Elizabeth Jane Plummer is a strong advocate for Slow Fashion in sunny Marseilles, France. Her venture, the Lost Travel Tshirts Company combines fair trade, environmentally friendly garments with urban arts.
The t-shirt production is controlled by the Fair Wear Foundation. Their fabrics include organic cotton, bamboo jersey and Tencel Lyocell (made from the wood pulp of Eucalyptus trees). All designs are printed with water-based ink in France and the printing is certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
How did it all start?
It started with a desire to create something of my own which would represent how I see the world. I was visiting Thailand with my boyfriend and my sister (who was living there at the time) and after seeing and photographing the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok I felt I had captured an image of something which meant so much, not just to me but to millions of people. The image became the first ‘Lost Travel’ inspiration and the rest grew from there…
What is the buy in for sustainable and ethical products in Marseille or France at the moment?
In France, there is a real focus on buying quality items and investment pieces, so already I feel there is more of a ‘slow fashion’ attitude to shopping. However, the fact that a garment is ethically produced or made from eco-friendly materials is not the selling point here. People are more interested in the style, design and feel of a garment, before buying it because of its sustainable or ethical production. It is definitely improving though, as the production and material of the Lost Travel TShirts is now more of a discussion point than the printed images or design of the tees. That’s great!
For you, what would be a real breakthrough in sustainable development in France in the next 3 years and if nothing was in your way, how would you contribute to make this happen?
I think, like in any situation, it is about education and knowledge. I have often heard people asking about the ‘ethical’ side of production because they know less about it. Everybody knows the words ‘eco’ or ‘organic’, even ‘bamboo’, but not everyone appreciates the importance of ethical production and the consideration of the people who produce our clothes and other material things. Another point I have noticed in France is that the vintage and second-hand shopping trend is not as strong as it is in the UK, for example. Improving people’s shopping habits to the point where they can wear and buy ‘old’ or second hand clothes and still feel good, chic and proud of their items would be a huge step for recycling, re-using and generally cutting down on clothing being thrown out and wasted. To make this happen: talk, promote, share, share and share some more via word of mouth, friends, social media and through Lost Travel TShirt’s own lookbooks and styling pics. I follow the eco-shopping challenge by only wearing ethical, eco, organic, second-hand or vintage pieces and have already mixed some great outfits and looks…!
What questions would you have loved someone to ask you at the beginning of your journey?
Anything. Honestly one of the best parts of this experience has been communicating with others what I want to do and to achieve and learning from their feedback and ideas.
What drives you?
I am driven by a desire to make the most out of everything and everyone I am so lucky to have close to me. Be it my family who provide constant positive feedback, the amazing places where I have lived or visited, the 300 + days of sun per year in Marseille, the inspiration that comes from combining my passions for travel, photography and fashion and the chance to be involved in the growing need for ‘positive fashion’ and/or ‘slow fashion’.
Could you name up to three amazing women in the field of sustainability/ eco-fashion you would advise us to watch and learn from?
I like Merryn Leslie’s fantastic boutique ‘69b’ in London. She shows how sustainable fashion can be elegant, chic and beautiful.
There is also Greta Eagen’s website fashionmegreen.com which is an eco-style Bible in my opinion. I am always on there looking for her new ‘ways to wear it’ and even eco & organic beauty products!
Connect with Elizabeth Jane Plummer @losttravelt