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Mashu Meets: Besma Whayeb

Besma Whayeb Interivew
Mashu Meets...Besma Whayeb. Besma is the founder of both Ethical Influencers and the Curiously Conscious blog, as well as a sustainable fashion and lifestyle advocate. With her finger on the pulse with all things sustainable fashion, conversations with Besma are always inspiring and insightful. We spoke to her about her 2023 sustainable fashion reflections, as well as her 2024 predictions. 
Hi Besma, welcome to the last Mashu meets series of 2023! What a year it's been. At Mashu we're not just trying to do better ourselves in terms of our impact with people, planet and animals, but this year, through Mashu Meets, we are also trying to ignite and share more thought-provoking conversation around the state of fashion and sustainability. We hope that when our community read these posts, it triggers a new way of thinking, behaving or buying. We know you work really closely with the fashion and sustainability industries, so we thought there would be no better person to reflect on 2023 with.  Let's get started! 
Firstly, if you had to allocate one buzzword to 2023 and it's fashion & sustainability movement, what would you give it and why? 

Honestly, I’d have to say ’tough’. It’s been a tough year for many sustainable fashion businesses, and I’ve seen friends and acquaintances close their doors due to the harsh economic climate. Equally, many creators and freelancers have had to reevaluate how they work. That being said, I think ’tough’ also applies to how well fashion activists and forward-thinking creatives have acted this year, calling for more change, and continuing to create innovative, beautiful pieces that respect people and planet.

We're all too aware of the progress needed in driving meaningful sustainable change in the fashion industry, but were there any positives, wins or happy stories that come to mind when you think about 2023?

Here in Brighton, I helped curate the city’s first Sustainable Fashion Week, and I had such a blast doing it. Between a team of seven of us, we were able to gain national media attention and show local people how to love their clothes and make them last longer. I think there’s been a lot more community action in the sustainable fashion space this year, and our free weekend event saw over 2,500 people attend! 

What has been some of your biggest personal learnings or habit changes in 2023 around being more mindful with fashion? Anything we can share with our community for tips for 2024 is always helpful!

This year I’ve celebrated a few personal wins: settling into my 30s and finally feeling aligned with my personal style. I tend to focus more on materials and wearability, and that’s helped shape my wardrobe. 

One of my favourite things to do is find fashion inspiration from magazines and online, and reinterpret it using my own wardrobe. I curate a private Pinterest board with clothing I already own, and ways other people are styling these pieces. It makes me feel excited about wearing something old in a new way, and shop my wardrobe rather than trends.

What do you hope to see become an even bigger sustainability theme in 2024 & why do you hope for this? (Fashion or more general lifestyle related if you wish)

I’d like to see more economic stability and support for sustainable businesses. This applies to everyone - green energy through to my local tailor’s. 

Finally, to end with a bit of fashion fun...what have been your favourite sustainable wardrobe items of 2023 and why (they don't need to be new - of course!) 

I’ve been rewearing many of my favourite investment pieces this year, and enjoyed adding into the mix a second-hand leather midi skirt that goes with almost everything (see photo below), as well as locally-made socks from Peper Harow, and a vintage slouchy designer handbag that’s so roomy I often lose things in it!  

Besma looks at camera while walking


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