Meet our Founder, Elizabeth Bold as she designs, talks ethical fashion and shares the evolution of Little Emperor.
“When my daughter was two years old, I freaked out about the state of our planet and what kind of world she was going to inherit. I imagined that future point when she would be old enough to ask me “What did you do about climate change? What have you done about plastic in the ocean?” It was 2013 and I decided to spend that year changing everything in my life that I could. I changed banks (from one that invests in fossil fuels, to one that doesn’t), changed my energy supplier, bought a KeepCup and vowed to never use a disposable coffee cup again, drastically cut down my meat consumption and so on. I blogged about the process, in the hope that I might encourage others to make similar changes.
“It was an eye opening journey with some success. I landed an interview on ABC Radio Brisbane, and one of my blog posts was awarded ‘Finalist’ in the United Nations Environment Programme’s blogging contest". However Elizabeth says the greatest outcome from her year of change was the realisation that consumers hold incredible power to change the world simply by how we spend our money.
"Whether we realise it or not, every time we buy something, we’re voting. When we buy clothes that have been made in factories where workers are underpaid and working in life threatening conditions, we’re supporting it. And when we spend our money with businesses that do the right thing throughout their supply chain, we’re supporting that.
“It struck me that I needed to turn Little Emperor into a business that I, myself would buy from. One who’s product is not only consciously and ethically produced, but who’s business practices have a positive impact on people and the planet, so that as a customer, I would feel empowered when purchasing from Little Emperor.
Elizabeth wears organic cotton tee from Citizen Wolf.
“People are increasingly realising the power we have as consumers. I think this growing awareness is evident with the advent and growth of some first-rate ethical consumer guides such as Good On You, Peppermint Magazine, The Kind Guide, and The Good Trade to name just a few. And there's Clare Press' Wardrobe Crisis podcast which I'm completely addicted to! Thankfully it’s getting easier to find brands who are also dedicated to creating positive change, because these fabulous directories and publications have done all the research and hard work for us.
In 2018 Little Emperor was rated ‘Great’ in Good On You’s The Complete 2018 Guide to Ethical Children’s Clothing Brands. “Oh my goodness I can’t even tell you what a happy moment that was! To be recognised by such an esteemed directory just makes all the hard work worth it."
Making sure our 'Whale Dreaming' tee shirt is up to scratch. Elizabeth wear Citizen Wolf organic cotton tee shirt and Outland Denim jeans.
Aside from receiving the highest rating, Elizabeth says she religiously uses Good On You for her own wardrobe. “I’ve discovered some great brands that are now my own go-to staples. Trailblazing brands like Outland Denim and Etiko shoes are my new faves. And for the best tee shirts in existence (well for grown-ups), I can't go past Citizen Wolf.”
Elizabeth also cites the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory as another galvanising moment in the evolution of Little Emperor. “Like many, many people I was angered that it happened, and that the status quo in the fashion industry had allowed it to happen. But on a positive note, it's such a relief to see how much the Rana Plaza disaster has motivated people to agitate and get connected to ensure that never ever happens again. The Fashion Revolution movement is doing an amazing job encouraging consumers to ask brands to share information about their suppliers, and it's inspiring to see brands publish their factory lists in response. I was very proud Little Emperor could take part in this year’s Fashion Revolution Week and we were excited to share some beautiful photos of the wonderfully skilled workers who sewed our current collection.
Encouraged by this year’s Fashion Revolution Week, Elizabeth has also recently published the names of Little Emperor’s factories on our People + Planet page.
“This is a decision I spent quite some time on. It's arguably a bigger deal for smaller labels and start ups to publish their manufacturers than the big fashion brands. The sheer amount of time, effort, money, and trial and error that goes into finding the right manufacturer, makes it tempting to keep this information as commercial in confidence. But then I thought, if I really want to be a part of the solution, I’ve got to be ‘all in’. And when I think about Little Emperor’s higher purpose, I would be delighted to learn of other small children’s labels out there deciding to partner with one of our ethical factories, as a result of our decision to be transparent.
Elizabeth wears jeans by Outland Denim, and shirt by Country Road. (Outland received an A+ rating in the recently released Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Guide, and Country Road scored an A-)
Elizabeth wears organic Citizen Wolf organic cotton tee and Outland Denim jeans.
Editors Note: Elizabeth and Little Emperor did not receive any sponsorship or payment from any of the brands or directories mentioned in this article.