The Heart Behind - Gege Fashion
THE HEART BEHIND is a series of interviews where we get to know the founders and the heart behind what they do.
With a background in Fashion Marketing, Event Management and Communications, Genevieve Joly decided to take on the challenge of bringing fashion to another level with Gege Fashion.
Read on to find out more about the vegan label.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to start Gege Fashion? Was there a particular moment or incident that started this journey?
I have been a full-time mom for more than 10 years, living in 3 different countries, and when we moved to Singapore, I felt it was time to make the bold move of starting my own business. This is the type of professional project I’ve been thinking of for a while, and timing was good now that the children were older and Singapore being a great location for access to Asian suppliers and retail markets. Fundamentally, I have the need to do something that is really impactful for the planet, benefiting the environment and also people and communities. I’ve always been passionate and particular about fashion, and this would be a way for me to bring these inspirations together into one project.
We travelled a lot as a family and I’ve been amazed with the variety of methods and materials, traditional and new, used across the different communities. This really inspired me and I absolutely wanted to work and innovate with these communities for my brand.
Building a brand from scratch is not easy. What kind of challenges did you encounter?
I personally face several challenges being an entrepreneur and being “alone” in making all the decisions and running the business day to day. I’ve been focusing on partnering with the right collaborators and getting the support/advise required in all these critical areas. It’s been a journey which has taken longer than initially expected, but the purpose and vision for this brand really inspires me and keep driving me forward. There are challenges at every stage, but I take these as learning experiences which help us continuously improve.
Is there any particular brand or personality that you are most influenced by? In terms of design, branding or
I am more inspired by underlying values and stories than by the designs and branding. I have always had an admiration for United Colours of Benetton’s campaigns over the years because of the messaging on diversity and inclusivity, these are the types of values that inspire me.
Tell us more about your design and sourcing process. How do you go about it?
The key priorities are to ensure all partners have employees working under ethical and fairtrade conditions, and that they have the capacity to use upcycled and/or natural materials. Considering the variety of products, it is critical for the partner to have the skills and customer in mind.
Why was it important for Gege Fashion to be a vegan brand?
Safety and well-being of animals is so important for our planet and communities. Vegan products are also very complementary with my other upcycled and natural materials, overall reducing our footprint on the environment and taking care of our animals.
What do you hope to see in the fashion industry?
I hope to see more brands using different type of sustainable materials. I hope also that the waste is reduced and that the waste is reused instead of discarded. More brands could partner with other companies that transform and recycle products into materials that we could use in fashion. Like Converse or Nike that are working on this already.
What do you think consumers need to know about sustainability?
Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it is a need and should be with us forever. Needed for our future and for our children’s future.
That being said, sustainable fashion needs to meet the market’s fashion requirements and continuously lead trends as with other types of products.
What is your goal for Gege Fashion?
My business mission has two components: first, to help small communities in Asia by offering them employment in ethical and fair conditions. Second, help the planet by using recycled and / or natural products that are not harmful to the environment. My goal is to deliver on these components to largest extent possible, whilst helping to influence consumer behaviour in the process for this all to be truly sustainable.