THE CHANGEMAKER

Meet Alexa Papavasileiou, Founder of DesignBlender

Tell us a bit about your brand and what you do to drive sustainability?

DesignBlender is an avant-garde spirited atelier dedicated to creating upcycled luxury pieces. We rework old clothes and materials into glamorous new creations. Every piece is made in London following a design process centred on the use of repurposed, vintage and certified sustainable materials. 

How did your journey in the fashion industry begin?

My grandmother used to wear the most extravagant outfits and my mother was passionate about theatre. I was naturally wired to gravitate towards ‘make-believe’. After graduating my fashion degree, I went to Paris where I trained under some of my favourite designers and learnt the know-how of the industry.

What’s your biggest business accomplishment so far?

To combine my love for fashion and sustainability without compromising my creativity. Adopting a strict circular approach with DesignBlender truly pushed me to think outside of the box and challenge my creative boundaries. 

 What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learned in your work?

To explore the relationship between our clothes and emotional attachment. I used to focus on creating an identity via our clothes but with DesignBlender I design more based on our existing wardrobe, asking ‘why do I no longer wear this dress and how can I wear it again?’ The amount of clothes women keep in their closet that they no longer wear is mind boggling.

In your personal life, what do you do to be more eco-responsible?

My favourite ‘eco-moves’ have been: to eat seasonally, shop in local food markets, and to follow a mostly plant-based diet. I love participating in beach cleaning expeditions – an area I am hoping to expand and contribute further on this topic through my business.

What do you do to disconnect?

Over the past months and mainly due to the lockdown I’ve discovered the power of intuitive dance. It mostly looks like me in headphones dancing my way around the house listening to super-loud House music. It feels so clubby and very cathartic!

Your favourite place to be in nature?

The sea and its waves nurture my Greek soul.

What are your go-to sustainable brands? 

I love French brand ‘Sezane’ – its retro vibe and swimwear is just fabulous! When it comes to skincare, Suzanne Kaufman had me at hello with her refillable bottles.

If you could share any advice to someone looking to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle?

Making sustainable changes can be daunting so I would suggest focusing on swapping one or two things rather than doing everything at once. Do your research, look at your lifestyle and see where most of your energy goes, then look into these areas for smart swaps. Not everyone will appreciate a ‘bamboo toothbrush’ and we all adapt in our own way. A reusable water bottle and bringing your own carrier bag is always a great start, as well as a simple no-brainer rule; Only buy something if you absolutely adore it, and reuse things as much as possible!

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