A Conversation with Emma Håkansson

1. You've recently launched a new business, congratulations. I'd love to hear more about it. Why don't we start with: What is Willow? 

Willow is mostly two things: a production agency creating and shooting for ethical brands and an ethics consultation agency helping brands become kinder. By doing both of these, hopefully the fashion world becomes more ethical, and creatively celebrates those that are ethical more, too.

2. And what was your inspiration for launching? 

I was working as a model in the fashion industry. I then became vegan, and later started learning about the people who made my clothes. 

This started especially when I went to Dorsu’s workshop in Cambodia and heard from the women who run it - one of whom is Australian, and the other who is from Cambodia - who had first hand experience of the human rights violations involved in so much of fashion. 

Slowly I learnt, slowly I became more uncomfortable with what I was endorsing and putting my face to - animal products, clothes made by people paid next to nothing and shown disrespect. 

At the start of last year I stopped working with fashion agencies because it had been really difficult for some time before then, trying to enforce my own ethical ‘rules’ around who I would work for, if someone else was representing me.

When freelancing in the ethical sphere started really working for me, and I started producing as well, and I realised there were actually so many ethical and kind brands, but not ethically aligned people to be creating content for them. And so many brands that wanted to be more ethical, that was interested in vegan products, in better supply chains, but didn’t know how to go about it all. 

3. Why is ethical fashion important to you?

Ethical fashion is important to me, quite simply because I have empathy. I don’t want the person making my clothes to suffer just so I can wear them. I want to reduce my harm to the planet. I don’t want any animal to die so I can wear a part of them.

4. I'd love to hear your perspective on the intersection of ethical, sustainable and vegan fashion.

For me veganism is at the centre of how I consume. It was also the first ethically minded change I made to how I dress. I think it’s so important because while veganism means refusing to take part in the needless killing of animals, it also means so much more. Going vegan and wearing vegan, if done right, means a reduced environmental impact (wool and leather coming from sheep and cows, the farming of whom creates a huge amount of carbon and methane emissions). It also means not supporting tanneries full of people working in abhorrent conditions around seriously harmful chemicals, and a lot of other human issues. I also think that going vegan meant extending my care far out from myself, to those I couldn’t always relate or connect to, because they are not the same as me. I think by doing that it’s then much easier to extend empathy in general, and so become more sustainably and ethically minded in other aspects of life, and fashion. 

5. What is your favourite thing to wear?

Hmm. My style changes a fair bit depending on my mood, but I think the thing I wear the most are my vegan Docs that I bought on Gumtree. I love them lots. 

6. Willow's Ecoture Picks

E.H Styling | MUD Jeans, Noumenon Jacket, RAFA Boots, GUNAS Clutch and LaBante Sunglasses

 

GUNAS Ruby About Last Night Clutch

LaBante Paduak Wood Poppy Sunglasses

Noumenon Brisée Jacket

RAFA Chlor Ranger Boots

MUD Jeans 

You can follow Emma or Willow Creative Co on Instagram, or head to Willow's website to learn more.