INTERVIEW STAIY – SUSTAINABLE FASHION, by Martina Forbicini

We go on with our interview column! Today, you’ll be able to read about STAIY, a marketplace for sustainable fashion. You will get to know more about Chiara Latini, one of the founders of this successful initiative. 

 

  1. Who is Chiara Latini? Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I think that the best way to define myself is through my relationship with two of the things that I love the most: nature and fashion. Italy is my country of origin and where I grew up, and also where I began to be interested in fashion; living in a place like Milan, it is not difficult for this to happen. I have briefly worked as a model, and also in the marketing department of an accelerator and other startups in Milan and Berlin. While doing this, I realized that I wanted to do something that would make an impact, something positive combining everything I was learning with my values and my love for the environment, and that opportunity came with Staiy. 

I just finished a master’s degree in Fashion Luxury Management, one of my great passions, and this has helped me a lot when designing the Staiy brand and managing everything that has to do with the everyday operations within our company. I must also say that this is not hard for me, as I am extremely organized and structured, and I like to keep my schedule always up to date. 

  1. How did you come up with the idea of STAIY? 

Some time ago, Adrian, Ludovico, Alessandro and I were studying Management at the same university, were already friends, and also had several common interests. One day, chatting in Tiergarten over a drink, we began to discuss the idea of doing something ourselves that would make a difference. This is how we thought about improving the fashion industry since it is one of the most polluting, but we did not know exactly where to start. 

We had initially analyzed the aspects related to the emissions and the reduction of the carbon footprint, but the more we investigated, the more we realized that it required a global approach, including the entire value chain. Step by step, we got to the Five Pillars of Sustainability and the mission to shape the lifestyle of the future. 

  1. How can fashion meet sustainability? 

I believe that, as with many other things, we must rethink all processes and the system as a whole. It is not just about recycling materials, but about consuming responsibly, investing in the creation of new greener materials, optimizing processes, looking for local brands, etc. In the end, it is about getting you to prioritize buying clothes made ethically near your home and with natural fabrics over those that have crossed half the world before reaching the store.

4. Fast fashion has damaging impacts towards the environment: how does STAIY deal with customer overconsumption? 

In my opinion, this is not a problem that affects us directly: Staiy works with fashion firms that focus on quality over quantity, launching small collections and implementing eco-friendly processes. In addition, our most common consumer profile is a person aware of the dangers of fast fashion, who cares about the way they consume and who seeks to have a positive impact on the industry. Our advertising campaigns and our editorial content, on the other hand, are also oriented to educate people in this regard. 

  1. Which is the biggest challenge you have faced (or you are facing) since setting up this marketplace? 

I’ve been incredibly busy; since coordinating collaborations with dozens of brands and influencers, designing campaigns, and growing as we have while maintaining a consistent brand image is not easy. We have also greatly increased our activity in social media, and that has required hiring many people in a short time, establishing more defined workflows, and learning to delegate decisions. All this managerial work, being aware of the activity of the new teams, has been perhaps the most challenging part for me. I love it, but sometimes it takes my sleep away! 

  1. Which kind of reactions/feedbacks has STAIY received? 

We have had a better reception than expected. The beginnings are always tough, but we are consolidating a solid consumer base and our number of partner brands has been increasing month by month. I think this is a sign that we are doing things right. Furthermore, our value proposition is clear, and this has been reflected in very positive reviews in Vogue Germany, Euronews, Mochni and other media. 

  1. What would you answer to those people claiming that the prices of the clothes sold on STAIY are out of reach? That the prices are expensive for an average person? 

I think it is a matter of approach: first, we must consider what we are willing to do to preserve the environment, to get the people who make our clothes having fair wages and decent working conditions, etc. Secondly, our partner brands sell timeless, high-quality clothing that better withstands the passage of time, loses less color with each wash, etc. 

This is also what we would like people to understand: it is better to invest a little more money in a smaller amount of durable garments than to buy a lot of items that you will end up throwing away after a few weeks. 

8. In your opinion, which role does youth play in raising awareness about environmental issues? 

The most important role. Young people are the new consumers, who will later educate their children in more sustainable habits, and they are increasingly conscious and more aware of the problems that many of the things we have been doing so far represent for the environment. Our own team at Staiy is very young, many of our employees just graduated, 

and this is noticeable in their enthusiasm and how eager to work and challenge the fashion industry they are, as they really feel the mission of the brand as their own. 

9. Looking back at when you started the movement, is there something you would do differently? 

In general terms, I am very satisfied with the result of our business venture. If I should mention something that I could have done differently, it might be to have come up with a sustainable community project from the ground up, rather than just a marketplace. But, on the other hand, I think it’s good that everything comes naturally, organically, that the company grows together with us. 

  1. What’s next for you and STAIY? 

At Staiy we are in the middle of a period of very intense activity. We have just launched Staiy Edit, a magazine about sustainability, fashion and lifestyle in which we have put a lot of enthusiasm and work, and we are also launching a new global campaign and intend to open our first physical pop-up store within the next few months. As for me, I am still at the forefront of brand management, I continue to coordinate our marketing strategy together with Ludovico, and I am exploring the Berlin startup scene as my interest in the field of Product Management grows. 

11. Which advice would you give to young people like you who want to be more active in environmental protection? 

To those who want to be more environmentally responsible, I would say ‘congratulations’, since they have already taken the first step, the most important one. I would also recommend that they educate themselves, read articles like those of Staiy Edit, and realize how simple it is to do things better for themselves and for the planet. And, above all, I would ask them not to be overwhelmed by all of this information or worried about the prices of organic products; every conscious action, no matter how small, already makes an impact. 

 

It’s great to see young people like Chiara who managed to combine fashion with responsible consumption, greener materials and ethical issues. Thanks for taking part in this interview! Best of luck with your next projects!

Martina Forbicini

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