Anna Laura Kummer, Youtuber and now entrepreneur, on the subject of sustainability, fashion and their relation to Burgenland.
MORBISCH BY THE LAKE. The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in today’s society. The regional media spoke to Anna Laura Kummer about her start in “online business” and the topic of sustainability in her job.
How did you come to work in social media?
When I was 16, I did a semester abroad in the US and shared my experience online. After returning home, I was still regularly active on various social networks and have built up a fairly large community.
Would you see yourself as an influencer or as an entrepreneur?
Currently I see myself more as an entrepreneur as I spend most of my time working on my business The Slow Label. Nevertheless, I post regularly on Instagram and still let my community participate in my life. While I used to work a lot with other companies, I now use my reach to report on The Slow Label. I show what I’m working on and what’s going on behind the scenes.
121000 users follow you on Instagram today. How do you deal with the pressure that comes with such notoriety?
I’m now very used to this pressure and I’m happy about the doors that have opened up for me in the course of my career.
You come from Mörbisch am See, but travel all over the world. How deeply rooted are you in Burgenland?
I currently live in Berlin, but I’m in Vienna once a month and in the course of this also in Burgenland. My family still lives in Eisenstadt and Mörbisch and I visit them there as often as I can!
When you return to your home country, what is your favorite thing to do in Burgenland?
I love walking in the vineyards, drinking a good Burgenland wine and spending the evenings with my family. 🙂
On your homepage you inform with your “Fair Fashion Guide” about the sustainable use of fashion. What does “fair fashion” mean to you?
“Fair fashion” means fashion that is produced sustainably and fairly, that is durable and timeless, and is produced under humane working conditions.
What is the difference between popular fashion and fair fashion?
Today’s clothing is often produced in low-wage countries and consists of synthetic materials that are difficult or impossible to degrade or recycle. The fast fashion companies want to sell a lot and this requires various marketing campaigns and sales, low prices and constantly changing collections. Customers are persuaded that they always need something new. This is exactly the opposite with fair fashion!
You recently officially opened your shop in Vienna. How was the opening for you?
The opening of our first The Slow Label store in the 18th district was a big milestone for us! Of course, it was also a risk to open a shop in such uncertain times. However, our customers are very grateful that they can try on our clothes and experience The Slow Label up close. I am proud of my team and happy about what we have already achieved this year!
How did you come to found your fashion label “The Slow Label”?
When I became vegan about seven years ago, I realized how much good this change can do. I became aware of my ecological footprint and my impact on my online community. I then watched the documentary “The True Cost”, which shows the abuses in the fashion industry, and was shocked.
The idea of founding The Slow Label came up a few years later. Since I switched, I had only worked with selected advertising partners and only advertised companies that met my criteria for sustainability. However, the choice of partners was very small. At some point I thought to myself “there has to be another way” and that’s when the idea of founding The Slow Label was born. I wanted to found a fashion company that communicated honestly and transparently, put sustainability before trends and focused on timeless and durable fashion instead of constantly bringing out new collections.
You particularly focus on sustainability. How difficult is it to be sustainable in the fashion business?
Fortunately, there are more and more innovations in fashion when it comes to sustainable materials. When I founded in 2019, the options for sustainable materials looked different, but that has changed in recent years. Nevertheless, you have to make many compromises if you want to produce fairly and sustainably. Customers expect, for example, that their clothing does not wrinkle, is stretchy, is cheap or has a bright color. If you take sustainability as seriously as we do, you can’t always fulfill these wishes.
What materials do you use in your collection?
We rely on natural fibers for our materials. First and foremost, we try to use recycled fibers. For example, our scarf is made from 100% recycled wool and cashmere! If this is not possible, we use certified organic fibers such as organic cotton and organic wool. Lyocell Tencel™, a cellulose fiber from the Austrian company Lenzing, is also often used.
Current price increases: How are you and your label affected by the current price increases?
The current price increases and the scarcity of raw materials are making themselves felt in every area of our supply chain. The price increases of our suppliers are currently at least 10%. As a result, we were forced to increase our prices accordingly.
Our customers can see the price composition on the respective product pages and are therefore always well informed about what our prices are made up of.
Apart from fashion, how do you integrate sustainability into your everyday life?
I travel a lot by train, especially between Vienna and Berlin. I pay attention to the regionality and seasonality of my food and mostly buy organic. I consume as little as possible and when I buy new things I question whether I really need them.
If you could make something in the world more sustainable, what would you change?
Sustainability should not be left to individual people. There should be government requirements for companies to comply with. Greenwashing campaigns and supposedly sustainable collections by the big fast fashion companies should be banned, as they make it difficult for consumers to find truly sustainable products.
Outlook: What are your plans for the future?
We have had a designer on the team for a month and plan to expand our collection in 2023. There are new product categories and great new products. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about the other plans yet, but we’re really looking forward to what the future brings!