As part of The Ethical Style Project, Andrea Bury from ABURY has kindly agreed to take part in this ethical style interview.
Andrea Bury is an experienced marketing expert and social entrepreneur. In 1999, she was appointed to the management board of the Laureus World Sports Awards in London. In 2001, she founded the agency “Calliope-inspiring brand communication” in Munich. In 2007, Andrea and her then husband, realized the concept of AnaYela – “A place of Inspiration” in the Medina of Marrakesh. Fascinated by the crafts and shocked by the situation of many artisans, Andrea started the social business “ABURY” in 2011, combining the desire for style and ethics, exclusiveness and sustainability. ABURY preserves and distributes exclusive, authentic handicrafts from all over the world.
Hi Andrea, could you tell us about your company ABURY and more about what you do?
ABURY brings together international design and traditional craft communities to create a new luxury that fosters intercultural exchange, preserves crafts and supports education. Our ultimate goal is to make it fashionable to care again – about people, planet – but also about the things you buy. It should be cool to buy sustainable and to know the story behind the product you wear. Product wise we focus on fashion and interior accessories.
How did the idea to start your company come about?
I was living in Marrakesh for two year in 2008/2009 originally to renovate a riad (a traditional house in the old town of Marrakesh). I fell in love with the craftspeople and their skills, and at the same time was shocked that their heritage is getting lost so quickly, their skills are not appreciated anymore, cheap imports make handcraft loose its value. So over time I started collecting hand-embroidered vintage leather bags and when I came back to Germany my friends loved them too. I started selling them and giving the money back to the local community. And in this process the idea arised that it would make much more sense to support the local artisans using their craft for more fashionable products, with higher quality and a fair payment. So this is how finally in 2012 the first ABURY Collection hit the market – as a cooperation of a french designer and moroccan artisans.
Your brand has strong ethical values. Tell us about your journey into ethical fashion as an individual. Were you always aware of the cruelty, inequality and environmental harm involved in mainstream clothing and fashion production? If no, when did you learn about the cruelty and inequality that goes on behind the scenes and how did this affect you?
Well I grew up in the 70s and 80s when H&M just started and obviously I loved it first when it arrived in Germany and offered us to buy cheap, cool clothes. At the same time I grew up on the country side and we always had a very natural eco consciousness in our family. And it was also the time when the green party started and we had a strong green movement in our school – so I started to become aware and active then in my late teens. I was joining the local amnesty international team, collected cola cans, etc. Still it took until 2004/5 that I really started to implement it in my job when I started to try to convince companies to „green“ their events or implement a meat free day in their cantines.
Why is it so important for people to support ethical brands?
Well – there are many reasons obviously! Number one – this is the only way we can save our planet in a long term perspective. So each time you support an ethical and/or ecological brand you support the planet! And it is still not enough! We have to proof also that from a financial point of view running an ethical brand is attractive so that more people start an ethical brand or transform their company into a more sustainable brand! We have to change many paradigma so that it becomes fashionable to care!
How are the materials used to make your products ethical?
We only source locally made materials. So our products are sourced and produced mostly within 20/30 km of range! No pieces lying around the world for different steps of production. We do work with leather – which is a difficult material regarding ecology but we tested the colours we use and the leather and they comply with the EU standards.
As you know, this interview is part of The Online Stylist’s project: “The Ethical Style Project”, which aims to help and encourage others with their transition towards ethical fashion. What tips and advice would you give to those who are about to start their ethical style journey?
An easy first step is to really only buy what you like – and then take good care of it and wear it for many many years! do we really need a huge closet – or just be more creative in combining things? Then – I would start with buying ethical basics – in Germany you can get them e.g. at Hessnatur. Also – getting hip pieces second hand / vintage is a great way to shop ethical!
Thank you very much for the interview Andrea! You can check our Andrea’s company ABURY at: