Brighton’s Open Market was host to today’s Sussex EcoFest, an event that aims to raise awareness of sustainability through celebrating some fantastic local, sustainable brands – all while raising money for charity. Revival Collective had a chance to interview one of the organisers, as well as a few of the ethical stall holders.

Alice – EcoFest Organiser

Revival Collective: Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and the other organisers, you’re all Brighton students?

Alice: Yes, so there’s four of us: myself, Alice, then you’ve got Mavis, Grace and Annie-Marie. We’re University of Brighton students doing a hospitality and event management foundation degree. This is our second year and it’s our final project, so we’ve been planning for about 3 months in total.

RC: What got you interested in sustainability?

A: We chose our group because we all get on well and complement each other well in what we like to do. So in terms of trying to choose a topic to focus our event on, we thought about what we like doing and our individual interests. So, for instance, Grace is very environmentally friendly, very sustainable, and I’m interested in animal welfare.

RC: So you’ve each chosen a charity to support?

A: Yes, we all talked about what we liked to do and then picked out sustainability to kind of combine all of them, and then we chose charities to support through the event. My charity is Sussex Wildlife Trust, and then you’ve got Cranks, the bike fixing shop, and then there’s Brighton Peace and Environment centre.

RC: What were your goals for this event, what do you want people to get out of it?

A: The whole point is to promote sustainability as a whole and to make people aware of the environment and protecting animals, and then you’ve got places like Cranks, which is an organisation that teaches people how to fix bikes themselves instead of having to pay extortionate amounts of money, so that’s very community-based.

RC: You’ve been organising this for three months, did you run into any challenges?

A: Not really! It was all pretty smooth sailing. We looked at four venues, and we all decided on the Open Market because we really wanted to focus on community and kind of the power of word of mouth, so the open market was the best option. But no, we didn’t really have any problems!

RC: What’s it been like working with all the different brands?

A: Everyone’s been quite friendly. I think what we noticed is that the permanent stallholders here kind of keep themselves to themselves, so we really wanted to bring them in and integrate the permanent vendors with today’s stallholders. So for the raffle we’re doing here for the charities, we asked them all if they’d like to be involved and donate something for the raffle and a lot of them have, and then one of the requirements to be a stallholder was to donate something for the raffle.

RC: So are you planning on doing any more events, do you want to make this an annual thing?

A: Next year I’ll be studying in London and some us are staying in Brighton so it would be do-able. I think we decided that if it did well then there’s absolutely room to do more, because you can’t ever stop promoting the environment and sustainability.

 

Francesco – Mileseed

Revival Collective: What is Mileseed and what’s the brand all about?

Francesco: It’s about sustainable clothing and accessories and handmade, locally produced items. We concentrate more on a minimalist design, using water based ink and use ethically-sourced products to design on. We have clothing, cushions, tote bags, sketchbooks, and lots of accessories.

RC: Why did you want to be part of EcoFest?

F: We are against big companies and logos and so we try to do something simple, so our products don’t have our logo because I don’t want people who buy my stuff to have to advertise my stuff. So we wanted to join in with this local, smaller event.

RC: What would you recommend as a first step for someone wanting to be more sustainable?

F: Check your suppliers. Because everyone now seems to be green and you can’t trust everyone, so investigate before you actually buy from someone.

RC: Where can we find you online?

We sell on etsy (www.mileseed.etsy.com) and we’re on Instagram too (@mileseed)

 

Emily – Zola Amour

Revival Collective: What is Zola Amour and what’s the brand all about?

Emily: Zola Amour is a sustainable fashion brand it’s all about reducing the impact that the fashion industry has on climate change. So we are producing a collection of clothing of items that won’t date, so things that will last a long time like a really simple shirt, a really good t shirt, nice trousers that can be worn in different ways, a jumpsuit, and a poncho. And it’s all made out of certified organic and fair trade cottons and bamboos, and even stitched with organic cotton thread. So the idea is that once it’s finished with, at the end of its lifetime as everything has a certain window, it becomes the earth again and biodegrade – it’s compostable essentially.

RC: Why did you want to be part of EcoFest?

E: Because I’m a really new brand and I want to be involved in as many things as I possibly can, I want to meet people who have the same mentality as me, and to generally get out there and be part of things.

RC: What would you recommend as a first step for someone wanting to be more sustainable?

E: Consider every choice that you make and think about where it came from and who made it, what the ‘ingredients’ are. Think about everything as a whole, don’t just think about that item and how much it costs, think about how much someone was paid to make it what their life is like – it’s all about considering your choices.

RC: Where can we find you online?

E: Check my Instagram feed (@zolaamouruk), that’s the one I’m best at as it’s visual, and I’m on Facebook too . The website is launching at the end of June as we’re launching the first collection in June!

 

Sophie – Super Doux

Revival Collective: What is Super Doux and what’s the brand all about?

Sophie: So the brand isn’t fully vegan at the moment, but I’m mostly vegan. I put on pop up supper clubs and they’re all vegan, but I do a mixture of vegan and non-vegan products. We make bespoke cakes and we do catering in Brighton and Hove, with lots of vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free options.

RC: Why did you want to be part of EcoFest?

S: Because I think sustainability is really important, especially when starting a business. All the sugar and the coco that we use is fair trade and organic, I try and use local, and I try not to use fruit and veg that’s out of season. So this is my first outing of the strawberry tarts.

RC: What would you recommend as a first step for someone wanting to be more sustainable, is diet a good place to start?

I think so yes. The reason I decided to stop eating meat initially was because of the environment, and then I ended up not being comfortable eating meat and I was quite surprised by that. As soon as I realised how big a problem it was for the environment I gave up meat, and I found becoming vegetarian was a lot easier than I thought.

RC: Where can we find you online?

Our website is superdoux.com and I use Facebook a lot!

 

Know of any other sustainable community events? Let us know and tweet us a pic @revival_collect