Desislava Georgieva has always been fascinated with fashion as an art and a way of self-expression. In 2015 she started her blog where she wants to create awareness and inspire her readers to celebrate ethical fashion which is more sustainable for the environment, as well as for the people who produce it.
1.Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in sustainability.
I grew up in the small Bulgarian town Shumen, after which I moved to Vienna for my studies in International Business at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Since I was little, I have always been interested in fashion as a form of art and self-expression. Also, I have been the one to collect trash from the streets after friends. During my master’s degree in Strategy, Innovation and Management Control I started diving deeper into the topic of sustainability and particularly becoming aware of the amount of waste, social and environmental cost associated with making our clothes.
Around the end of the program in 2017 I was going through a hard time in my life personally, which made me, as hard times do, challenge where I want to put my energy and think hard about where I want to contribute in the world. It became apparent to me: my deepest wish since a very early age has been to reducing suffering, to help people live their best life, and to see the environment around me thrive. Many documentaries and books later (I really, really recommend The True Cost if you are just starting off getting familiar with the impact of fashion on people and the planet), the dots started connecting and I knew I wanted to contribute to a fairer and more sustainable fashion industry with all I could. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil, as well as the second largest consumer of water. Just cotton alone, grown mainly for the fashion industry, uses 11% of the pesticides and 24% of the insecticides used in the world annually, besides using only 2,4% of the world’s arable land – crazy, right?
I started by embodying completely what I believe in – I switched to a plant-based diet and for some time bought nothing but second-hand clothing (which can be absolutely beautiful and stylish btw). I also started doing efforts to reduce waste, buying regional and package-free, which turned out to be such a fun and rewarding process too – think cool conversations with like-minded farmers market goers. When it came to writing my master thesis at university, sustainable fashion was the only topic I could imagine putting that substantial amount of research and energy into. I am forever grateful to o. Univ.-Prof. Dipl. Math. oec. Dr. Gerhard Speckbacher for the opportunity to write on a topic that is so near and dear to my heart, and the great support along the process. The project included interviewing several sustainable fashion brand founders from Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Austria to the UK and Peru. The concept that sustainable and ethical fashion start-ups that start with the “Why”, or have put the goal to create value for society in the core of their business, move the whole industry towards more sustainability, became the core of my work. Namely, these start-ups’ growing market share puts pressure on large corporations to adopt more ethical and sustainable practices as well. (I can’t recommend Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How great leaders inspire action”, if you’re curious to know more about “starting with Why”.) Of course, I leaned a great deal about the industry and got inspired even more along the process.
2. What is the d Golden Hour all about?
d Golden Hour is a space that promotes fashion that is just as cool and stylish as it is ethical and sustainable. One that creates value for business and society at the same time, made with respect to people and the planet. On our page you will find information about sustainable and ethical fashion and style, shopping recommendations for ethical brands, and the coolest vintage store spots. Because happily there is a growing number of sustainable fashion brands out there that are so much worth supporting and spreading the word about, producing beautiful clothing that is made to last and has a small impact on the environment, while providing safe work and sustainable wages to makers and artisans.
You will also find our online store, featuring our very own sustainable and ethically made t-shirt line. I’ve always wanted to create something of my own that is beautifully made, of great quality and supporting the communities involved in the process, while inspiring and empowering the ones who wear the clothes to show up to the world authentically and unapologetically themselves every day. And that’s what we do with d Golden Hour t-shirt line, proudly 100% GOTS certified and produced ethically under the surveillance of the Fair Wear Foundation.
3.How does what you currently do contribute to the community?
Through the content d Golden Hour and our t-shirt line’s message, I inspire and awaken the hearts of others to first of all be kind to themselves, then to their immediate surroundings, other people and the planet. Because I know for a fact that kindness, and the awareness that each decision you take, or you do not take every day has a great impact on the community and this world, can completely change the way you think and act. Spreading the message that each time we spend money we cast a vote for the kind of world we want to see, is my mission and most important contribution.
4.In your opinion and based on your personal experience, what steps can we take today to make Vienna more sustainable?
While individual action is necessary and extremely important, in order to create a major shift towards sustainability for Vienna and also globally, an immediate political action is needed. This means for every person to use their voice and their vote when they need to speak up and support the parties that prioritize sustainability. It also means for the city of Vienna to create even more opportunities for and continually support entrepreneurship in the field of sustainability in order to empower people who have innovative ideas and the drive it takes to create change.
5. What does sustainable mean to you?
To me, at the end of the day sustainable means coming back to our senses as humanity, and doing business with common sense. It is about instead of financial growth at any price, following the shared value approach according to which businesses can thrive by creating value for themselves and society simultaneously, instead of sacrificing the latter.
6. What would be one small thing that you wish everyone would start doing tomorrow?
I wish for everyone to know that what they do or do not do all matters. And if something seems too cheap, it probably is and somebody somewhere is paying the price. In most cases these are the communities that can do least about it. I’d say just cutting animal products in half from their diet – it will do wonder for their health and have a major effect on climate change tomorrow. And with regards to fashion, before buying anything, I’d say go back and sleep on it at least one night.
7. How can people reach you?
Check out Dessie’s important message on sustainability when it comes to fashion here: