How did you set up your brand?

DeMoo really is the marriage of two things the Demoo team loves: sustainability and fashion. Even before we all came together to set up the brand, we had always had a great love for up-cycling anything we can get our hands on.

It all started back in our first year of Durham when we went on a shopping adventure in Newcastle, on the hunt for some second-hand steals. The charity shops were overflowing with incredible jeans and denim jackets in amazing condition, with many even being designer items. This sparked the idea to upcycle the denim pieces using funky animal prints and embellished ribbons, giving them a new life. This is what inspired the name ‘DeMoo’. The ‘De’ comes from denim, and our stand against fast fashion, and the ‘Moo’ from our signature cow print trim which is now at the core of our branding.

As the brand continued to grow throughout our first year, with orders coming in from all over the UK, we decided to start creating the headbands as well which have been a great success. We use a wide range of unique embellished ribbons from India to craft our bands, each one then named after a DeMoo-er (one of our customers). In light of Covid-19, we currently have an NHS collection available, with £2 of every band sold donated to an NHS related charity as a small tribute to our incredible healthcare heroes.

How does sustainability weave into your work?

Sustainability really is at the core of DeMoo and is what inspired us to start our own business. The fashion industry today is the second largest polluter in the world. It has also been brought to light that the production of denim has devastating effects on the environment. 1800 gallons of water are required to make ONE pair of jeans. This has to change.

Upcycling is one of the most effective ways of slowing down the effects of the fashion industry. DeMoo strictly upcycles second-hand jeans and jackets for our customers. By buying jeans from us, you are making a stand against fast fashion. In the past year, we have even started using bio-degradable packaging for our DeMoo bundles of love to guarantee the sustainable theme from production to finish. Even though DeMoo is still a small business, we believe buying from us is a step, if a very small one, in the right direction, encouraging people to buy into slow fashion.

How does sustainability impact your creativity?

If anything, we’d say that sustainability sparks creativity. It forces you to think outside the box and create something which we haven’t seen before. Upcycling especially is a great way of transforming something pretty ordinary into something extraordinary!

For emerging designers or designers looking to be more sustainable, can you offer any advice?

Sustainable fashion isn’t cheap. The price of sustainable clothing is often reflected in the quality and labour that goes into its production. Running DeMoo can be challenging and costly at times. For instance, the bio-degradable packaging we use is more pricey than regular packaging but has been an amazing investment. Similarly, sourcing second-hand materials, instead of having a constant and reliable supply of denim, and making everything by hand takes a lot of time and patience. However, knowing that we are making a very small dent in the fight against fast fashion makes it all worth it.

So, our advice is to not cut corners. Sustainable fashion comes at a price so be prepared to fork out money to invest in your brand. Also, if your customers truly want to buy into slow fashion, they will be prepared to pay a bit more for your sustainable products.

What’s your hope for the future of fashion?

The sustainable fashion industry is making moves but still has a long way to go. Whilst major fashion giants develop ways of producing more environmentally friendly clothing, small businesses are blossoming. We hope that these small sustainable brands are catapulted into the wide world of fashion and receive the recognition they deserve. However, sustainability doesn’t just fall into the hands of the producer; the consumer needs to do their bit as well.

We hope people realise how easy it really is to create eco-friendly shopping habits. Taking part in a clothes swap, upcycling clothing you already own and buying second-hand are all EASY and CHEAP ways of living more sustainably. Shopping smarter is the future of fashion!