#makinglifeworkforme: coping in a growing ethical world as a fashion producer and Arbonne consultant

Hollie Bellis, a fashion event and show producer and an independent consultant for Arbonne tells Eco Style how her passion for sustainable fashion helps her balance her work.

After gaining a master’s degree in Fashion Design specialising in sustainable womenswear, Hollie’s interest turned to making sustainable products. But, life took over and freelancing turned to a full time job which took a main priority.

hollie bellis
Photo Credit: Hollie Bellis

You’ll find Hollie producing fashion shows during London and Paris fashion week for a mixture of high street and high end names; the likes of Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen and H&M.

Part time, she sells Arbonne products but actually began as a customer for this international, multi-level, health and skincare marketing company. A friend introduced her to their products when Hollie was looking for body wash and shampoo that doesn’t have sodium lauryl sulphate in because she heard it was quite drying on the skin.

After trying the anti-ageing skincare range and watching a presentation, she was interested because Arbonne products are all vegan, cruelty free, gluten free and free from about 2,000 different chemicals.

Hollie said: “In the UK there is about 1,100 different chemicals that are banned in cosmetics but Arbonne choose to ban extra ones because they are not really sure what they do to the body.

So, I was really interested because I’d never come across skincare or beauty products that have been vegan labelled before and apparently it’s quite a difficult certification to get.”

The packaging also attracted Hollie to the products. The ink is soya ink, so it’s not polluting when the packages are recycled. The paper and cardboard are also recyclable. 

Hollie said: “I love that idea of it being recyclable and things sort of never actually going in the bin. You know, it’s like all these things kind of go round and round and round and they’re not damaging for anyone because there’s no nastiness in there.”

Hollie often encounters ethical and sustainability issues in her work.

The fur protesters that gather around London fashion week is something she admits to struggling with as her day-to-day job is within an industry that sometimes supports areas of unethical practice.

However, she has noticed that some brands have been making changes such as those under the Kering Group. For example, Gucci has gone fur free and other brands appear to be following suit. 

Hollie said: “I really really struggle with that because I really don’t agree with the fur industry. I don’t agree that you can buy fur that has been produced ethically because if it’s illegal to produce it in the UK then I don’t believe that there’s anywhere that you can produce it humanely because it’s not humane.”

Recently, her work has made her pay closer attention to high street brands and their response to sustainability. She believes that changes need to be made to match with the change in society.

She said: “I think because veganism has become so fashionable and so at the forefront of everybody’s agenda, everybody’s looking for veganism not only because of ethics but because of wellness and health.

I think that works hand in hand with sustainability and that goes hand in hand with fashion brands really having to fall into line because they’re going to have consumers who don’t want to buy from them.”

Her view is that small, independent businesses are attracting millennials who follow ethical values. She believes Arbonne is such a success because of their network marketing technique which aims to offer an alternative way to live sustainably. 

Hollie thinks that storytelling is helping create sales at the moment with the likes of the John Lewis Christmas advert pulling on customers’ heart strings. 

Arbonne also use this technique. 

Hollie could tell someone a story about face cream that she uses every single day and then watch a video of her using that face cream every day. They are more likely to want to buy it because it is a product that has a message and a uniqueness to it but also because they are buying products from a singular person rather than from a faceless corporation.

Hollie said: “I think that is why veganism and this rise of awareness of sustainability and ethical practices and wellness and sort of change in the way we want to work is because it’s almost that sort of antithesis of the big consumer culture that we’ve kind of driven up with the Kim Kardashian’s of this world.

You know, Kylie Jenner’s website selling out of lipsticks in 20 seconds – some people don’t want that. Some people want the polar opposite. They want to go to Jane round the corner who hand makes you a woolly hat.”

Hollie hopes to get back into working on sustainable products. In particular, she wants to link her accessories design with her ongoing work with Arbonne. 

You can check out Arbonne’s products here and more of Hollie’s work here. 

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