Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it’s a necessity, says ecommerce platform chief
DUBAI: For many, sustainable fashion is an interest or a trend. For the founders of the global sustainable e-commerce platform Plain Tiger, this is a necessity.
In the middle of the night, Oliver Baillie woke up in his new home in South Africa to find strange men in his house. He began to struggle, fearing it was theft until his wife, Alexandra Baillie, explained to him that it was the paramedics. He had had a seizure and needed to be rushed to hospital.
The prognosis was not good; a brain tumor – without previous symptoms – was the cause. Following the surgery and treatment, it led to a year of healing practices for the entrepreneur, who had recently moved to Cape Town after a long career leading international operations at a major UK bank based in Dubai.
“What I learned is that what’s good for the body is also good for the planet,” said Baillie, co-founder and CEO, during the smooth regional launch at the Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah in Dubai.
“An ordinary tiger is an orange butterfly found in the area and ‘they’ say seeing one means positive change. They kept landing on our conference room window while we were building the business. That’s why we named the brand Plain Tiger: A Global Platform for Conscious Luxury Lifestyle Products. “
The first of its kind, the platform brings together the main ethical and sustainable fashion, beauty and interior design brands from around the world. Many of the 185 brands are exclusively available through Plain Tiger in the Middle East and North Africa and represent the most carefully manufactured products in more than 20 countries on six continents. These are booming brands in cities like Paris, London, Milan, Sydney and New York.
“At a time when sustainability is a priority in the region, now is the perfect time to get started in the MENA region,” said Baillie, who has now returned to Dubai with his wife. “Governments like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are driving positive change and companies are looking to improve their environmental impact.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince last month launched a Middle East Green Initiative, aimed at raising $ 10.4 billion for an investment fund and clean energy projects to reduce carbon emissions. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates will host the COP 28 World Climate Summit in 2023. The steps are in place and brands like Plain Tiger have a real opportunity to make a difference.
The brand is also launching a sustainable development accelerator in the region, inviting local startups to assess their ethical practices from the early stages of setting up their business.
“Sustainability is a buzzword that can be used, but we have very strict requirements for brands hosted on our e-commerce platform,” Baillie said.
At a time when many companies are still implementing strategies to become net zero, Plain Tiger has already achieved “climate positive” status. Every order placed has a positive impact on the environment thanks to Plain Tiger’s three-pronged strategy: conscious conservation of products, minimization of the company’s carbon emissions and offsetting double the remaining carbon emissions by investing in projects. of reforestation in Uganda and Brazil thanks to their partnership with the main persons responsible for the compensation supplier Pacama.
Plain Tiger also has a 70 percent female squad. The designers and manufacturers featured are all selected for their expertise in their craft and their commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, often leveraging processes rooted in tradition and indigenous ingredients or materials. Transparency and traceability are the key to Plain Tiger’s ethics.
“We believe you need to know the hands that made your products,” said co-founder and director, Alexandra Baillie. Her luxury retail experience includes Estée Lauder, La Mer and The Four Seasons spas.
From packaging to material, any product purchased on the site carries a promise of ethical luxury. Add to that the passion of the founders and you also have enormous potential with a lot of heart.