The Big Interview: Jack Fletcher, founder of Wildelectric
This week, we interviewed Jack Fletcher, the founder and Editor-in-chief of the new editorial website focused on covering sustainable and cruelty-free fashion.
Wildelectric is an online editorial site that enables readers to become more conscious about their fashion and lifestyle choices. The small, family-run company seek to inspire others and demonstrate how we can achieve a compassionate future, that doesn’t harm our planet or the life on it.
They believe that we, as global citizens, have a huge role to play – stating that effective activism begins at the point of sale. They encourage us to boycott fashion giants (who fail to run sustainable and ethical businesses) in order to shape the kind of world we want to live in.
“What we choose to wear symbolises our values and principles”
We asked Jack a series of questions, in order to dig deeper into the brand’s ethos and ask what it’s like trying to start-up a small, independent enterprise.
What is your ethos?
Our ethos is to inspire and show others a compassionate future, one that is sustainable, doesn’t cost our planet or harm life on it. We believe art and culture play a profound role in influencing society’s thinking, and sustainability is a grand opportunity for designers to leave a lasting legacy by creating beautiful pieces of art, built to last. As global citizens, our personal choices have a huge role to play too. We believe deeply effective activism begins at the point of sale, and when we start to act as conscious consumers, we begin to shape the kind of world we want to live in.
What made you want to initiate this idea?
When I decided to go vegan a few years ago, it was a complete lifestyle change, you’re not just switching what’s in your fridge, but what’s in your wardrobe too! To begin with it was a huge challenge to find cruelty free investment pieces like belts, shoes and jackets. Frustrated, I spent hours researching the industry, and started to find some incredible designers creating gorgeous products.
Intrigued by the subject, I began to study the ethics of the fashion industry, and soon faced the grim reality of the leather industry and the true cost fashion is having on our planet. Because I was really taken aback by all the stark facts, and I wanted to do something about it in a way that is accessible, fun and inspiring.
How large is your team? How many people work for you? Have you got a separate marketing/design team?
We’re just small start-up at the moment, a team of 3x, myself and my two brothers actually. I do all the editorial, content, admin and they assist me with the design, marketing and video content.
How do you go about starting up your own small business/enterprise? Any tips for people hoping to do the same?
Make sure you love what you’re doing and there is bigger purpose or mission to what you’re doing, because when times get tough and you start wonder why you’re doing what you do, the higher purpose will keep you going. And be so passionate about your project, that your excitement is infectious!
Why is sustainable fashion so important?
It’s no secret the fashion industry is now one of the most environmentally damaging sectors in the world, although it does seem the conversation is beginning to enter the public sphere, I don’t think people truly understand how deep the problems go!
With fast fashion now dominating the industry, people are buying more clothes than ever before and wearing them for less, with 65% of all clothes purchased, being disposed of within a year. Nowadays our clothes have become disposable to us, and we are consuming clothes just like we’re consuming fast food.
According to a 2018 UN report, fashion is now responsible for 10% of global emissions, that’s really quite significant. If the world’s leading scientists are giving us just 11 years to mitigate a complete climate catastrophe, then we need to make fundamental changes at all levels of the industry.
My concern is that no one’s really talking about the leather industry when discussing sustainability, yes they are talking about meat, but where’s the question on leather? Although it’s certainly not in the zeitgeist yet, there is large scale condemnation of the animal agriculture industry by scientists & global leaders like the UN. It’s a common misconception that leather is a by-product, when in fact it’s one of the most profitable aspects of the slaughter business. It’s also one of the most environmentally destructive sectors of the fashion industry. Not to mention the ethical concern for the billions of animals killed for their skin, and all the suffering that goes along with that. This is something we like to pay particular focus on at Wildelectric.
How should people educate themselves about the dangers of fast fashion?
If you would like to find out more, I recommend reading Dana Thomas’s new book called Fashionopolis, the Price of Fast Fashion. It’s a comprehensive book on the history of fashion, detailing how we’ve got to where we are, and all consequences that come along with that, but it’s also a book of hope, discussing how we can get out of this mess. I’d also recommend the Netflix film True Cost. All the info is on the internet, just google it, Fashion Revolution is a great resource, oh and head to Wildelectric.co of course!
What are you top tips for leading a sustainable lifestyle?
Read the label, research the process of how a garment’s made and how it gets to you. The ethical choices are endless, they’re all there waiting to be found, and there is a massive online community who can help along the way. My top tip would be check out a company’s sustainability page, see how they operate, if they don’t have one at all, then they’re probably not doing a hell of a lot, so what better way to find out then writing to them to ask!
What is your background? How did you find yourself in this line of work?
My career in sustainability began from a very early age, as soon as I could climb a ladder I was helping my dad install solar panels on roofs! Later in life, I helped manage my father’s renewable energy business for many years, and then decided for a career change and pursue a career as a rock n roll musician. Rising stars we were appearing on MTV to Radio1, and landed the most amazing opportunity to support style-icon and legend Adam Ant on tour, I’ll always remember one evening backstage, we had the most amazing conversation about how important fashion is to the world, that conversation inspired me, and I guess that’s really what kickstarted my affection for clothing and fashion.
When were you established? How long have you been planning this for?
We launched the website last week, but it has been a culmination of about 6 months of work in total I’d say.
What have been your biggest obstacles in setting up your brand/business and how have you overcome them?
There haven’t been any obstacles…yet. However learning the new skills along the way like, website coding and things like that can be time consuming and frustrating!
What are your hopes for the future? Where do you see your brand going?
We are currently working on some short films, and this is an avenue we’re really looking to develop. We are looking for more contributors, and plan to collaborate with other organisations and companies too. Our whole aim is to inspire people with art and fashion, because only way we’re going to get out of the mess we’re in, is by designing the world we want to live in.