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Interview Avec Ever Manifesto

We meet the ladies responsible for creating the 2nd edition, Ever Conscious Magazine

Seductive, modern and desirable – Ever Manifesto proves that sustainability can be all of these, and so much more. Born as a reaction to an increasingly disposable world, Ever Manifesto was founded in 2009 by fashion industry insiders Alexia Niedzielski, Elizabeth von Guttman and Charlotte Casiraghi. With three issues published so far – Everlution, Ever Bamboo and Ever Conscious, the free print publication and sustainable fashion and design think-tank pioneers ethical style, design and living. What’s not to love? Ever Manifesto clearly has its finger firmly set on the fashion pulse, with guest editors such as Franca Sozzani and Stefano Tonchi, collaborations with the IFM fashion school, Gucci and more recently, H&M, and an impressive array of contributors gracing its pages: celebrities such as Pharrell Williams, models and entrepreneurs Lily Cole and Liya Kebede, designers such as Bruno Pieters, and artists such as Carsten Höller, to name just a few. Ahead of the next issue, R.E.V. met with Ever Manifesto’s Alexia Niedzielski and Elizabeth Von Guttman, who are also founders of the new bi-annual fashion magazine System, to talk conscious style, transformation and sustainability as a way of life.




R.E.V: How was Ever Manifesto born?


ALEXIA NIEDZIELSKI: It was a reaction from the crisis, everybody was living in this time of excess. We work in luxury and we felt like luxury today had a different meaning: it was about starting to understand the life cycle of a product, where it’s coming from, how to use it, and where it’s going to go when you’re finished using it. We felt this was really key and that the consumer has a choice every single day when they purchase something and that they needed to have this transparency from the brand in order to be able to make conscious decisions. We call Ever Manifesto a “think-tank”. It’s basically trying to help brands to take action and to be more responsible.


ELIZABETH VON GUTTMAN: Especially in the fashion world, they were the last to come on board. The word “eco-fashion” was such a turn-off for most people because they associated it to hemp, Birkenstocks and hairy legs. We wanted to seduce them into change and to work with the bigger brands and the luxury brands where people take example from and to have that trickle down effect. If H&M or Gucci do these actions, then it inspires other brands and consumers to change.


ALEXIA: Fashion has such a wide reach that we felt it’s so important to work within this industry. They are key influencers.




R.E.V: Ever Manifesto challenges the status quo but in a way that isn’t alienating – instead it feels accessible, inclusive and seductive.


ALEXIA: I think it’s really what we’re trying. We thought it was really sad that the green movement are incapable of uniting people to their cause. They scare people away. It shouldn’t be that way.


ELIZABETH: Even when people are trying to do positive changes, they’ll always point the finger to what they’re doing wrong. It discourages people, especially big companies, to make these changes or to even talk about what positive initiatives they’re doing.


R.E.V: Where did your personal interest in sustainability arise?


ALEXIA: I was raised going to Brazil and nature has always been something that I feel I need, I crave, and relate to. I think it’s the disgust of living in a time of excess. I think it’s about consuming less but better.


ELIZABETH: I agree. It was a moment where everything was going really, really fast. From around 2005, it was the start of the first real big discussions on climate change. Everyone was talking about it, but no one was really doing anything that you could relate to.


R.E.V: In “Ever Conscious”, you explore the idea of conscious consumerism. You notably featured Liya Kebede’s fashion line Lemlem, which adopts a social business model – an interesting direction for fashion.


ELIZABETH: For girls like Lily Cole, Liya Kebede, and Amber Valletta, it’s so inspiring that it’s a social and commercial business. It works in both ways. It’s like trade, not aid: because that’s real sustainability too, if you can be a sustainable business and not just a charity.



R.E.V: Where do you feel the responsibility or burden lies more – with the business or the customer?


ALEXIA: There’s a responsibility on both sides. This was really the message in this Ever Conscious Manifesto. How conscious are you? It was a self-reflection on people. You have a choice, every single day, when you purchase, when you start a business or a project. We have an incredible power as consumers. I think people just take it for granted, or don’t take it. They’re very passive about that power.


R.E.V: Any favourite moments during the making of Ever Manifesto?


ALEXIA: I loved it when Pharrell came into my hotel room to make the picture. That was great! [Laughs] Everyone was adding something – from Pharrell to Ben Goldsmith – they’re nothing alike but they actually are. From the activist Diana Cohen to model Liya Kebede, they are all conscious and concerned. We thought this was really inspiring.


R.E.V: How do you see the Internet as influencing the movement for ethical buying and ecological awareness?


ELIZABETH: I think the transparency that is available online is really exciting and hopefully that will continue to grow. I think everyone needs to come together more instead of doing things too separately. There has to be a movement of consolidation when we talk about this.


R.E.V: How has your approach to fashion and style changed?


ELIZABETH: I think twice before I buy something. I have reduced a lot in terms of my consumerism in fashion. I definitely buy less and when I buy, it’s more of an investment – it’s something that I know I’ll keep for a long time.


ALEXIA: Yeah, I think I’m not about trends. I would like to do a manifesto promoting individualism – in the way that you need to be original, you need to be yourself, you don’t need to belong to a trend.


ELIZABETH: Yes, trends are boring [Laughs].


R.E.V: What are Ever Manifesto’s mottos?


ALEXIA: Action and Reaction. Education and Innovation. And that sustainability can still be desired! It’s just really making sustainability sexy.


ELIZABETH: And that word “eco-fashion” – just take it out of the dictionary… It just doesn’t work! [Laughs]