As a business that is both predominately owned and run by women, we here at Populace Threads are very passionate about the role women play in business, and in particular the amazing work we see countless women doing in the circular fashion sector.
If you are subscribed to our monthly newsletter, you would know that we have profiled countless amazing women for the work they do that aligns with our mission at Populace. In this blog we want to profile five women who are absolutely killing it in the ethical fashion and circular fashion community.
All these women are putting in the hard yards and creating empires of their own through which they are actively speaking out on multiple issues within this sector, from unfair labour to climate change and more.
Venetia La Manna
I discovered Venetia la Manna a couple of months ago through TikTok and was immediately enthralled by the way she spoke about sustainable fashion. Across Instagram and TikTok alone Venetia has grown an audience of over 195,000 followers. This multitalented powerhouse works in broadcasting, writing, campaigning and moreover she is also the co-founder of Remember Who Made Them.
Remember Who Made Them is an organisation run by a group of feminists (Venetia obviously included) with networks in philanthropy, climate activism, the arts and sustainable fashion. Using their platforms and networks, these amazing women collaborate with workers groups, and campaigns to highlight their situations and demands as well as raising awareness and action.
If all of that isn’t enough for you, Venetia also runs the podcast series All the Small Things where she chats with inspiring people and ‘thought leaders’, writers and activists about the rituals that provide us structure when we need it most. Since it started, the podcast has amassed over 2 million downloads.
However, the thing I admire Venetia for the most is how transparent she is when it comes to calling out some of the biggest retailers on the planet, because boy… she does not hold back. Venetia has called out and challenged these retailers on their unethical practises on platforms as public as BBC Radio and BBC World News. If you need someone to fire you up about this topic, Venetia is the one for the job. You can find Venetia on Instagram (@Venetialamanna) or TikTok (@Venetialamanna), I also recommend supporting the Remember Who Made Them movement, you can follow it @rememberwhomadethem on Instagram.
The Un-Material Girl
The ‘Un-Material Girl’ is an alter ego that Leah-Jane Musch created after the documentary ‘The True Cost’ quote ‘Changed her life’. The slow fashion activist describes herself as a former fast fashion addict. After her epiphany, Leah explained that she sold 80% of her wardrobe, downsized to a one-bedroom apartment and completely changed the way she shopped. With over 18 thousand followers on Instagram, Leah uses her platform and brand to teach others about the importance of slow fashion. Since graduating from Billy Blue College of Fashion Design, Leah has made it her mission to tackle the fashion sector with an array of new and innovative ideas that can help us all to shop more sustainably. In the past Leah has been featured in Vogue Australia amongst many other publications. These days, Leah is consistently using her platform to educate others about slow fashion, lgbtqia+ rights, feminism and more. If you want some awesome DIY tips or just some super cool style inspo, be sure to check out Leah on Instagram @unmaterialgirl.
Aditi Mayer is another multi-talented woman, a sustainable fashion blogger, photojournalist, labour rights activist and frequent speaker on topics of social and environmental issues. Aditi’s journey started in 2014 after learning about the tragic events of the 2013 Rana Plaza Factory Collapse. Aditi was driven to research the historical and socio-political values underpinning the fashion industry and learnt that much of the industry functions in almost a colonial manner, rooted in the exploitation and extraction of both labour and the environment.
Aditi has become an important voice in a larger sustainable fashion movement, from working in education in Downtown LA’s garment district to serving on the council of Intersectional Environmentalist and State of Fashion. Some of her most recent endeavours include working as a fellow on National Geographic Digital Storytelling and documenting the Social and Environmental impacts of India’s fashion supply chain. Aditi uses her platform on Instagram, where she has over 52 thousand followers, to begin conversations about how fashion intersects with gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and socioeconomic status. To follow Aditi’s journey, be part of these conversations and learn about how you can support her efforts, be sure to check her out on Instagram @AditiMayer and/or Twitter @AditiMayer.
Amanda Nguyen is one incredibly impressive woman, and if you haven’t heard about her yet, allow me to fill you in. Activist and entrepreneur Amanda graduated from Harvard University in 2013. Following graduation, she went on to become a 2019 Noble Peace Prize Nominee, TIME magazines 2022 woman of the year, as well as being listed twice in Forbes 30 under 30. Amanda’s main mission and philosophy surrounds fighting against Asian hate as well as sexual assault and feminist issues. One of the most impactful projects that she has created in this area is founding the RISE organisation. RISE is an organisation dedicated to fighting for the rights of sexual assault victims around the world. Through their work, 40+ laws have been passed in support of sexual assault victims. As well as this, Amanda drafted and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights through the United States Congress. Furthermore, 50 laws have been passed inspired by this law. One of her most recent endeavours links her to the sustainable fashion community, working with organisations such as Study Hall which holds conferences and encourages discussion on how the fashion community can work together to become more sustainable and eco friendly. Another notable endeavour is her recent work with fashion brand Chloé where she has been appointed as an external adviser to their new sustainability board; part of the brands new purpose driven model that prioritises environmental protection and social progress for women. Amanda has stated to that the fashion sector is an area she is extremely passionate about as it is so intertwined with all other work she does. She believes that fashion is political, it can be used as a drive for social change and is a tool for empowerment. You can find out more about Amanda Nguyen via her Instagram: @amandangocnguyen Or twitter: @nguyen_amanda
A home-grown Australian talent, Natalie Shehata is an activist, writer, eco fashion stylist, community advocate, and founder and chief editor of Tommie Magazine, an online platform for creative women with a conscious.
As a young fashion stylist Natalie stated that she would email countless magazines asking them to publish her editorials featuring second hand and vintage clothing but was rejected time after time. During this time Natalie recalls there wasn’t a huge movement in Australia around second-hand and vintage fashion/ style, and there also wasn’t a major focus on sustainability and environment in the Australian fashion sector. Moreover, there was an obvious lack of diversity in the fashion sector that in turn drove trends of elitism and oppression that she was not comfortable with. It is because of all this that Natalie chose to create Tommie Magazine. She took charge and chose to stop waiting for someone else to do it and instead made the change she wanted to see herself. Tommie Magazine encourages discussion, provides guidance and holds conferences and events all surrounding sustainability, slow fashion, equality and women empowerment. Natalie has also done a lot of work with refugees. One of her most notable endeavours is the work she does with The Social Outfit, a social enterprise charity that provides employment and training to people from refugee and new migrant communities through an ethical manufacturing studio and retail store. If you would like to find out more about Natalie, Tommie Magazine and/ or The Social Outfit you can find them here:
Natalie Shehata Instagram: @nattystylist
Tommie Magazine Instagram: @Tommiemag
The Social Outfit Instagram: @thesocialoutfit