In our 'Muse of the Month'-series, we're introducing you to the inspiring women that surround us. Today, we're sitting down with Josephine Philips, founder of Sojo, the 'Deliveroo' of clothing repairs and alterations.
Hi Josephine, can you give us a little intro to your universe?
My name is Josephine and I’m a 23-year-old recent graduate turned Fashion Tech entrepreneur working to help make the fashion industry circular. I live in Shepherds Bush, London, am passionate about sustainable fashion and my start-up Sojo which has the mission to make clothing alterations and repairs mainstream.
You came up with the idea for Sojo during lockdown - can you tell us a little bit more about it?
I made my move away from fast-fashion a couple of years ago and started shopping second-hand clothes as a more sustainable way to shop. But I soon realised that I was continuously falling in love with second-hand clothes that weren't my size and didn’t have a convenient way to get them altered. Sojo was made to simplify this process, and by promoting a circular model, we hope that it will help others in their quest for a more sustainable wardrobe.
We did have to launch during lockdown which was quite tough as a service-based business but it actually ended up working well because we were a way for seamster businesses to still have orders and revenue in a contact free-way even when their actual shopfronts had to close.
Do you have any personal life hacks for getting through the day in the most sustainable way possible?
I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to sustainable living but a day-to-day tip that I always try to implement is looking for sustainable alternatives to the things in my life that I use regularly - from razors to make-up removal and period products. Over the past year, I have replaced them with more sustainable versions ... and considering that one pad takes 500-800 years to decompose you are actually making a difference as an individual!
What does clothing mean to you?
To me, your favourite clothes are a wonderful way to express yourself, to feel comfortable and beautiful.
What's the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
I’ve got two items that are really important to me. The first one is a dress that my grandmother gave me. It was one of her favourites from when she was in her 20s - it’s around 70 years old and is still in great condition! it connects me to her and her history but it’s also a constant reminder of how we should be looking after our clothes.
The second item is a pinstripe two-piece suit that I found in a charity shop. It wasn’t my size, so it was one of the second-hand items that helped my ‘aha’ moment for the idea for Sojo and it was also the first item I got altered on the app after we had launched.
How does it work?
Sojo connects customers to local seamsters through our app and bicycle delivery service to help make clothing alterations and repairs and easy and hassle-free process. The actual process is: you go on the app, type in your postcode, choose your local seamster, pop in what you need done, schedule a pick-up slot and we take care of the rest; collecting, fulfilling and delivering your order back to you.
What made you stop buying fast fashion?
I stopped buying fast fashion because of my feminist values - I became aware of the fact that the fast-fashion industry has its foundations in the exploitation and oppression of garment workers, who are mainly women of colour in the Global South, and that’s something that I couldn’t continue to support. After moving into the sustainable fashion space I then learnt about the 'unsustainability' of the industry from so many different perspectives - from water consumption to carbon emissions to human rights violations and then there was no going back.
'I stopped buying fast fashion because of my feminist values.'
- Josephine Philips
Lastly, what are your three favourite arkitaip-pieces?
The pleated Wabi Trousers are high up on my wish-list at the moment (I love a wide-leg shape). It’s also got to be the Gabri Wrap Blouse in black (it’s just so beautiful, chic and iconic), and I love the Elba Cropped Jacket in caramel - it’s the perfect spring/summer cover-up for drinks outside in the evenings.