Nominate in the bCreator Awards 2024

made by annie talks sustainability, Sewing Bee and building your own brand

made by annie picked up the Fashion bCreator Award in 2023 following an exciting year where she featured and won on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee. We spoke to Annie about what it’s like to build your own brand as an online creator and how we can find out if a brand we’re buying from is honouring their sustainability commitments.

You have your own brand – House Of MBA. What are the first steps a creator should consider when setting up a company? What lessons have you learned? 

Yes! I just really wanted something visual that can represent me to put out into the world. In terms of first steps, I would say to build your community and understand what they want. Start small & understand the cost of the items you are making.

However, at the same time I do think it is also important to not get side tracked with what other people are doing. One of my best pieces of advice from a role model of mine was “blindfold your horse and ride it.” Have no distractions, and stay in your lane and you will succeed. 

For me the business side of things has been my biggest learning curve. As a creative it’s not something I’m overly passionate about as the clothing came first, but it’s something I think is imperative to thrive. Do your research, and talk to your peers!

Your win follows an exciting year where you won the Great British Sewing Bee – can you tell us about your experience being on TV?  

It was absolutely fantastic I loved it! Just so weird seeing yourself on TV! It was amazing to be challenged on things I never thought I could achieve, and pushing yourself to limits you just wouldn’t in your own surroundings. I would love to pursue more on broadcast as I’m teaching a craft, it’s such a fabulous way to explain the benefits of sewing and upcycling, and meeting incredible people.

How would you define ‘dopamine dressing?’ 

Finding joy in your clothes. When you put on an outfit or a piece of clothing that makes you feel good, it’s linked to that rush of dopamine which in turn will actually make you feel good! In this way considering what you wear is a method to elevate your wellbeing with print and colour, and may even make someone else smile in the process! 

As a sustainability creator, what does winning the Fashion bCreator Award mean to you?

I think it marks the signs of some change within the industry which is what’s so exciting! To have sustainability influencers nominated in the category was surprising in itself, but to actually win it was another thing! It just feels amazing, and is reassurance that I am on the right track. I think it’s a sign that people are questioning what they wear and where it comes from.

Nominations for the bCreator Awards 2024 open on the 1st May

How can a creator find out if a company they’re purchasing from/advertising is honouring their policies for sustainability?

I would naturally want to look for brands that are transparent about where they source their materials and where their products are made, and if the goals they publish on their environmental and human impacts are ever followed up with whether they have reached those goals, or how on track they are. This effectively shows me if they even tracking them in the first place?  

I also check if the brand is listed on the Fashion Transparency Index, which highlights the gap between brand claims and actions towards circularity. Greenwashing has been prevalent in the past but fortunately, regulators in London and Brussels are implementing stricter rules on how companies communicate their role in the climate crisis and nature loss. Terms like “carbon neutral” and “nature positive” will face more scrutiny from organizations like the Advertising Standards Authority. This increased accountability will hopefully end vague claims like “environmentally friendly” and make brands much more accountable, so we as the consumer can have more trust in their claims.