Meet Louise Napoletano, Owner of sustainable fashion website Lulu's Fashion Flair
We know that shopping is a form of therapy, but choosing where to buy is more than a monetary transaction, it’s an exchange of trust, so this month we interviewed our founder Louise Napoletano to get a glimpse inside her wardrobe and under the skin of Lulu’s Fashion Flair.
Describe your childhood & upbringing.
"I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. We moved a lot as children but always around the Sydney metropolitan area. I grew up in simpler times, before mobile phones, so we had a pretty carefree, simple childhood. Lots of time outdoors, riding our bikes and hanging out with our friends.”
“We didn’t receive extravagant gifts and we were happy with pretty much anything we got, but I vividly remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old and my sister and I got a Cinnamon doll each. These dolls had hair that ‘grew,’ and I can recall jumping up and down on the bed with excitement when we realised, we had finally got the Cinnamon dolls we had always wanted."
How did you develop a love of the natural world around you?
“Both of my parents had an appreciation for nature when we were growing up. Mum has always loved animals and dad had a love of bushwalking and scenic countryside. I recall Dad forcing us to go on bushwalks when we were younger and not appreciating it as much as we should have.”
“Now I love going for long walks in the parklands with my 2 dogs and getting out for a photoshoot when time allows. I also love travel so when international borders re-open, I will be keen to go exploring the world again.”
What did you do after leaving school?
“I left school and worked in banking for a number of years and completed my Accountancy qualifications part-time. I then moved over to a position in the finance department at Qantas which helped to satisfy my love of travel. When my daughter arrived, I left my career to focus on raising her and have since started up a bookkeeping business and my heart project – Lulus.”
"I have always felt drawn to creative endeavours and found a love of photography which I have pursued as a very enthusiastic amateur and have worked as a volunteer photographer in animal rescue.”
What motivated you to set up Lulu’s Fashion Flair?
“I am the type of person who can never sit still and have always got a million things going on. I love the challenge and autonomy of having your own business and am always keen to grow and learn.
“I have always wanted to own my own fashion store and my husband encouraged me to look into selling second-hand fashion on Ebay and things have grown from there.”
“I love our planet and have been saddened over the years to see the damage that we are causing to the environment. Fashion is one of the largest global polluters and it is imperative that we take action now to save the planet for future generations. Through Lulu’s I want to offer people earth friendly fashion choices that are good for the planet and look great too.”
What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
“Sustainable fashion combines my love of fashion with my love of the planet. Sustainable fashion means that we can be more thoughtful about our purchases and by shopping sustainably, we can choose the type of fashion industry that we want in the future.”
“My hope is that sustainability in fashion will be the normal rather than the exception. This covers everything from the fabrics and practices used in production to the garment workers producing the products. I would also love to see greater acceptability of second-hand fashion as a preferable choice of sustainable fashion.”
What sustainable staples will we find in your wardrobe?
“Definitely my old favourite, comfy jeans and Bon Label organic cotton tee, but my most coveted piece has to be my Burberry trench coat that I found at an opshop here in Sydney. I nearly squealed with delight when I came across it!”
What are your favourite pieces currently on your website?
“That’s a hard one, I have so many! If pushed, I’m really loving the new pieces from Melbourne label Quillan – especially the Copper skirt . We have only just started stocking this label and I look forward to being able to share more of their gorgeous range with our customers.”
“My favourite label at the moment is Indecisive – a young fashion label based on the South Coast of NSW. They design great modern fashion and handmake all pieces using sustainable fabrics and just in time production practices.”
What is your ambition for Lulu’s?
“I would love for Lulu’s to continue to grow slowly and steadily and to be able to offer our customers a beautiful range of sustainable brands from all over the world. I would like Lulu’s to be a platform for new, up and coming sustainable labels to be able to get their brand known.”
How has setting up Lulu’s Fashion Flair shaped or changed the way in which you live your life sustainably?
“Since starting Lulu’s I am learning more and more about ways to live a more sustainable life and what effect our actions have on the planet. I am super cautious about not being wasteful, only buy what I need and recycle where possible. Basically, every time I do something I stop and think about whether there is a better, more eco-friendly way to do it.”
Who do you admire?
I have long list of people that I admire, generally those involved in environmental advocacy.
The person that I have admired for as long as I can remember is Sir David Attenborough. His enthusiasm for the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it, is contagious. He uses his platform as a media icon to educate and inspire people to love and appreciate the world around us. At 94 years of age he still continues to work and share his passion with younger generations giving them an insight into how important it is to take care of our beautiful planet.
What businesses do you admire/follow?
There are so many businesses and bloggers doing fantastic work especially in the area of sustainable fashion education and eco-friendly living. Obviously, I love all of the brands that we stock in our store but here a few of my other favourites:
Peppermint Magazine – an Australian print magazine focusing on sustainability
Mrs Press – Clare Press is the author of The Wardrobe Crisis and many other writings on sustainability in fashion
Faye De Lanty – Faye is an Australian based eco-stylist who creates the most amazing outfits from opshop clothing.
What is your hope for the future of fashion?
My hope is that sustainability in fashion will be the normal rather than the exception. This covers everything from the fabrics and practices used in production to the garment workers producing the products. I would also love to see greater acceptability of second-hand fashion as a preferable choice of sustainable fashion.
Lulu’s Fashion Flair was founded as an antidote to the planet consuming fast fashion industry. We created a carefully curated collection of preloved and sustainable brand name and designer pieces so you can make earth-friendly, fabulous fashion choices. Check out our full range here.