Finsu Talks With: Natalie Binns

Natalie Binns is a fashion retail and manufacturing expert who started her career in the buying offices of some of the UK’s most recognisable brands. Seeing first-hand how wasteful and damaging the fashion industry could be drove her to start her own consultancy, where she helps purpose-driven fashion businesses drive sales with sustainability at the forefront. Natalie also champions conscious consumption through public speaking and lecturing for universities.

Between running accessible sustainability workshops for fashion brands and posting guides on how to shop more consciously, Natalie has gained notoriety as an invaluable source of expertise and extensive knowledge in sustainable fashion and beyond, with features on BBC Woman’s Hour, Stylist, and Hello! Magazine.

We recently had the pleasure to chat with Natalie about how she got into fashion buying, sourcing and sustainability consultancy, and her advice for shopping consciously. 

Photo credit: Natalie Binns

What motivated you to start doing your consultancy?

I was a high street fashion buyer for 15 years and whilst I loved my job I hated working in an industry that I knew was incredibly polluting and exploitative. I felt like a small cog in a large machine, being asked to produce bigger and bigger collections, more and more cheaply. 

I knew that I wanted to be part of the change that the fashion industry needs so in 2019, I started my own consultancy helping start-up and established fashion businesses work more ethically and reduce their environmental impact.

What’s inspired you recently?

Working with students. They always ask the most insightful questions.

What’s one change you wish to see in the world?

I’d love to see more community and collaboration.

What’s some advice you have for people wanting to shop more consciously?

Shopping more consciously begins with shopping less. I recommend starting with what you already own, go through your wardrobe, take note of what you have and see if there are any gaps. Focus on rewearing your clothes and try to reduce shopping to only what you need.

When you do shop, focus on buying better – ethically made, better quality and lower environmental impact. Buy as much as you can secondhand.

Photo credit: Natalie Binns

What’s a brand you really admire?

A brand I really admire is Neem London. They are fully transparent, make collections with low environmental impact, have a clever made-to-order model to reduce waste and take their clothes back for recycling. They’re also working on innovations that would help the wider industry, not just their own brand. Truly purpose driven!

Who’s one person that inspires you?

At risk of sounding cheesy, my Mum. At 49 she changed careers and started running marathons!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

Probably to trust my gut.

What’s one thing that’s giving you hope for the future?

I think what’s most exciting to me is seeing sustainability become less niche and more ‘business as usual’. Selfridges for example, has prime retail space dedicated to resale and repair and it’s permanent, not just a pop-up or a gimmick.

What’s one quote that you live by?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

What’s a wardrobe essential you can’t live without?


Photo credit: Natalie Binns

Whether you’re a fashion brand looking to incorporate sustainability into your business practices, or someone who wants to learn some more about conscious consumption, Natalie is your go-to. You can find her Instagram here and her website here, where you can find her services, blog, and even subscribe to her monthly newsletter.

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