BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear graduate Monique Taffe-Jones has recently joined the Women4Climate Mentorship Programme, an initiative launched in 2017 which aims to empower the next generation of climate leaders, offering professional mentoring to young women from around the world. Thanks to this programme, female entrepreneurs like Monique can have access to personalised support from their mentors in many different fields, including politics, business and media.
Currently being mentored by Dana Perkins, Head of Business Development at BloombergNEF, Monique tells how joining W4C has helped her to further her career as a sportswear designer: "It has given me the opportunity to gain guidance from a professional mentor, who's constantly providing me with constructive feedback and helping me to generate ideas for my project," she adds.
For Monique, being part of W4C is a big step forward in her race to contribute to a more sustainable future, especially within the fashion industry, something that has been a priority for her since a very young age: "I've always been aware of not wasting things — the war saying “Make Do and Mend” is a statement that has stuck with me since primary school," she says. After pursuing her studies in Fashion Sportswear at LCF and starting her brand Taffe-Jones, Monique has been introducing sustainable practices in all her designs. For her most recent project, titled The Bounce Back Collection and dedicated to contemporary maternity sportswear, she's using environmentally-friendly materials and discarded fabrics from fashion houses.
One of the main concerns for this young designer is the role that education plays in raising awareness about sustainability. Thinking of those who are now building up their paths to join the fashion industry, Monique wants to encourage new designers to use their time at university to start developing a more sustainable approach towards their designs:
It's important that students are taught how to be more sustainable, with tutors encouraging them to use more eco-friendly practices. If this is not reinforced from the higher education institutions, the fashion industry would be birthing more and more fashion brands that are harmful to the environment.
Even though she recognises that setting up your own label "is not as simple and glamorous as one may think," Monique wants to encourage young designers to "always believe in your idea." For those looking to pursue a career in the fashion industry, the sportswear graduate advices students to start exposing themselves to the industry as soon as they can through internships and networking, as well as to always keep an eye on the latest trends:
Being fashion aware is a very important tool to have — it keeps you up to date with what is out on trend as well as opening your horizons to niche opportunities.
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