. “I felt compelled to take on the challenge and was firm in my belief to not contribute to the problem.”

After Carrie’s speech, guests were divided into roundtable discussion groups chaired by local businesses and entrepreneurs. The discussion groups allowed attendees to share their thoughts about circularity and spark new circular business ideas. Afterwards each group fed back their thoughts to the rest of the room.

For the remainder of the evening, guests carried on their conversations, networked and enjoyed the free bar.  

With thanks to our guests speakers and all of the businesses who took part, including: Harriet Saywood-Bellisario, Founder, Saywood Studio; Bliss Staple, Founder, Or Collective; Francesca Cotton, Journalist + Volunteer at Homegrown Homespun; Vic Holbrook + Bex Courtney, Founders, The Regular Works; Naila Ahmad, Designer + Founder, The Creative Side of London; Kala Paul-Worika, Founder, By Kala X, and Suzie Madine, Founder, Make Do and Wonder; Korantema Anyimadu – Curator, Zine Maker + Cultural Producer; Jacqueline Branson – Founder, Quilt The Row

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