Anna-Louise Howard Founder Farm to Hanger transitioned her career after 25 years as an environmental landscape and fine art photographer, to pursue her passion for sustainable, environmentally conscious fashion. With Farm to Hanger, she has brought to life her vision of an ethical, slow fashion business, with zero waste and a 100% transparent supply chain.
In for the long haul, Anna-Louise is creating timeless classics that she intends will be wardrobe staples of conscious consumers for years to come. Farm to Hanger‘s production facilities are run off grid as she strives for the mantle of Australia’s No.1 sustainable fashion brand. Anna-Louise wants her legacy to be a cleaner, better world for our next generations.
Tell us how your 25 year long career as an environmental landscape photographer influenced your career transition.
As a photographer for 25 years, I witnessed industrial pollution that large companies constantly covered up, at the expense of the people that work and live in and around the factories. I spent many years exhibiting my work, trying to raise awareness to affect change. However, this pollution wasn’t just contained to the factories, it extended to communities, schools, and eventually everyone on the planet through climate change, poor air quality, growing allergies and health issues. I was sick and tired of seeing the results from these toxic industries go unchecked and wanted to be the change I wanted to see.
I chose the 2nd largest polluter on the planet at the time, the fashion industry. In a highly toxic, synthetic, water polluting, waste producing industry, I have created a business that is proving that the industry no longer needs to exist in its current form. I have created a non-toxic, transparent, traceable, sustainable supply chain, ethically produced, carbon reducing, zero waste fashion business that creates beautiful long lasting classic designs in high quality materials.
How is Farm to Hanger’s traceable supply chain and slow fashion business model contributing to changing the fashion industry, and improving our world?
By proving that it is possible to to create garments without the environmental and human impact, Farm To Hanger is creating wearable change with each garment that our customers buy. With changing buying habits, customers are shifting market demand towards more sustainable and environmentally conscious products, forcing large retailers to change their practices or lose market share.
Your mission is to build Australia’s 1st 100% sustainable off-grid apparel factory. What is your ultimate goal?
Farm To Hanger is already off grid with water and septic and currently powered by green power. We are aiming to have the new sustainable factory completed by the end of the year. We want to affect real change and be Australia’s No.1 Sustainable Fashion brand. To do this, we are constantly evolving our processes to improve what we do and how we do it, to give our customers the most sustainable and beautiful garments that they’ll love wearing for years to come.
How have you approached differentiating your brand in the market, and communicating the benefits of supporting Australian grown and made fashion?
We have approached differentiating our brand and building awareness in small incremental steps, through educational events, speaking engagements and by partnering with other businesses with similar values and principles.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Our constant challenge is educating consumers on our products and services, teaching them the differences and giving them the facts to understand why they are the better environmental choice to fast fashion brands.
What are you most proud of?
We are most proud of having a transparent business that produces sustainable products that our customers love. Without them, change wouldn’t be possible.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
A piece of advice for future female leaders: To find your passion, something that keeps you going no matter what other people do or say. Especially if someone says ‘you can’t’ or ‘it’s too hard’, enough passion and belief in yourself and what you are doing to keep evolving into a successful business leader.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.