This month, Paguro will be celebrating its seven-year anniversary. Over the last seven years, a lot has changed in both society and the world of fashion in terms of sustainable living. Fast fashion rose eCommerce dominance, but then as quickly as it flourished, consumers started to question its ethical working practices. Conscious consumerism is at its highest peak ever, with people opting to spend a little more for an item which is made ethically, and will last a long time.
Our first seven years in business has grown with the green economy. And this is something which we are so proud of achieving, and we would like to thank every single one of our customers for your support during our upcycling journey. What started as an impromptu decision quickly turned into a full-time, multinational business which has brought something positive to the fashion world.
It has not been without its challenges, especially this year. But throughout 2020’s uncertainty, we have seen the public’s consciousness for social and environmental issues increase. The unique challenges of 2020 have only served to strengthen our belief in Paguro’s mission.
In this post, we’re going to explore how Paguro has evolved, the recognition we’ve gained and how lifestyle factors have altered sustainable living over the years.
Paguro’s founder, Yen, had a vision for a new fashion culture that focused on using materials and processes never seen before to create products that championed individuality, quality and sustainable living.
Yen still vividly remembers when she first saw products that were made from recycled materials but yet were well-designed and beautifully finished. Knowing the impact that these products brought to the environment and to sustainable living, Yen instantly knew that this would be Paguro’s direction.
“I always loved fashion but I became increasingly unhappy supporting an industry that is often harmful to the environment and the people working in it.
“I was inspired to start my business after a period of travelling in South East Asia. There, I met a local designer who created bags out of recycled materials. As well as reducing landfill waste, I saw how the local community benefited from this ethical enterprise.”
Paguro works with designers and artisans across Asia and the UK. This includes a Nottingham-based designer who creates intricate jewellery out of bicycle chains, salvaged from bicycle repair shops in the city.
Since its conception seven years ago, the brand has gone from strength to strength, including a seal of approval from animal rights charity Peta. Yen’s hard work has also seen Paguro Upcyclle shortlisted for a number of industry awards in the last 12 months alone, including the ‘Best Vegan Bags Shoes and Accessories’ category at the 2019 Vegfest Awards. Yen was also recently recognised for her work to promote ethical living at the 2020 Great British Entrepreneur Awards, where she was a finalist.
Yen has also been outspoken about the issues that the industry is facing, and how we can work to reduce the dominance of fast fashion. She has been featured in EuroNews, Pebble News and more, promoting her message of choosing quality, not quantity.
Paguro Upcycle’s products have also been featured in a number of high-profile industry publications, including
Looking towards the future, Yen says:
“It is great to see how living an environmentally-conscious lifestyle has become more popular in recent years. We get so many positive reactions from customers who love our products, and love that their purchases can help make a difference to the environment and people’s lives.
“As well as being kinder to the planet, we are proud to work with designers across the world and to help communities and small businesses thrive.”
Paguro’s products can be found at many independent stockists across the UK and Europe, as well as Nottingham’s tourism centre. They're even stocked by world-renowned museum Tate Modern. This was a huge vote of confidence for our artisans, and an exciting moment for the entire industry, that such a high-profile gallery would be willing to consider products made from recycled materials.
The beginning of Paguro was a little bumpier than expected. It seemed people were constantly questioning “What is upcycling?” with some even asking whether recycling had been misspelled.
Some people even seemed to find the concept of using recycled materials somehow distasteful and the idea of sustainable living to be displeasing.
Over the last seven years, with the environmental awareness campaigns which have gained increased prominence in the media and some high profile advocates of upcycling, we have certainly noticed a shift in consumer awareness towards upcycled products.
Today, people are more receptive to the idea and more retailers are showing interest in upcycled products and promoting sustainable living.
Each of our designers has their own vision that sits within our own.
We recognise that the economy is circular - you don’t get much without giving something back. As a result, we have been donating to a number of charities during the last 12 months as Paguro has grown.
We have given a portion of our profits to:
- Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity
- CARE International for its International Women’s Day Campaign
- Plastic Ocean Charity
Paguro’s anniversary isn’t the only one we will be celebrating this month. At Paguro, we are big supporters of vegan products and the vegan lifestyle, as reflected in our range of bags and accessories.
November celebrates the anniversary of National Vegan Month, a great sustainable living lifestyle choice.
All of Paguro’s products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, making them quite fitting for our ethics, customers and time of year. The anniversary of veganism is a great way of looking back at how far sustainable living has come; whether it be food or fashion, a lot has changed in seven years.
Alongside National Vegan Month and Paguro’s seven year anniversary, we’ll also be celebrating the anniversary of National Recycling Week, another huge part of sustainable living.
If you know anything about Paguro, it’s that waste is not an option. We make it our mission to use and repurpose materials that were headed straight for landfill. Repurposing the weird and wonderful means that we can help do our bit for the environment as well as produce unique and bespoke products that are as individual as our customers.
The success and growth of Paguro is why we are so happy to be celebrating its seventh anniversary. Looking back at the journey over the past seven years to write this blog has been quite a nostalgic moment for everyone associated with Paguro.