By: Athena Kung
After struggling to find beautiful non-leather bags that are more affordable than Stella McCartney, Jessica (Founder) started LUXTRA, in hopes for the brand to become the ‘Patagonia’ of contemporary fashion. Read on to find out more about this Accessories brand of the year finalist’s experience of joining the SLAs, changes they would like to see in the industry, and more.
Q: How are you coping in light of COVID-19? Do you have anything to tease about upcoming projects?
A: My life mantra is to find the silver lining in everything. The pandemic is of course devastating, but good can come out of it. Regarding LUXTRA, I’ve had more time to think about my business model, strategy, and how I want to continue to build the company. I’ve also been thinking about how to push LUXTRA further in terms of sustainability.
A teaser? I’m working towards our next collection to be all about hemp, as it’s a super sustainable material - but in a chic way! We’ve got a collaboration in the works with another Aussie expat with a stationery brand, and we’ll be introducing some new products which will also add a BIG dose of colour to the upcoming collection.
Q: Why did you enter the Sustainable Lifestyle Awards?
A: I feel there is a lot of ‘greenwashing’ amongst brands, and so I saw the SLAs as a way to demonstrate LUXTRA’s core commitment to sustainability. The Awards are like a stamp of approval giving consumers the confidence that we’re walking the walk, and not just talking the talk.
Q: What have you learnt from entering the Awards?
A: When you’re running a business, you have your head in it all day every day. You’re so immersed at a granular level (i.e. should the stitching be cream or red?) that you can lose sight of the bigger picture. You enter the Awards feeling smug, like you’re doing so much good eco-work, and so it’s really helpful to be pulled back, and forced to think about the things that would otherwise have been on the backburner. Entering the Awards helps rejig your priorities.
Q: Has the Awards opened up any new experiences and/or opportunities?
A: Brand awareness which the Awards has generated. And it was also a nice ‘pat on the back’, with there being acknowledgement that I am on the right path.
Q: What are some challenges you encountered in the sustainability world?
A: For most people, a bag is a bag, and it’s easy to ignore the ‘true cost’. Possibly our biggest challenge is therefore trying to break the link in people’s mind where they compare fast-fashion prices with products that are made ethically with non-polluting, sustainable materials. The price simply cannot be the same, yet people (naturally, of course!) do compare a fast-fashion handbag with a LUXTRA bag.
Q: What feeds your passion? Where does it come from?
As you might gather, I’m a really sensitive person, and I have a burning desire to use my life to make the world a better place. If I see suffering, rainforests being destroyed, videos of slaughterhouses, or films about sweatshops, I feel impelled to do something - anything. I don’t mean to sound like a saint, but I hope explaining in this way explains the ‘why’ that drives my passion.