Azaadi : ethical consumption as a goal and a way of life

Ethical fashion brand since 2018, Azaadi offers a line of large range of men's and women's clothing, as well as jewelry made in India. Committed to respect human rights, the brand makes its pieces with respect for the environment and fair working conditions. This sustainable fashion project wants to combine the beauty of Indian heritage with Western culture by creating original clothes and accessories made according to the Indian manners.

Adopting a responsible consumption is not only a goal for Azaadi, it is also an effort in our daily life. It is with transparency that Lisa and Elvira, both from the Azaadi team, open about responsible consumption.

In a few words, could you tell us a little more about who you are?

Lisa:French-Belgian-Tunisian origin, I am 25 years old and have been living in Lyon since forever. Passionate about travel, meetings, cultures, exchange and music, I am always looking for adventures and projects that make sense to me. I'm very aware of the protection of the environment and human rights, I quickly got involved in different environment charities

With a master's degree in Entrepreneurship and New Business Development, I finally started a slightly crazy adventure called Azaadi. This project came to life in 2018 and brings together three of my passions: travel, fashion and cultural sharing.  

The little phrase that keeps me going is a Togolese proverb: "Where the heart is, the feet do not hesitate to go". 

Elvira: I am Spanish and I am 23 years old. Living in Lyon since 2018, I have always had a strong interest in foreign cultures and languages, and I am now a graduate with a Bachelor's degree in French and German translation and interpretation. 

I have more of a curious mind, a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, whether it's from translation to restoration, from manual work to event planning. If I could have three lives and six arms, I'd definitely be happy !

As an inspirational phrase, I use the words of Antonio Machado: "Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar" ("Traveler, there is no path, the way is made by walking").

What was the trigger for your awareness about the importance of responsible consumption?

Lisa: Since 2014, I've been very mindful of how I consume (recycling, supporting local businesses, not eating meat...). I had the opportunity to do an exchange year in India during my studies, and I really realized the terrible impacts of the textile industry on both human and environmental levels. 

It was for me an opportunity to realize that some things are essential to be happy, but others completely secondary. In the end, with little, you can do a lot. I have since adopted a lifestyle based on simplicity. I believe that every action we take can have a positive impact, even on a small scale! 

Elvira: I have always been committed to respect the environment. It is especially with my arrival in Lyon and thanks to the encounters I made there that I became aware of the consequences of my consumption habits. I also discovered that alternatives exist. 

I gradually began to favor buying products from local producers, to be more careful about the products I was using (cosmetics, household, clothing...). I then realized the power and responsibility that the consumers have/strong> and the positive impact everyone can have by changing a few habits.

For you, what still remains a barrier to responsible consumption and makes it difficult ?

Lisa and Elvira: We live in a capitalist society used to having access to all types of products at minimum price. It is anchored into our mentalities and habits, and we unfortunately forget all the steps in the production chain. For any product, we no longer question its fair price, we can so easily have a T-shirt for less than 10€ that we enjoy it without question. The fair prices of ethical fashion can therefore be a brake for those who would like to change their consumption habits.

Ethical fashion brands are still young, they have only recently appeared on the market. We're always a little wary of what's new, and we sometimes wait before we take the step until others test it out before us. 

Do you think there are just more and more responsible and environmentally friendly alternatives ?

Lisa and Elvira : Of course! People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of changing their consumption patterns. And we're seeing more and more brands jumping in to encourage more responsible consumption, there's plethora of initiatives.

On the other hand, it also fosters the emergence of brands that use greenwashing to be part of the current trend but don't share or respect those values. These big companies are taking advantage of their resources to overshadow smaller brands that have a true responsible approach. 

With Azaadi, you are looking to engage in ethical fashion. What are the social, ethical or ecological values that are at the heart of this brand?

Lisa and Elvira: Azaadi's goal is to offer a clothing brand that respects people and the environment. We make sure that the workers work in good conditions and that they have a fair wage. They are not just middlemen, they are our partners with whom we create loyal, long-term relationships. We take care of all the details at every stage of our production chain:

  • We work directly with all of our artisans, meeting them, making sure their working are correct.
  • We try to present all of our artisans by adding their photos to the labels.
  • We recover the scraps of our fabrics to make pouches to have a zero waste approach.
  • We buy second hand sarees to give them a second life in reversible tops. We buy the sarees from an NGO that helps fund free cancer care in India.
  • We use recycled newspaper bags that we buy from another NGO that fights child marriage. They provide access to education for the girls and offer them manual workshops (like bag making) that allow them to earn some money for their daily lives.
  • We favor naturally dyed fabrics to reduce our environmental impact.

Thank you Lisa and Elvira for your answers that are as frank as they are encouraging in this eco-responsible consumption approach. Everyone at their own level can act toimprove things, and it starts with small everyday acts that are often accessible to all of us .


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