About a year ago someone ordered one of our products (a large pouch) from our website. I still remember opening the notification email to find that it was from Japan because this was our very first international order. I was thrilled!
6 months later Yu-Chang got in touch with me. It was her husband who had purchased the product and they were keen to stock my products in their new Japan-based online shop. What a great opportunity it is to be a part of an exclusive ethical fashion & lifestyle shop. And what an honour it is to get to know Borderless Creations and their journey towards sustainability –
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you based and what inspired you to start Borderless Creations?
We are a Japan based company founded by wife-and-husband duo, Yu-Ching Chang (Taiwanese) and Yasuhiro Wakai (Japanese).
We both worked in the fashion industry for quite a long time and the feeling that there is so much waste created by the industry grew year by year.
After having our child, the feelings grew even stronger; what will the world be like for our son in 5 years? In 10 years? Or in 20 years?
It all started with these questions.
What is the idea behind Borderless Creations?
The idea behind Borderless Creations is to propose and introduce sustainable fashion & lifestyle that we have found around the world. We believe there are no borders between people and creations around the world; there are many people and brands around the world that have wonderful visions and stories behind what they do. However, it’s not always easy to find these which is why we want to shed light to these great creations. Our hope is that we can make a difference and contribute to the environment and at the same time, help improve people’s lifestyle and make it easier to take part in sustainable living.
The kind of brands we curate all have a wonderful story and great passion from the founders. Each brand has their own way to contribute to the world and we really resonate with those thoughts.
For example, Diti, the founder of Théla is definitely one of many people in the world trying to tackle the problem of plastic pollution. Her knowledge of environmental issues and human rights really amazed us and her story resonated with us. Her products are truly unique and also stylish which is what we love about the brand as well.
We want to find and curate brands that are not only environmentally conscious but also are truly beautiful. At the end of the day, we want to propose products that are great alternatives but we do not want people to buy more than they need either. We really believe in “Buy less, Choose well” which is why we want to propose the brands that we stock.
What are your personal values and how do they translate into your professional choices?
Before we started Borderless Creations, we attended several seminars on ethical consumption and sustainability in Japan. There were several seminars we attended by the Ethical Association in Japan.
Amongst all the seminars, the words and information from a Swedish instructor really was impressive and stuck with us. The instructor told us to use the questions, “Was this made from resources above the ground or below the ground?” as a criteria for selecting things. Understanding the differences between the types of resources can help you in determining what to pick in your daily life for the environment.
Some examples of natural sustainable resources made above the ground are trees, bamboo, cotton, hemp, silk etc. These are renewable resources. On the other hand, oil is one of the best known non-sustainable resource made under the ground and it is also the raw material used to create plastic. There are many resources on earth so why not pick them wisely? It’s a very easy choice – pick renewable resources and don’t take more than you need. This is definitely one of the guidelines for us in selecting products as well.
How would you describe the general environmental and ethical awareness in Japan when it comes to consumerism and fashion?
In general, awareness in Japan is still low. In fact, it is said that the awareness of ethical and sustainable consumerism in Japan is less than 30%.
In the Japanese fashion industry, it has been common to ignore the fact that they make more than the actual need and consumption. If it doesn’t sell, the price will continue to drop. And if it still doesn’t sell, clothes will be burned or thrown away. Consumers are also used to this trend; they will continue to buy cheaper items, knowing that price will drop at the end of the season, and clothes that are no longer needed will be thrown away (burned) without thinking much about it. That is why Japan still has challenges.
However, things are starting to change as many people and companies are talking more about environmental and ethical awareness. If there is any silver-lining to the global pandemic, at least in Japan it has definitely made people think more about the planet. Of course, we still need to see how much of this will really impact consumerism.
What advice would you give someone starting out on their sustainable journey?
A convenient world can sometimes drown out people’s imagination. Are the things you bought really a good choice for the planet? Please stop and think. There are those who want to innovate in ethical and sustainable businesses, as well as those who have looked backed on their lifestyle and want to support slow life instead. Both are definitely aiming for the same goal; and therefore it is necessary to respect each other.
The root of sustainability is to be respectful; start with what you can. It will be difficult to be completely zero waste, but that is okay. Do what you can, and what works for you. Be more mindful. Be more informed. Get inspired and be the change!