An Interview with Giovanna Eastwood – Ethical Collection

What was your main reason for starting ethical collection?
The initial idea to start the Ethical Collection began in 2007 when I had the privilege of working in one of the poorest slums in Rio in Brazil, where I was helping a charity teach vulnerable women to produce beautiful high end fashion – which they could sell in the markets to earn a living. It was an incredible project, and I saw first hand the difference that this made in the lives of these women and their families.

I wanted to be able to showcase these amazing women’s pieces and be able to bridge the gap between artisans work and a broader marketplace, one they would not have access to otherwise. So, seven years later Ethical Collection London was finally born!

Who has been your biggest influence?
My biggest influence has always been has my mother, she has been my inspiration in everything I do. She has always pushed me to be the best version of myself that I can be, to not be afraid of failure and to take pride in my accomplishments. I have always struggled with my confidence, so having someone who has unwavering belief in you always, is very inspiring.

What motivates and inspires you?
I would have to say it is the insurmountable evidence of the pure damage that the fashion industry is doing to its people and the planet. This drives and inspires me to continue to support artisanal and small eco independent designers and to continue informing and educating those around me of this harm and what they can do to help to change this.

Everyone has a part to play and we can ALL make a difference.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I love Maya Angelou and everything she stood for. I think this is a wonderful piece of advice from her…

‘I’m convinced of this: good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good’.

What advice would you give a student today?
I would say the following 3 things…

  1. Understand yourself and what you are passionate about – and pursue jobs that match your passions. You will work harder, and be more successful, in areas where you love what you do.
  2. Don’t allow others to set limits on what you can achieve – you have more ability than you know. Embrace challenges, and stick to your task.
  3. The students of this generation have access to more information than any other generation in history, and it is easier than ever before to exercise your voice. This is amazingly powerful, but leaves no excuse for wilful blindness.

Think broadly of your role in the world – whether it be your future jobs or your choices as people.