Since becoming more and more interested in ethical fashion I’m coming across so many amazing people with amazing businesses. I love sharing them with you all because they all deserve success with what they’re doing.
Also, as Livia Firth puts it, “Call it ‘eco fashion’ if you like, but I think it’s just common sense”.
When I met Allie, albeit virtually, I knew hers was another story I wanted to share. Allie is the driving force behind HARA, an ethical lingerie business with sustainability at its core. Ethical lingerie is definitely of interest to me, you know if you’re a regular reader I have zero interest in sewing my own undies!
Here’s an interview with Allie giving an insight into her wonderful business. Enjoy!
What led you to set up HARA?
HARA was officially started November 2016 but for me HARA has been a work in process since as early as 2013. When I was at high school I was really into finding vintage and secondhand pieces to wear. It actually turned into a small business where I would resell online pieces I had found. It was at this point I really began thinking about how what we wear actually matters and impacts the society and environment that we live in.
After leaving school, dropping out of Uni, I would say 2013 was the year where HARA was implanted in my mind. Back then I didn’t know what it would be called or what exactly I would be selling but I knew the values behind it would be to help the earth regain its power. From that point, the manifestation of “HARA” took me to all places in the world. Melbourne, India, Bali, New York, back to Melbourne, Torquay and eventually back to Bali where I would finally put into practice all my learnings, research, teachings and growth from the past 4 years.
I went to India to look into the cotton industry, I’m a visual person, I needed to feel and see to be able to visualise and create. If I was going to start something in the fashion industry and create a change I needed to see firsthand what I was dealing with. This was the most empowering, mind blowing trip of my life so far.
The most memorable moment was when by chance I met a man who happened to be a cotton farmer sitting enjoying the sun at an organic vegetable farm I was volunteering at. I sat for hours discussing the depths of the cotton industry with a man who has lived it his whole life and had generations of family be a part of this industry. He explained the pain, the grey areas and the untalked issues within the cotton industry. The issue of organic and non organic cotton being mixed during the process from seed to yarn. The issue of the amount of water needed to grow both non and organically produced cotton. The issue of pesticides. He then helped me bus 8 hours to another town to meet with manufacturers in India to discuss further on clothing production in India.
I never once questioned why or how I ended up in the places I did, and still don’t. Trusting in the process, in life, in myself was what got me through. After India, 9 months of manifesting, creating, drawing, planning began to happen.
Why was it important for you to have ethics and sustainability as a core part of your business?
The human rights issue. The fact that there are people living in places with no clean water because of the fashion industry. That there are people unable to feed their families because they are getting exploited, underpaid and undervalued. They are there in theses situations helpless but there are so many solutions. So many things the consumer can do to help this and so many things clothing labels can do. I watch videos, documentaries and interviews and it brings me to tears. I wanted HARA to give them back their power to say we understand what has happened to you and we want to help you. One of the first steps I will take is going to places heavily affected by these issues and be able to really understand how the change can be made, how we can bring back power to the people and change lives for the better.
The environmental issue. The environment, nature, mother earth is our home. We are the nature, we are the universe so caring for this home, as a collective species, should be our top priority. I feel this so deeply and seeing the destruction caused by mass production of clothing, I couldn’t sit back in hope that things would change. There is a massive issue with water. Water is becoming scarce due to high volumes used to feed cotton crops, contamination from pesticides and the use of harsh pesticides. That is a big reason why we use bamboo to create our fabric. Bamboo needs no pesticides to grow, hardly any water, purifies the air in which it is grown in and needs little space to thrive.
What is the main challenge facing you as an ethical lingerie business?
Making sure every piece is the same! I would have never in a million years considered myself a perfectionist before starting HARA. Nowadays I can have sleepless nights thinking about the 1cm differences between two bras. Quality is number one for me and so there are many hours put into checking every bra that gets sent out and making sure it is up to standard.
I have to thank Allie for this insight into her business. I’m so fascinated by all of the travelling she’s done and it’s obvious what an impact it has had.
You can visit HARA here to get your hands on some of their beautiful products and there’s even a giveaway if you sign up for their newsletter.