What inspired you to launch Oramai?
I somehow ended up working in the fashion industry. Believe me, I grew up as a tomboy and still don’t really know how I became a fashion insider. I studied art in my gap year in Florence and one thing led to another, and suddenly I was an intern for L'Officiel Magazine in Paris - putting my doctor studies on a lifelong hold and entered into the fabulous world of fashion.
All the parties, all the glitter, it was really the golden era and I loved it. You get sucked in, you know, everyone is beautiful and fabulous and the clothes... So many outfits and so many discounts!
Later, living in London, I was shopping a lot, ran to all sample sales and had weekly shopping sprees at Zara to find the latest outfit. Lunches were spent buying extensive plastic wrappings and eating by my desk at Vogue throwing away plastic and freebies like it was the most normal everyday thing.
Living in London is an expensive life choice and I quickly moved seat and started working in-house at a number of luxury brands, which also meant more salary. Being in-house you get a real feel for what really goes on behind the scenes of the glamour that we normal people get to see. I witnessed the gross misuse of resources, where things got burnt if they didn’t get sold and suddenly I struggled to align my own values to those of the industry.
I began to conduct some research and realised that fashion is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. A personal voyage took place; I analysed my everyday life and realised how unsustainably I was living. I questioned my everyday choices; who did my electricity, I discovered recycling, to name a few and realised how delicious my homemade lunch tasted in my reusable box and how many of my clothes I actually didn’t need. Then 18 months ago, I was invited to a friend's wedding and I decided to make my own dress.
I discovered, from the many, many options of fabric, that linen is the most sustainable material out there, needing very little water and almost no pesticides. I came across some organic farmers in Belgium and made my first dress. The dress was a success and in 2018 my vision took shape; Oramai was born.