A sustainable future of fashion

A sustainable future of fashion
Valdone Auksoriute graduated in Fashion Design from RGU in 2019 and has since developed Valdone Au, a sustainable fashion brand based on key values such as social equality and transparency. Valdone took part in the RGU Startup Accelerator programme, where the initial proposition for the business came to fruition. Read her community story to find out more.

The 21st century can be described as an era in which human activity has the biggest impact on the whole planet. Mass consumption and the way we produce and discard items negatively affects the environment and people. For example, enormous amounts of toxic chemicals are being used in textile factories to dye cloth, which then pollutes the local ecosystems and subsequently, every one of us. Fast-fashion items end up in landfills sometimes sooner than after one season, which makes the fashion industry the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry.

Using a design aesthetic based on a minimalistic and timeless look, Valdone Au aims to be transparent and responsible while considering the environmental, economical and social issues.

The business is based on the strong belief that the fashion industry does not need to cost the planet and harm no one. Having that in mind, we believe that sustainability plays a key role in our operational practices. Our manifesto promotes transparency in what we do, where and who we source from while assuring an ethical workplace environment.

We believe in a sustainable future of fashion, therefore we aspire to lead the example in the industry. We focus on the distinctive design, use of natural, eco- friendly materials and promote quality over quantity. Our brand celebrates local craftsmanship while manufacturing made-to-measure garments in Aberdeen.

Our original business plan got shortlisted for the RGU Start Up Accelerator Programme, where the initial proposition came to fruition. The accelerator programme provided Valdone Au with a start-up grant, mentoring, evening and weekend workshops, which covered a huge variety of entrepreneurship subjects: from legal, finance, to marketing, storytelling and social media workshops, and many more. This helped us to refine the idea and start developing the brand.

It was definitely one of the best opportunities. I really enjoyed the range of masterclasses, workshops, networking events and most importantly, the dedicated mentorship. It provided a safe space to ask questions, find out the answers, develop and pivot ideas.

The programme improved my overall understanding of the legal and financial side of running a business, which is extremely useful for me as a creative without any prior business training. It also boosted my knowledge of online marketing and storytelling. The programme was focussed on developing a strong value proposition, which helped create a solid business foundation based on our core values and beliefs.

We are now developing the second collection, which we plan to deliver at the beginning of January 2021. We are also working with a North- East based startup Track Genesis to implement a blockchain-based tracking system to track the journey of each garment, from crop and animal farming to the finished piece. We hope to increase the consumers’ engagement in sustainable and made-to-measure fashion and gain better visibility of the brand. In a long run, we intend to employ the local talents and support charitable organisations.

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