Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Hello, I am Gabriella, the founder of Onesta and I want to share with you the story behind the brand and a bit about our journey.
Earlier this year, I had a desire to start a clothing brand that is kind to the planet, kind to people and kind to animals. Over the past few months, I have been building up a team to help me see this dream come to life.
If you had told me last year that I would start my own fashion brand, I wouldn’t have believed you. Coming from a business background, I was so far from fashion! Although I personally love fashion, I’ve spent the majority of my career in financial services since graduating university with a business degree. My time spent in the corporate world, however, has taken me on a journey that has led me to where I am today.
While working for an insurance firm, I was starting to feel emotionally affected by the corporate world. Part of their services included insuring airplanes, and with the tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being shot out of the sky, I began to really see the financial industry for what it truly is. While I was heartbroken about the news and thinking about all the people who had lost their lives and those who had lost loved ones, I was surrounded by a work environment that had numbed itself to the tragedies of the world. Instead of being saddened by the news, my colleagues and employers instead were worried about how the firm was financially impacted. Sickened by the lack of compassion, I knew I had to leave the corporate world and so in 2014, I left to study a Master’s in International Development at the University of Bath.
It was while studying in Bath that my eyes were opened to the disproportionate spread of wealth across the globe. For my final project, I researched the empowerment of women in developing countries through entrepreneurial opportunities. Feeling inspired to help others, I looked for jobs where I could have a greater impact; sadly, due to my experience in business, I found it difficult to find a job in international development and found myself back in the corporate world. Fortunately, I was able to join a fantastic team that was incredibly supportive about my desire to do good and I dedicated my weekends and evenings to helping others.
In 2019, I co-found Annie’s Trust, a charity that helps dogs in crisis. I fell in love with the challenge of starting something from scratch and growing it into a charity with an impact. Even as I write this, I am proud to say that since its inception, Annie’s Trust has helped more than 350 dogs who are in crisis. On 6th November 2019, my birthday, Annie’s Trust was officially recognised as a registered charity with the UK Charity Commission – a huge milestone cementing Annie’s Trust as reputable and trusted charity that makes a real difference.
With a background in business, a love for animals, and a passion to make a difference in the lives of others, I started 2020 with a desire to do more. I’ve always loved fashion but after watching documentaries about the fashion industry that exposed the shocking environmental and human impact caused by an appetite for cheap clothing, I knew I had to make some changes. While chatting with a friend who told me that he struggled to find good quality shorts that fit well, I expressed my struggle to find good quality clothes that were sustainable and made fairly but didn’t cost the earth. This planted a seed, as I realised that there must be people out there like me, who want to wear clothes that that are sustainable and ethical.
I decided to dig a bit deeper into the fashion and textile industries and started doing some research. What I found was horrifying and very upsetting. I learned about the terrible and unsafe working conditions, the carelessness of the garment factories as they disposed toxic chemicals into the rivers, polluting the waterways of which millions of people rely on, and the countless human rights violations that occur every day, including appallingly low wages. And large brands I had shopped at for years were causing this!
This is when I firmly decided that I would launch a fashion brand that helped to tackle this crisis. And so Onesta Clothing was born.
Onesta means “honest” in Italian. Being half Italian, I felt that “Onesta” encapsulated both me and the core value of the brand - transparency. A brand that actively seeks to produce clothing that does not have a harmful effect on the environment, that supports workers across the entire supply chain and that provides full transparency of production to our customers.
Excited and terrified, I started mocking up some designs and engaged Vicki Wallis, a fashion consultant and founder of 29andSeptember, who worked with me to develop a strategy. And before I knew it, I had a team of four who joined me!
I was extremely lucky that one of my closest friends, Heidi, whom I met at the University of Bath, has joined me as Operations Director. She comes from Canada but finally got her visa to move permanently to the UK. She also has a passion for sustainable and ethical fashion. Angela our incredible Creative Director has over thirty years of experience in fashion design and production, starting many years ago working for Dewhirst. She is extremely well known and respected in South Wales for her technical ability in garment construction. There is a common saying... "if Angela doesn't know it, it's not worth knowing!" Bethan and Hazel are both Fashion Graduates from Carmarthen School of Arts and huge advocates for sustainable fashion. They both live in Wales and have joined as designers and pattern cutters. We also have been supported by Jade - a member of the leadership team at Annie’s Trust who helped us to bring our thoughts to life in her creative imagery.
I can’t think of a kinder and more supportive group of people to have on this journey with me. We have become a little family, and I am so grateful for my team and I am excited to travel the next few steps of the journey with this team by my side!
Onesta will be launching in November, so if you haven't already please subscribe to our mailing list to be the first to know of our launch and special promotions!
Until next time, Gaby x