This Australian Is One of 17 UN Young Leaders For Sustainable Development Goals

This Australian Is One of  17 UN Young Leaders For Sustainable Development Goals

In her late 20’s, Australia’s own, Edda Hamar has left the world in awe of her accomplishments at such a young age. She’s the founder and CEO of the eco-friendly company, Undress, and also the Managing Editor of the business Undress Runways. Last year, she became one of 17 United Nations Leader’s for the Sustainable Development Goals, chosen out of 18,000 contenders globally. This year she made the move to London to further pursue her dream in the sustainable fashion industry, and we can’t wait to see where it will take her. I was lucky enough for her to share her story, and her vision for the future with me.

undress runway

Edda Hamar, Founder of Undress Runway

How did you become interested in the sustainable fashion industry?

Edda: “In my last year of university, I decided to organisze a fashion show and it was very much just on a whim, I didn’t study fashion, I just wanted to do something that was basically totally out of my scope of experience or ability. So I got together with couple of friends and we planned this fashion show. We worked together with some of the university students at QUT in Brisbane where I went to Uni, and we organized this fashion show..it went really well we had lots and lots of people, I think we had about 400 people attend…we were like wow this all of a sudden is really cool. And so it was always just meant to be a one off event, and then the next year I got together with two girls from that team and we decided to launch Undress Runways, the fashion show [in 2011] which was focussed on sustainability and ethical fashion designers, and I guess we just started learning about sustainability and we felt like no one was really talking about it and it was a really important thing to talk about, so we thought why don’t we just focus on that. … I think we even had to come up with our own definition of what is sustainable fashion, because there were very few resources online and …I guess it just grew from there, we just did another event the next year and thought we’ll just do one more and we did it in the car park and it was really successful and we thought the next year ok one more, just one more show and after six years of doing one more show, I guess it takes us to where we are today.”

Last year, the company Undress was born, what brought about this new idea?

Edda: “Over the course of those six years I either studied or had a job, so it’s always I guess been a side hustle for me even though it has continued to grow and has become something of a full time job. I guess at the end of last year we recognized that it wasn’t really sustainable for the Undress Runways team to just continue volunteering our lives away. And we’d built this brand that people you know, really expected was doing well, and I guess it depends how you measure doing well, in many ways we were doing really well but it wasn’t paying any of our bills, it wasn’t paying anyone.

There’s just not enough hours in a day to work on Undress Runways full time and have a full time job to pay your bills so yeah. I got to the stage where I didn’t want to continue doing it unless it was going to be financially sustainable. So at the end of last year we pivoted the business and we’ve launched this new business which is actually called, Undress…is a website where you can rent out your own clothes. So this new business it’s more of a business that people would invest in… it’s what they call a scalable platform so it’s something that can be taken and grown across the world. So what we’re going to do is to I guess just change our strategy and really focus on getting this website working, the share platform and then use the runway show to promote what is on the platform.”

Why did you decide to move from Australia to London?

Edda: “I moved here in February, to start networking with investors and start setting up some potential investments that we can put into the company and then launch in London. Cause the idea is that this website will become an app on your phone, and it will connect you to wardrobes globally. So you can go travelling, you can tap into local wardrobes, you can just get whatever you need in terms of clothing from local wardrobes and you can basically travel without luggage. I mean we’re still an unpaid team so we’re basically launching without any kind of financial support and we’re really what they call bootstrapping the business but… I think that’s really the reality of starting a business, which unfortunately, it just takes a little time to get things moving and to get into a position where we can pay our bills with the business.”

How do you feel about the future of sustainable fashion?

Edda: “We’re lucky to operate in the sustainable fashion industry because it’s such a supportive space.. I would say it’s not as cut throat as the mainstream fashion industry…you know everyone really wants to support each other, and help each other and be a part of the community of sustainable fashion. I mean now we’ve seen so much growth, which is amazing, and you know one day we won’t have to have a sustainable fashion runway show. We’ll just have a runway show, and the idea of being sustainable and ethical will just be default, like it would be weird if you weren’t.”

Thank you for the interview Edda!

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Leah May
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Leah is a teenage girl living in Australia, sharing her love for sustainable living with the world. Being passionate about making a difference, she is inspired to help others and the environment in any tiny way she can.

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