Drapers speaks to former Burberry and Tom Ford buyer Agatha Lintott about Antibad, her newly launched sustainable and ethically focused ecommerce site.
Agatha Lintott at the Antibad launch party this month at the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Islington, London
After a career in buying at high-end brands such as Tom Ford and Burberry, Agatha Lintott left her job behind in 2014 to pursue her goal of settign up an ecommerce site for sustainable and ethical brands.
Antibad officially launched this month, stocking a selection of premium brands including Mara Hoffman, Mud Jeans, Rafa and Wray, all chosen for their ethical credentials.
What’s your background? What were you doing before you started Antibad?
I’ve been involved in fashion since I was 16. First, through modelling, then moving into the business side working in the buying departments for Tom Ford [as an assistant buyer until 2009] and later Burberry [from 2010 to 2014, most recently as regional merchandise manager]. It’s been great to see the industry from many angles and through two very different businesses.
What inspired you to set up your own business?
I started to look for better alternatives for my wardrobe a few years ago with not a lot of success. Sustainable fashion still had a unglamorous image. I wanted to use my experience and aesthetic to curate a selection of products that were desirable, as well as ethically sound.
How did your earlier career shape what you do now?
I’ve seen the good and the bad of the fashion industry, and it was important to me that my next move would be part of the solution.
How did you get started? What challenges did you face on the way?
At first I thought that the key challenge would be presenting sustainable fashion in a contemporary and inspiring way, but I realised quickly that these brands are out there, it just took a lot more research to find them.
A challenge has been to market Antibad and to function as an ecommerce site while also promoting a healthy relationship with “consuming” clothing, adding perceived value to each piece and changing mindsets.
Why focus on sustainability and ethical fashion?
The fashion industry will soon be the number one environmental issue on the planet, so there really is no better time to make radical changes. As the Ellen MacArthur Foundation revealed, 73% of clothing produced every year ends up in land fill – that’s 53 million tonnes. Sustainability in industry is now not only a key marketing focus but essential to the longevity of a business.
We have realised that we can use our purchasing power to invest in the brands we believe in
How do you think the ethical fashion movement has changed in recent years?
We’re starting to ask a lot more questions: where was this piece made and by whom? Am I paying a fair price? We have realised that we can use our purchasing power to invest in the brands we believe in.
How do you go about selecting the brands you stock? Do you have any specific criteria?
It’s important to us that our brands focus as much on design as ethical practices: it’s a fine balance of design, ethics, price point and quality. Every brand we represent is pioneering change in both environmental and social standards. By partnering with small-to-medium-scale brands, we can trace the whole supply chain of every product, from material origin and composition, to the name of the fabric grower and garment maker.
How do you ensure your own business practices are sustainable and ethical?
Antibad is built on transparency and ethical practice from banking to recycled packaging and logistics. Our website is even hosted on a carbon-neutral server.
You also offer carbon-neutral shipping. How does this work?
We work with a carbon offset company to neutralise all our emissions through donations to verified emission reduction projects.
Do you have a favourite brand? Any recent discoveries?
A personal favourite of mine is Mara Hoffman, I love her use of pattern and colour. Mara designs strong, practical yet feminine clothing. Its been inspiring to see her transition into a fully sustainable and ethical business over the last couple of years, relocating her manufacturing and using natural, non-toxic materials. Mara is a great example of how you don’t need to sacrifice design to be sustainable.
What are your ambitions for the business?
We have a few limited edition brand collaborations in the pipeline. It’s a great way to work with our brands and utilise these innovative production processes that are already in place. Following on from our launch event we’ll be holding a series of intimate events to connect our brands with our community, encouraging conversations and collaborations.