Uzma Bozai in Eluxe Magazine

Uzma Bozai featured in Eluxe Magazine

We were delighted to be featured in the new edition of Eluxe magazine – a quarterly published magazine with a digital publication updated daily based in London, dedicated to showcasing luxury brands that demonstrate a strong commitment to good ethics and environmental sustainability.

We spoke to Eluxe Magazine’s editor Chere Di Boscio about her move from mainstream luxury fashion into the world of  sustainable and ethical fashion.

  • Tell us about your background – how you became the editor of Eluxe?

I was editing a few luxury glossies in Paris and Dubai, and became appalled at what people perceived as ‘luxurious’ – think: having more of everything, wearing exotic animal leathers, furs and mined gems and metals. All of these not only have a horrendous impact on the earth, but also slaughter beautiful animals for fashion. That’s just wrong in my book! I wanted to quit my job and work for a magazine that focused on more ethical fashion, but I found none where I was based at the time (Paris). Eventually, a press release from the Gucci Group (then PPQ, now called Kering) fell into my inbox stating the entire group was dedicating itself heavily to sustainability. It was then that I knew I could launch the world’s first ever sustainable luxury magazine.
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  • When did you first start to feel that a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle was important to you and how did it effect your life and style?

I have a lot of friends with a LOT of money, and I started to learn about their consumption habits – private jets, new outfits for every occasion (and usually worn only once), closets full of exquisite, unworn clothing. I even went for dinner with one guy who wasn’t sure what to order from the menu of a very expensive French restaurant, so he just ordered the whole menu of entrees, took a bite of each, and the rest was thrown away! I knew then that I had to change my lifestyle. I wanted no part of this so-called ‘luxury’ world anymore, and so I moved out of Paris. I now live in the countryside of a developing country and it’s been over a year since I bought anything new except food and necessities (like new scissors, which I bought yesterday).

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  • What would be your advise to those who want to start to shop more responsible or build a more ethical wardrobe?

That’s a tough one. I realise we are completely brainwashed by advertising to buy clothing to fit in and fill a role. No matter how organic your clothing is, or how ethically made, if you are constantly consuming, you’re part of the problem. It’s very hard to break that brainwashing, especially if you’re young or if you live in a city. So I would suggest first: throw out your TV. Stop reading conventional magazines, be they online or in print. First, end the bombardment of advertising that tells you what to look like and where to shop, but this is also very hard in large cities, where adverts are blasting us with overt and subliminal messages from billboards, in the subways, in taxis, and even on TVs whilst you wait in line at the bank or whatever. It’s very hard to escape!

Then, only buy what you genuinely need. Also, never throw anything out – recycle it, sell it, reuse it, donate it, but don’t contribute to landfill if you can help it. As for building an ethical wardrobe, the most ethical thing you can do is use what you already have on hand – mend it, restyle it, get it tailored or adjusted but certainly don’t ditch your current wardrobe and buy new, thinking this is ‘ethical’. If you must make a new purchase, ensure it’s going to last ages in your closet – that probably means not shopping at a fast fashion store, in any case.

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  • What three small changes do you think we could all make to make being an ethical consumer easier?

Shop less, shop for more natural materials and remember that reusing is more important than recycling.

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  • Who’s ethos are you most inspired by?

My husband. He’s amazing. Although he’s a very high earner, he never, ever shops, for anything. He has never owned a car, has used the same smartphone for about 7 years, owns basically nothing except land and houses. Not only is he happy with that, but he looks super stylish, because his entire (sparse) wardrobe is comprised of classically cut cashmere and wool sweaters, good quality organic cotton trousers and shirts, and other materials that are eternally chic and last ages. I also love and am inspired by brands that upcycle, like these.
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  • How do you convince the eye rollers – those who just don’t care!?

That’s a great question. There will always be those people, and there’s nothing I can do to convince them. We all have our own journeys and it’s important that they make up their own minds. I’m a vegan, and my husband wasn’t when we met. But after seeing how much more energy I had than he did, and how many fewer health and digestive issues, he decided to give it a try. Now he’s vegan for his health (I’m ‘vegan for the animals’) but it was 100% his decision over time. All I did was lead by example.

 
  • What are your simple ways to update a tired wardrobe…?

Accessories! One black dress can be transformed with different shoes, jewellery, scarves, hats, you name it.

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  • For many people, investing in ethically produced items isn’t financially viable. Would you agree and if so, what affordable alternatives are there/ how do you justify the expense?

As I said before, updating what you have in your wardrobe already is more sustainable than buying new ethically produced items. But if you do need something new, it’s best to ensure the materials and construction are noble, and the style is timeless. Or even better: buy the materials yourself, and pay a local seamstress or tailor to create what you want. It’s probably going to be cheaper than buying from a well-known sustainable luxury label, and you’ll get something perfectly bespoke, just for you.

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  • Tell us your top 3 sustainable/ethical go to places – be it your local market or your favourite vintage emporium!

Our local market here in Peru is incredible – just a bunch of local growers selling their stuff from blankets and boxes. Nothing is wrapped in plastic, and everything is super fresh and natural. Also, here in Peru, there are some magical weavers who use only alpaca fibres and vegetable based dyes. Their work is stunning and I love to watch them weave.

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