Not Ours is a vegan fashion brand that started with the idea of pursuing sustainable life without exploiting animals starting from November 2017. The name of the company conveys how animal and future generation resources are ‘not ours’. A pun was also intended as ours means “bear” in French, which explains the bear in their logo.
Ewha Voice visited the office of Not Ours to grasp a better idea of what vegan fashion is and how the company produces their clothing.
“Vegan fashion is based on the idea of opposing animal exploitation,” said Park Jin-young, co-CEO and a designer of the brand. “All our products are animal-free and we do so because we want to stop animal exploitation.”
Shin Ha-na, co-CEO and a marketer of Not Ours, explained how animal materials are widely used in the clothes we wear.
“It is not only winter items such as coats or thick jackets that include a lot of animal materials,” Shin said. “For instance, wool, silk and cashmere are commonly used in everyday clothes. Wool is especially used a lot in men’s suits including those for summer.”
Instead of providing products made from animal exploitations, the company uses materials such as synthetic fiber and viscose. Park further mentioned how making use of animal materials does not mean that it is more environment-friendly compared to using chemical materials such as synthetic fiber. According to the World Bank, fur dressing is one of the five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution. Based on this background, Park stated that synthetic fiber does not cause more harm to the environment.
Not Ours tries to challenge the stereotype that animal materials are high in quality while animal-free products are not. To launch different vegan fashion items, they have run various crowdfunding projects.
When planning a project in the beginning, Shin and Park think of products that vegans would be in need of. However, they wish to design products which can be used by both vegans and non-vegans.
“One of the most successful projects was the wallet,” Shin said. “We had about 300 wallets sold. Though the sales differ on the type of products we sell, it was a big leap from the very first project, where we sold 30 coats.”
For their first project in 2017, mostly vegan Twitter users came across their merchandise and became their main customers. However, today, more people are interested in vegan fashion products and even those who are not vegan purchase products of Not Ours.
Shin further explained how they frequently communicate with customers via SNS. They not only promote their products by social media, but also receive feedback from customers. Shin also writes on Brunch, a website, to share stories related to the company.
Park stated that there were customers from overseas interested in their projects and made purchases from abroad. Mentioning the vegan fashion market is bigger in size overseas, she shared what their goals are in the near future.
“We have even sent some products internationally to customers in Germany, U.S. and Japan. We hope to expand our market abroad in the upcoming five years. We also wish to create a culture where non-vegans can freely buy vegan fashion items like how they enjoy vegan foods nowadays.” Park concluded.