As we are quickly approaching our 5th Birthday, we thought we would let you know a little bit behind AIRR and the lady who has made it all possible – Ayesha Bell.
Ayesha Bell is a young social entrepreneur; Founder and managing partner of AIRR Clothing, a pioneering sustainable, ethical and Fair Trade fashion retailer with a mission to provide customers with beautiful, responsibly sourced clothing and accessories. Ayesha has turned her passions; Sustainability, Fair Trade, fashion and business into a successful ethical social business.
Ayesha is becoming a well-noted mentor to new ethical brands and start out businesses and is expanding into becoming a spokesperson giving advice to college and university students on how they can set up and run a successful social business and become the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
Ayesha’s story begins at the tender age of 17 after she left school and home to travel to Cornwall to find a job and living of her own; Which she did starting out in Crew Clothing working between stores in beautiful seaside towns, Padstow and Rock. Soon realising her passions of fashion but also her itchy fingers to get into business and management, she left 10 months later to return home and begin planning on setting up on her own. Whilst planning and setting up her business, the endless searching for the “right” brands brought her into the ethical and sustainable world. Learning a vast amount about the importance of ethical, sustainable and fair production in her first buying meeting with People Tree planted a seed; She wanted to spread the word, support and shout about the beauty and crucial importance of ethical fashion. It was buying with a purpose; Helping support communities, farmers, artisans, our environment and other independent businesses and brands – just by buying consciously.
Ayesha opened her first AIRR Clothing boutique in June 2010 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Within 12 months, she had pushed the business forward recognising the need to become a multichannel retailer and opened AIRR’s first transactional website in 2011. Year on year, Ayesha continues to expand the business with improving the website keeping unto date with the latest digital trends, opening other stores, and revamping their brand selection and offerings – taking on more and more ethical and sustainable brands to offer a full lifestyle range of ethical, sustainable and Fair Trade fashion and accessories.
Ayesha explains in her own words, the important of supporting ethical and sustainable fashion:
The environmental and social impact of buying a non-ethical, cheap, fast produced t-shirt, dress, shoes etc is something that we should all be concerned about. It is an industry that keeps the world’s poor and most vulnerable living in poverty and unsafe conditions, whilst damaging our precious environment, killing resources that one day will run out.
Buying ethically produced fashion you are supporting a positive movement, no matter how small or large, a £20 t-shirt or a £200 bag – is supporting safe, sustainable, ethical and fair production. One that doesn’t risk the lives of farmers or artisans and loose traditional hand skills which have been passed down in generations. One which doesn’t use harmful chemicals killing our environment, forcing farmers into financial crisis and also potentially risking our skin by wearing something that has used something toxic.
Supporting ethical fashion is saying no to fast produced clothing and standing up to other retailers, saying enough is enough. We care about who and how our clothes are made.