Exeter Entrepreneur to appear on Crowdcube Sprint Programme
Published on: 17 February 2016
Ali Redfern, University of Exeter graduate is Founder of North South Apparel, an ethical and sustainable lifestyle brand.
The company takes innovative sustainable materials and uses them to make stylish and simple products. Following the successful development of his clothing range, Ali is looking to build a platform to sell not only his own goods, but also become a marketplace for positive brands, associated with a young adventurous lifestyle.
North South will feature on the Crowdcube Sprint Programme and Ali is the first Exeter student to appear on the platform. The programme is for business raising up to £150,000 and as Ali explained: “is of minimal risk to investors using the tax relief Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) for start-ups, it’s a generous and streamlined process.”
Ali hopes that through raising funds via the Sprint Programme he can launch the lifestyle platform and deliver the message that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, behind oil, but his company is trying to combat that. Ali revealed “if I can go some way to changing people’s perceptions that’d be a great start. Trying to encourage people to buy sustainable and ethical products without greenwashing, and based on style and function first is paramount to the success of that goal. Our materials and labour practices enhance the lives of everyone involved in the supply chain because they are safe. For example, none of our products use any pesticides, which poison water supplies and cause a number of health problems for those working in the areas. These are the subtle differences which actually have a huge impact on people lives.”
The future for ethical and sustainable fashion is huge according to Ali’s research. Ali said “The area is one of the fastest growing sectors in the retail industry at 9.8 per cent in 2014 (Green and Ethical Consumer Report 2015), and spending on ethical fashion grew by 27.3 per cent from 2010-2014 (Mintel 2015). Furthermore, it’s the younger generations, the trend setters and influencers who are all getting on board with this sort of fashion, and this is who we are targeting with our products and design aesthetic. The industry is facing a huge problem if it doesn’t adopt more sustainable and ethical practices, and hopefully in the near future this will be the mainstream. It’s very exciting.”
To find out more about the Crowdcube Sprint Programme and support budding entrepreneurs like Ali visit the Crowdcube website.