Interview—Besma, founder of Curiously Conscious

Besma documents the places she explores and the stories of those who are "doing a little more" though her blog Curiously Conscious. She shares with us the stories behind her approach to mindful living, tips on how to live more sustainably and gives an insight into her top natural beauty products in our interview below.


...I always try to give myself personal time, whether that’s a walk on my lunch break, or time alone in bed, to keep me mindful.
— Besma, founder of Curiously Conscous
A series for Curiously Conscious—Besma shares her Sunday Reads regularly including inspiring articles, magazines & books.

A series for Curiously Conscious—Besma shares her Sunday Reads regularly including inspiring articles, magazines & books.

You mentioned to me before that you've "worn a few hats over the last three years of writing—mindful lifestyle, conscious lifestyle, wellness lifestyle". Has it been a natural progression through each, from one to the other?

I feel like it’s been a natural progression along with my own life, really. I started writing when I first became conscious of eating healthily, and now I’m conscious of the natural and cruelty-free beauty products I buy, the ethically-made clothes I wear, even the food waste I make!

What, for you, distinguishes these lifestyles from each other?

I think there are many things overlapping with a mindful lifestyle, conscious lifestyle, wellness lifestyle—they all aim to demystify decision making, leading to better choices and more happiness.

How do you approach your daily life in a more mindful way?

I suppose it’s second-nature to me now, but there are simple things I do—I carry a rucksack with essentials like a bottle, cutlery, cotton bags to be more zero waste. I ignore sales and fashion ads, and instead follow brands whose ethos I share. And I always try to give myself personal time, whether that’s a walk on my lunch break, or time alone in bed, to keep me mindful.

An image from Besma's recent post Holidaying in Crete.

An image from Besma's recent post Holidaying in Crete.

What is it about this approach to living that inspires you?

It’s probably cliché, but I grew up watching a lot of Disney films, and their protagonists are always good, kind, honest people. When you’re a child, you want to be them! When you’re an adult, it’s a lot harder to discern what’s good and kind and honest, but I’m finding this approach certainly helps!

It's wonderful that sustainability has become more of a movement in the last couple of years. How have you seen your audience respond to this?

It’s such a good thing—I feel happy to see it grow! I think my audience has become a lot more aware of sustainability issues, especially in their consumerism, and that’s thanks to campaigns such as Fashion Revolution or movements like Zero Waste. It’s great to feel like there’s a big group of people out there that also support what you do—it really makes a difference.

What is it that makes your want to share the stories of the "products, places and people that are doing a little more"?

I think it all started with my first blog, which was a kitsch indie music blog where I wanted to share little bands that I had discovered and loved. In a certain way it was like being a follower on social media before social media existed! Now though, I like to think that I’m helping create a greener place despite yet having the ability and opportunity to run my own green business… Stay tuned!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to live more sustainably?

I would say look at your own life first, and see what little changes you can make. Not all changes suit everyone—I still buy more plastic than I care to admit—but the little things will keep you feeling inspired. The eco-friendly toothbrush you clean your teeth with, or the ethically-made handbag that you wear—they become reminders of living sustainably and can lead to even bigger, better things.

You've reviewed so many wonderful beauty products over the years! What are your top three?

Ah, that’s a difficult one! They change based on my skin and the season, but right now I would say my Albus & Flora Lip Balm, Ere Perez Mascara and RMS Un-Cover Up.

Besma shares a handful of her of her everyday favourite natural beauty products.

Besma shares a handful of her of her everyday favourite natural beauty products.

Ethical Dictionary

Ethical Dictionary—What is GOTS certified?

A new series for Studio Notes—we explain the meaning behind some of the terms commonly used by sustainable and ethical clothing labels.


GOTS—The standard

GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) monitor suppliers and traders to make sure they're meeting certain, specific criteria. Not just about organic practices, it ensures fair trading and working conditions for all those who work under the standard.

Veryan Studio - What is GOTS certified?

In detail

GOTS requires traders to have:

"...a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres whereas a product with the label grade ‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres." (1)

However, there's a lot more to the standard than just ensuring fabric is produced organically. It also includes a comprehensive "Social Criteria" (2) outlining labour standards, which covers everything from stopping forced labour, health and safety checks, to a minimum wage fixing convention. Below is an excerpt (3) regarding fair wages from their latest standards (at time of publishing):

 

3.7. Fair remuneration
  • Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.
  • All workers must be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions compliant with national legal requirements and including wages and social benefits legally granted before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid.
  • Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure are not permitted. Other deductions are permitted only under the conditions and to the extent prescribed by law or fixed by collective agreement. 

 

Comprehensive and credible, working with GOTS fabric provides assurance of the highest quality organic resources but—so importantly—it also provides reassurance that those producing fabric are treated fairly and have a high standard of working environment. In the UK, it's so easy to take for granted these basic human rights, GOTS helps us to work with those outside our direct locality who are committed to fair industry in their native countries.

For more information on the GOTS certification, visit their website. A condensed overview of their standards is available here or you can read their most up-to-date (at time of publishing) standards here.


Why we use GOTS?

At Veryan, we want everyone who has had a hand in making our garments to have had a positive experience when doing so—GOTS assures us that our partners also believe in and uphold these rights. They're basic human rights, but sadly so much of the industry overlooks them. Investing in a piece made from GOTS certified fabric helps all those involved in the production process and the environment to boot.

Made with GOTS

The #027 dress & #028 wrap top are both made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and finished with GOTS certified organic cotton thread.

#027 dress made from 100% GOTS certified cotton

#027 dress made from 100% GOTS certified cotton

#028 wrap top made from 100% GOTS certified cotton

#028 wrap top made from 100% GOTS certified cotton


Quarterly Review

Quarterly Review—Spring

A look back at some of our favourite moments from this Spring.


Collaborations

Léa Morlino shot our #026 skirt on the streets of Paris & told us what she loves about Asian and minimalist fashion.

Minimalism has always been an inspiration for me. Whether it is in art, music, design or fashion. Thinking about minimalism is taking an interest in abstraction: Remove the superfluous in order to bring the details out. Beauty is in simplicity and subtlety: less is more. Minimalism embodies the future and modernity in my opinion.

In fashion, minimalism focuses on the precision of the cut and materials, on the dress in the most natural way, without paying a particular attention to gender.

The Asian influence, especially the Japanese one, is a major ingredient of minimalism! I really love Asian designs for their simple structures, their raw materials and clean shapes. I am especially thinking about the kimono, the pleated skirt, culottes or long oversized shirts that fuel the Asian trend. All these facts give the clothes a unisex appearance that I really love!
— Léa Morlino
Explore Léa's instagram for minimal & Asian inspired style.

Explore Léa's instagram for minimal & Asian inspired style.


Interviewees

Eleanor O'Neill, the founder of STUDY34 and journalist at Huffington Post talked to us about the challenges of running a sustainable business and shared her thoughts on the future of the fashion industry in our two part interview.

Eleanor's first knitwear collection for STUDY34.

Eleanor's first knitwear collection for STUDY34.

I would love to see a change in the stigma attached to working in a factory. I’d love to see people who design clothing also knowing how to make clothing, so they can make more informed choices to make it more sustainable.
— Eleanor O'Neill, founder of STUDY34

Behind-the-scenes

Our local Peckham Rye, explore the photoshoot.

Our local Peckham Rye, explore the photoshoot.

Linen was definitely on our minds this spring as we launched the SS17 collection. Made from flax—which grows abundantly without harsh chemicals, linen ages beautifully, getting softer over time and made a wonderful material for the new season designs. The crisp navy and white palette of the collection perfectly compliments the signature, easy tailoring of the pieces.

 

We've drawn inspiration from our local Peckham Rye for our new Core collection. The vibrant street style and culture of working creatives permeates the new designs. These will be available exclusively online at www.byveryan.co.uk. (Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know.) Expect soft jersey t-shirts and utilitarian workwear pieces.

 

Look out for further instalments to our Core collection over the next 6 months, we're busy working on extending our range of modular styles. These pieces will be permanent (as long as fabric stocks' last) and will never be on sale, so you can get your favourite t-shirt time and again.

A snapshot from the Veryan Studio instagram.

A snapshot from the Veryan Studio instagram.


Collections

We talked to the founder of Veryan, Veryan Raiker, to find out her thoughts on how SS17 represents our modern style philosophy.

The Veryan woman was the sole inspiration for SS17. Busy, creative—the designs allow her to express her style and individuality freely. Movement, comfort, a sense of being effortless all come together for the Spring / Summer season.

We carried this ethos through to our accessories—all of which meld style and functionality—and naturally compliment both the SS17 and Core range of designs.
— Veryan Raiker, founder of Veryan
The #026 skirt, styled with the #023 t-shirt.

The #026 skirt, styled with the #023 t-shirt.

Photoshoot

Photoshoot—Behind-the-scenes

Veryan Raiker studio
Veryan studio
Veryan studio
Veryan studio

Photography: Veryan Raiker

Photography Assistant: Agnès Voulon