MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation graduate Lu Zhou has won the Social Enterprise Prize at the Creative Enterprise Awards 2019.
Lu Zhou aims to bring long-lasting change to the fashion industry by using seaweed as main material for her nightwear collection as seaweed is a sustainable marine resource.
We caught up with Lu and asked her more about her project, the process and what she has in store for the future.
Congratulations on winning the Social Enterprise Prize! You created Seaweed Wonderland, can you tell us more about the project?
How is it to be at the head of your own project?
I have a very supportive team! As founder and leader, it is important to believe in the success of your project and my team feels the same. I learned to communicate with my team and coordinate people’s talents, whether it is design, finance or technology. I am always open to their questions and suggestions. At the end of the day, we are all heading in the same direction and it’s to build Seaweed Wonderland!
What are you plans with Seaweed Wonderland for the next few years?
For the next couple years, we plan to develop Seaweed Wonderland in the U.K, present our collection in fashion shows and create an innovative online live broadcast platform collaboration with popular celebrities. Ideally, in a few years, we would like to cross the borders and open stores not only in the U.K but also in Europe. We hope to further develop the Seaweed experience to food, cosmetics, and healthcare products.
Sustainability is at the heart of Seaweed Wonderland, it’s a pressing issue in the fashion industry and LCF. What are your thoughts on sustainability in the fashion industry?
Sustainability is inherently part of the project: from the choice of material to the design of our products. We endeavour to produce healthy, environmentally friendly and fashionable nightwear, for the customer’s benefits as well as the environment.
As a fashion concept, seaweed is very novel, and we hope that our efforts will encourage the industry to investigate it further. Hopefully, someday seaweed becomes mainstream.
The fashion industry does seem to be heading towards a greener future where we could use sustainable marine resources instead of depending from those of precious land and polluting fuels.
What have you learned the most during your time at LCF?
My time at LCF taught me the 3Cs: curiosity, courage and coachability. Curiosity led me to the seaweed fashion. Courage was essential when facing technical problems and market bottlenecks. Coachability is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs as you must be willing to start over from scratch if needs be! I have learned a lot from my students and team members: their entrepreneurship, presentation skills, negotiation skills, diligence and teamwork.
What advice would you give new students?
Following your passion is the key. You might be motivated to do something because of money, but if you want to excel at it, you need be passionate. Life is short, fight for what you love.