Sarah Krause is the Founder of Esfera, an upcycled, recycled, revamped, reworked fashion label that is possibly the most eco-friendly clothing store you would have ever heard of. Sarah and her business partner and designer Sarah Seb have together built a unique sustainable and regenerative fashion brand based in London.
Not only did Sarah Krause create Esfera in the wake of the rising fashion revolution, but she has created a brand that helps to build the bridge between shoppers buying new fashion that isn’t ‘throw-away’ and using recycled items to be more sustainable.
#TeamCoco are interested to know more about Sarah’s background, her own fashion choices, and where the name Esfera came from. Let’s get started…
Q. HOC. Is your background in the fashion industry, or did you arrive from another sector altogether?
A. Sarah. Esfera is actually my first business venture, so my entry into the fashion industry has been been quite the baptism of fire! I’ve previously worked with different Startups, largely related to sustainable energy and technology, which is really what kick-started my interest in sustainability. And although I’ve worked with one Fashion Tech startup, this is my first real nose-dive into the fashion industry. It’s been both incredible and overwhelming!
Q. HOC. At what point did you realise that fashion was for you and when did you think about running a sustainable clothing brand?
A. Sarah. I’ve always loved fashion and I think it’s one of the greatest forms of self- expression; but I have to say, I never anticipated that I would actually create a clothing brand. I had known for a while that my dream was to run a business but the way that this particular idea manifested felt almost accidental…and serendipitous. At the time, I’d been reading a lot about sustainable energy and climate change and I stumbled across this documentary called “The True Cost”. It opened my eyes to the reality of the fashion industry and just how much harm it was causing both people and the environment. Then and there, I made the executive decision to only ever again shop second-hand or from a sustainable brand. When I realised that, at the time, there were very few businesses offering responsibly-produced, fashion- forward womenswear, I saw it as an opportunity. The rest is history!
Q. HOC. Where did the name Esfera originate?
A. Sarah. “Esfera” means “sphere” in Spanish, which is the mother-tongue of my parents. It’s supposed to evoke the image of our planet, which now more than ever we need to protect!
Q. HOC. You work with local artisans in South India to create your handloom crafted organic fabrics, can you tell us a little more about this?
A. Sarah. Of course. Working with independent artisans, local to Erode in South India, is a really important part of what we do. Handloom weaving is such an incredible technique to witness in action and it creates the most stunning, durable fabrics. The technique barely uses any power, so it’s super energy-efficient in that regard and instead relies on the expert handling of the weavers. Sadly, this tradition is dying out and being replaced by mechanisation. You can see how important this tradition is to the artisans, not just because it’s their livelihood, but because it’s such a big part of their culture and has been passed down for centuries now. It’s really important for us to support these artisans and ensure that this remarkable tradition endures!
Q. HOC. Do you have a favourite piece from the new collection, and is this the style of clothing you would personally wear?
A. Sarah. The new collection is 100% my style. If it wouldn’t hurt my business and my purse strings, I’d buy one of everything for myself! My favourite piece is probably the Klimt Bandana Top (coming out mid July). And the blazer…it makes me feel classy on my worst day.
Q. HOC. You design solely for women, was this a conscious decision, and will you stick with women’s clothing or will you expand into menswear?
A. Sarah. Creating womenswear felt like the most natural place to start, but recently more men have been asking when we’re going to start offering clothing for them! So who knows? It could very well be on the horizon.
Q. HOC. You design dresses, trousers, shorts, tops, jackets, jumpsuits and more, do you have a specific piece that your customers will go to first and that sells out first?
A. Sarah. The beauty of it is that every person I encounter gravitates towards totally different pieces. But generally, people are most drawn towards the classic pieces that they know will endure the test of time. So far with the new collection, our yellow sun dress seems to be getting the most love!
Q. HOC. If you weren’t running Esfera right now, what would you be doing career-wise?
A. Sarah. Probably working for another sustainable fashion brand!
Q. HOC. What are your immediate plans for the business, are you thinking of entering new markets overseas or will you stay with your London base and online store?
A. Sarah. The plan is to gain a strong foothold in the UK first and then, with luck and hard work, enter the global marketplace. It would be so great to see an increased audience from abroad; after all, our ultimate aim is to create sustainable clothing with a global appeal.
Q. HOC. Did anyone offer you any good business advice before you launched Esfera?
A. Sarah. Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s almost certainly going to happen at some point and that shouldn’t stop you. Learn from your mistakes and keep going until you make it work. You only really fail when you stop trying.
Q. HOC. What advice would you give someone looking to get into sustainable fashion as a career?
A. Sarah. The more you know the better. Go follow the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Common Objective & Fashion Revolution. Research is your best friend and there’s always new findings and innovations popping up. Make sure you’re clued in so you’re one step ahead of the game. But most importantly, you learn by doing, so just go for it! You won’t regret it.
Thank you for taking the time to answer all our #GBOGB Girl Bosses of Great Britain questions for House of Coco Magazine online. Visit Esfera for more information.