The Revolutionaries: Venetia La Manna

Welcome to our Fashion Revolution Week interview series, The Revolutionaries. We wanted to shine the spotlight on a group of women in our extended sustainable fashion community who inspire us to not only change our own habits, but to contribute to greater change. We caught up with them about their lives in lockdown, their thoughts on sustainable fashion amidst this crisis, and where fashion needs to go next. Today, meet Venetia La Manna, climate activist and host of Talking Tastebuds podcast. While on her mission to slow fast fashion, Venetia has become one of our favourite HURR Girls, while also taking on big corporations and telling them to DO better. Keep scrolling to read our conversation.

Fashion Revolution Week: Venetia La Manna

Photo: Venetia La Manna

Where are you writing this?
Sitting on the window sill with my legs happily dangling in some spring sunshine.

What quote/ mantra is getting you through this?
This too shall pass

What has made you laugh this week?
My husband’s best friend Leo lives in New York. We told him that he should join us for our favourite Zoom workout class with Emily Spriggs. The class is at 0830am BST so we figured it wouldn’t happen. But low and behold, there he was, sitting on his yoga mat in pitch black at 0330am EST. His dedication to surprising us made me very happy indeed.

What won’t you ever take for granted again post quarantine?
Human contact and the ability to hop on a train to visit my parents.

Which small businesses are you loving and would like to give a shout to?
Lara Intimates for the best bras ever and Stripe and Stare for the best pants ever.

What sustainable message would you like to share this Fashion Revolution Week?
Fashion is a feminist and social justice issue, where every person in the supply chain deserves support, respect and rights.

What issue in the industry has this crisis highlighted that you want to help solve?
Celebrities and fast fashion brands have been endlessly selling slogan charity t-shirts. Although one could argue that it’s helpful to raise money and awareness, these t-shirts do not take the people who make, pack and deliver them into consideration. Ultimately, their negative impact on people and planet far outweighs the good that they’re doing.

Brands need to be encouraging their communities to customise a t-shirt that they already have (because frankly who’s going to want to be wearing something that reminds them of the pandemic in a year’s time, eh Ryan Reynolds?) and to donate direct instead.

The majority of us don’t need new clothes right now.

Billionaires like Philip Green should not be furloughing their entire staff and asking for government bail outs.

Huge corporations like Primark should be looking after the millions of factory workers that are losing their jobs and have zero support.

These fast fashion companies do not care for their garment workers. Now more than ever, we need the people who made our clothes to feel empowered and supported. We need to be amplifying these catastrophic issues and insisting that brands Do Better.

Whose actions have inspired you during this time?
Youth climate activist Xiye Bastida for how she is continuing the good fight online.

What is your hope for the future of fashion?
That it becomes transparent, inclusive, accessible and circular and that the people making our clothes are given the support and rights that they deserve.

Follow Venetia here.