THE CHANGEMAKER

Meet Isabella Broden, Founder of Oramai

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

After a decade working for internationally renowned brands including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Graff Diamonds and Ralph & Russo, I was struck by a simple question that I couldn’t shake off – “how can my personal values be aligned with those of the fashion industry?”

With a deep-rooted passion for fashion, design and the environment, I set out on a personal voyage against the misuse of resources in the fashion industry and combined my strengths to conceive my very own fashion brand, Oramai. Italian for ‘by now’, it is a sustainable luxury label that brings a timeless and clean aesthetic to the modern woman’s wardrobe. With the welfare of the environment and sustainability at its heart, I believe that ‘by now’ consumers should not only expect their clothing to be created with the highest quality of craftsmanship but in the most environmentally ethical way.

How did your journey in the fashion industry begin?

I was born and raised in Switzerland with a Swedish background. After studying Graphic Design and Fashion Marketing in Florence, I began with an internship at an advertising agency producing fashion catalogues which opened my eyes to the world of fashion. Following this, I studied Fashion Design in Paris which led to me becoming a Graphic Designer for the French fashion magazine L’Officiel Paris. I later moved to London and worked as a freelance designer for Harper’s Bazaar UK , Red Magazine and Vogue UK plus in-house for the diamond brand Graff Diamonds, and Haute Couture brand Ralph & Russo.

What’s your biggest business accomplishment so far?

Selling my first dress! 

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

I faced challenges when I started out, particularly when it came to people telling me what I couldn’t do. I learnt that it’s important to be confident and have courage in our own beliefs, embracing the opportunities to participate in the conversation.⁣

I always say trust yourself and follow your own path.

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

There is so much you can do as an individual and I recommend starting out by examining your everyday choices. For example, how did I get to work today? Did I contribute to the carbon emissions? Can I take a bike? I have recently discovered London’s rentable Santander bikes which, whilst not being the most fashionable statement, greatly reduces my carbon footprint and doubles as a workout at the same time! 

Next, you can look at your household. Where does my electricity come from? Do I have a smart meter? Can I change to green energy? Do I have a car? Could this be electric? Where does the trash go? I have a slight obsession with recycling and find myself washing out the smallest plastic piece to ensure it will be recycled. 

Finally, the wardrobe. Do I need a new thing and if so, what is it made of? Where is it made? Who made it? 

All these small changes add up to a greener and healthier lifestyle and whilst I’m certainly not perfect, I’m always trying to improve. My latest discovery is How To Avoid A Climate Disaster by Bill Gates, which has been a great source of inspiration and I highly recommend. 

What are your go-to sustainable brands? 

Another recent discovery is the cleaning products from Kinfill. I have also finally exchanged my usual high heels for a pair of woolen trainers by Allbirds. 

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

Start by questioning your everyday life choices.  Start seeing the waste around you, from the small things like plastic wrapping in the supermarket to the bigger things like electricity. 

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