- How would you describe Neem?
Neem are a conscientious clothing brand, dedicated to delivering high-quality casual garments which do as much to lower the carbon footprint of the wearer as they do to elevate their style.
- What actions have you taken to reduce your footprint?
To be honest, not as much as I should have! I recycle and compost wherever possible, I always buy products which I know will last – never “fast fashion” – and have pretty much eradicated single-use plastic from my daily life, but as a fairly frequent traveller I suspect I could be doing much better. There’s always room for improvement!
- What have you witnessed first hand that has inspired or motivated you the most to do something, around climate change and biodiversity loss?
Whenever I go back home to Scotland I see changes. The summers are much more hot and dry than in my youth, and the winters more mild. There’s a river running through the park I played in as a child – in the summer now it is lower than I have ever seen it, which leads to the kingfishers we used to see in the warmer months not being there any more, as there is no longer anything for them to eat.
- What do you do that initiates conscious living?
I have a pretty good circle around me and we all encourage each other to be a little better. Just recently my auntie passed around gifts of a new, plastic-free detergent brand she had discovered; her daughter has a good-sized garden where she grows enough veg to share around. I discover a lot of sustainable clothes through my work, so I spread the word about them. All of us working together is the key to success.
- What is your opinion on a circular economy and how do you think fashion can be involved?
I think fashion can be very involved, as there is so much scope to re-purpose what would previously have been considered waste. I think we could all be better at remembering that tastes change an awful lot, and that our taste changing does not equate to a garment being useless. If you liked that shirt a year ago but don’t like it now, who’s to say you won’t like it again in another year? If you’re 100% certain it’s no longer for you, that doesn’t mean it’s unwearable – think who it could be for and pass it on. I really like NEEM’s policy of recycling the material from items customers no longer use. Writing off perfectly good fabric is something that the fashion industry has been guilty of for years, and it’s good to see brands putting a stop to it.
- What’s your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe and why?
The answer to this question probably changes weekly! Right now I’d say a 70s-style polo shirt from Italian brand Barbanera. I love the retro pattern, it goes as well with a suit as it does with jeans or shorts, and it still looks new even though it has been well worn for about 3 years now.
- Where is your favourite place to travel?
South-West France. Nice, and all the towns around it like Antibes and Juan-Les-Pins, have called to me for some reason since I was a teenager. When I finally visited for the first time, around the age of 20, it just felt right. I go back at least once a year, usually more often.