CEO Update


The 25th of August this year will mark the 10 year anniversary of the incorporation of the Ethical Fashion Forum. This is a huge milestone for us - and only possible thanks to the brilliant people in our network around the world. I’m thrilled to let you know that we’re now embarking on the next phase of our journey - we’re building Mysource, which will allow us to take our work to scale. Our goal is to create a community that will reward sustainability and drive forward best practice from one end of the supply chain to the other.

We have some exciting news to share as we move into the Mysource build phase: 

Harold Tillman CBE joins Mysource as a Founder and Chair

Harold Tillman has been a supporter of the work of the Ethical Fashion Forum for many years and has now backed Mysource as a founding investor and Chair. Formerly Chair of the British Fashion Council, Harold brings with him expertise and connections that will help to ensure the success of Mysource. He joins several other industry leaders and pioneers in backing Mysource (watch this space for updates on our other investors and partners).

Our new base: Brook St, London W1

We’ve moved offices to Brook St, W1, at the heart of the fashion industry, where we will be based during the Mysource development phase.

Next steps

Over the next 6 months we are going to be building the Mysource platform - and our success will depend upon how effectively it solves your problems.  If you would like to be kept updated or be involved in the testing process please join our mailing list at

When Mysource launches, it will replace the current SOURCE platform at Until that time, we will continue to operate and grow the services we offer members through the current platform. The Ethical Fashion Forum will continue to exist and our goal is that it will become a charitable arm of the Mysource platform, retaining its original objects of education, poverty reduction and environmental responsibility through fashion. For more on the transition from Ethical Fashion Forum to Mysource, please see this article. 

Monthly meetups

The best thing about the Ethical Fashion Forum has always been the people and businesses in our network, and to grow our engagement with you during the Mysource build phase, we have relaunched our monthly meetups in London. (Sorry - we know that only a small part of our network is based in or near London! We are working on how we build our in person engagement more globally so let us know if you'd be interested in this here.)

I look forward to sharing other important Mysource updates with you as we move forward, and I hope to connect with you during the Mysource build process.

With warmest regards,   

Tamsin Lejeune
Ethical Fashion Forum | Mysource


The New Leaders

By Mysource CEO, Tamsin Lejeune

On the 29th June 2016 we launched the first in our series of “New Leadership” round table events at the House of Lords in London. I felt humbled by the fact that we had the highest turnout of any event in the history of my work with the Ethical Fashion Forum – almost 100% attendance (and not much seating room as a result).

Even more humbling, was who was (squeezed) into that room. Over 30 drivers of change in our industry joined us – from pioneering entrepreneurs and influencers, to the owners of major businesses, from one end of the supply chain to the other.

Our remit? To create a core group of senior leaders with the capacity, and the will, to drive meaningful change for a more sustainable fashion industry.

What is New Leadership?

John Kenneth Galbraith defined great leadership as “The willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time.”

There is nothing new in this definitiion: John Galbraith was an economist born in 1908.

However two big things have changed:

  • The major anxiety of our time: Climate change has placed our planet in jeopardy – and globalisation has resulted in massive levels of inequality across our global society – and the gap is widening
  • The role of business – business has become infinitely more powerful and influential on a global scale. For example, Walmart’s revenues are bigger than the GDP of Norway.

This places businesses and business leaders in a unique position of influence – and of responsibility. Yet, how many are taking up the opportunity to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time?

I have had the privilege over my ten years of work with Ethical Fashion Forum and in the fashion industry, to have witnessed the results of great leadership in many forms. Individuals who have persevered beyond the odds to achieve change, within businesses small and large, within policy and academia. I find it exhilarating what can be achieved by one individual, or group of individuals, with creativity and drive.

And yet, so much opportunity is missed. So much more could be achieved – if more business leaders would take up the challenge of real leadership – that goes beyond profit and confronts the major anxiety of our times.

The great businesses of the last century – from Ford to Cadbury’s and Rowntree – were built on the premise that business has a responsibility that goes beyond driving profit for its shareholders. A responsibility that goes beyond “doing no harm”. That business is a vehicle for the betterment of society and all of the communities within which it operates.

So what we mean by New Leadership, is really “Old Leadership” – a return to the values that underpinned the birth of industry. In a new context. A context in which the importance of galvanising great leadership is more pressing than ever before.

3 types of “New Leader”

Essentially, the Ethical Fashion Forum began, and has continued to be, a network of leaders and pioneers. Over the years, 3 sorts of leadership have emerged.

  • Pioneers: Individuals who go out on a limb, and pursue a vision with enormous levels of perseverance
  • Influencers: Individuals working within established systems, persuading, motivating, selling ideas
  • Champions: Individuals who give their voice to change, get behind the initiatives driving change, support the pioneers, and listen to the influencers

I believe that New Leadership can and will transform the way fashion business is done.

Our challenge is to move New Leadership from niche to mainstream, to encourage and support more pioneers, influencers, and champions, across every part of the fashion industry supply chain. The goal of our round table series at the House of Lords is to bring together those in leadership positions in the industry to share insights, drive forward change within their spheres of influence, and encourage others to follow suit.

Read the 8 insights from delegates at our inaugural round table on the drivers of change in the fashion industry

Tell us your thoughts on #NewLeadership on Twitter – @ethicalfashionf

  Sustainable Fashion Champion Emma Watson modelling for People Tree

Sustainable Fashion Champion Emma Watson modelling for People Tree

CEO Update

I am thrilled to share two exciting pieces of news:

  1. Mysource has been approached by a major investor in the fashion industry who would like to buy a significant stake in the Mysource business and commit fully and publicly to helping us to achieve our goals and vision.
  2. We are formalising terms with a number of lead investors - fashion businesses and business leaders that are pioneering in sustainable practices, who would like to back Mysource and help us to take it to scale. 

We will be moving forward with the development of Mysource during 2016, with the backing of some major industry names. 

If you would like to be involved as a shareholder, supporter, or contribute your expertise to our Mysource key advisor panel, please email us at

Greatly looking forward to hearing from you, 

Tamsin Lejeune
CEO, Ethical Fashion Forum and Mysource

Stefan Niethammer - Why I'm Investing In Mysource

Stefan Niethammer is the co-founder of 3FREUNDE and Mila Fair Clothing, as well as a Speaker and Consultant

I started out working in fashion when I founded 3FREUNDE (3 friends) with two friends who shared a vision for developing the perfect t-shirt - perfect not only in terms of design and fit, but also ecologically and ethically. 

 Stefan Niethammer, Founder of 3FREUNDE and Mila Fair Clothing

Stefan Niethammer, Founder of 3FREUNDE and Mila Fair Clothing


It has been a long journey to get to where we are today. Starting out with conventional cotton back in 2006 then moving to organic cotton, and eventually fairtrade-certified organic cotton to produce our t-shirts, we have always been trying to improve. 

We also spent a huge amount of time trying to set up a fully sustainable and ethical supply chain - researching and looking for partners that fit with our values, as well as obtaining reliable information about their processes and certifications. We struggled to find a manufacturing partner that was willing to pay living wages to their tailors, that focused heavily on fairtrade-certified organic cotton, and that had open and transparent practices. 

So we decided that we would found our own manufacturing unit according to these values and Mila Fair Clothing was born. Since 2012, we have been working with this factory in order to ensure that our supply chain is as sustainable as possible. 

 Fairtrade cotton farmers in India

Fairtrade cotton farmers in India


Bearing my experience and our story in mind, I am very pleased that the Ethical Fashion Forum is taking the next step with Mysource. As one of its first investors, I want to see brands and designers get matched with the right suppliers - a huge challenge for us in our early days. I would like to see intelligence that helps these brands make good decisions, and a platform that especially helps small and medium sized suppliers to offer their unique production methods. 

Mysource will not only be a tool for a niche market that cares about sustainability but rather something that the entire industry will want to use.

Mysource will be a fantastic ‘matchmaking’ tool - helping even the smallest suppliers and factories to stand out in a competitive market, and the go-to for startup brands to decide if they want to work with an agent, direct with a factory, or just to order fabrics. The online intelligence that Mysource will provide will help companies to understand their market, their customers, and their own business practices - and all of this will be tailored to the company’s own needs. I believe that as an information and sourcing hub, Mysource has the potential to be highly profitable. 

My decision to invest a substantial amount into Mysource reflects my past experience in this industry and I hope that as a result, many others will have greater access to all of those connections and information that we needed when we were starting 3FREUNDE. I also believe that Mysource will be very beneficial for our manufacturing company, Mila Fair Clothing, by allowing customers to more easily find and approach us. 

Whether you want to change the fashion industry, or just benefit from succeeding in it - an investment in Mysource is a good choice.  

 3FREUNDE win a 2014 International Fairtrade award

3FREUNDE win a 2014 International Fairtrade award


Ally Bee Knitwear - Why I've Invested

Founder of Ally Bee Knitwear, Alison Baker, talks to Mysource about her vision for the future of the fashion industry and why she decided to invest. 

Mysource (M): Tell us a bit about Ally Bee Knitwear

Alison Baker (AB): Ally Bee produces collections for men and women, and a small homewares line using only high quality, natural fibre yarns which are grown, spun, and knitted in Great Britain. Ally Bee launched in October 2014 - this was the culmination of nearly two years of researching and testing British alpaca and wool yarns and making connections with suppliers who helped turn the concept into a reality.

M: What challenges, if any, do you face as a business trying to succeed - both commercially and sustainably - in the fashion industry?

AB: Environmental sustainability is not such a challenge because this was built into the ethos of the business at the beginning. I was adamant Ally Bee would produce high end, UK-manufactured knitwear from the natural resources derived from the British smallholdings and farms because it avoided the problems associated with imported fibres such as sheep mulesing, over-grazing and desertification, polluting dyeing practices, and massive air miles in transportation. But it was hard to find the right suppliers at the beginning - a lot of trial and error was involved. It also demands a level of risk and time that conventional knitwear labels do not have to shoulder because they can rely on a stock service made from imported fibres.

Commercially, making it in fashion is a big challenge. Finding retailers willing to take a chance on a new - and unconventional - fashion label is no small feat. Retailers are risk averse when it comes to taking on new labels, and that is understandable, and they base their buying decisions on commercial considerations, rather than the emotion and sentiment of the end customers who buy because they fall in love with a product. The traditional trade show route is high risk and can be financially crippling, so as a designer you must not build your model on the assumption you will be winning business accounts from the get-go. I've let go of any notion of selling to retailers for the near future, and will focus on direct sales and other online avenues.

M: How do you believe Mysource could help you? 

AB: I believe Mysource - once launched and snowballing in growth - will become an essential, trusted resource for retailers wishing to identify and compare brands to fulfil their buying requirements. Sustainability credentials will increasingly nudge retailers towards one brand over another. Materials, provenance and social impact matter more and more to consumers and soon more buyers will factor this into their buying. Mysource will help a small label like Ally Bee enormously, to have the sustainability credentials listed and compared side by side against other labels. 

Mysource will also help promote those manufacturers who are reliable, and weed out those who are not! Ally Bee has reliable suppliers - thank goodness - but this is only after several errors that may have been avoided if there had been a reliable and thorough sourcing resource from the outset.

And, as soon as my suppliers get listed on Mysource I will endorse their reliability to help boost their business - if they survive and thrive this in turn helps guarantee the ongoing production of Ally Bee collections within the UK. 

M: Why did you decide to become a shareholder? 

AB: I want this platform to succeed and I believe it can. I'm a big advocate of sustainable fashion and Mysource presents a robust digital platform to make an impact on tidying up the act of the fashion industry. It will give sustainable, reliable suppliers - and brands - a better chance of being seen and heard above the noise of the conventional fashion machine.

I believe it can work because it is starting from an established, informed and loyal base who will use this platform from the word go.

The fashion industry - from raw source of materials through to the shop floor - is nebulous but it should not have to be. A platform with volume and range of suppliers across the industry, supported by rankings and endorsements, will encourage more commitment to transparency, quality and reliability. 

M: Where would you like to see Mysource in 10 years’ time? 

AB: On the supply side, I want Mysource to be the dominant go-to platform for researching sustainable fashion supply chains, just as LinkedIn is the first port of call for searching out professional and business connections. And by validating sustainability credentials, and quality, through testimonials, research, and rankings, this will have made a real impact on driving more sustainable, less wasteful methods of doing business in fashion. 

I also want to see Mysource as a robust online trade show platform seriously competing with the wasteful, hit-and-miss conventional trade show. I want Mysource to be the trade show platform that is targeted, curated and well-moderated, and relevant for serious buyers, giving small brands the chance to get their collections in front of buyers without incurring the crippling costs of money hungry trade-shows. This will also save serious costs for smaller buyers, who can then put more of their budget into new product! A win-win for everyone.

 Alison Baker of Ally Bee Knitwear

Alison Baker of Ally Bee Knitwear

 Womenswear Collection AW15

Womenswear Collection AW15

 Menswear Collection AW15

Menswear Collection AW15


Mysource convenes fashion industry leaders at UK Houses of Parliament to discuss sustainability at scale

On Wednesday 11th November 2015 Mysource brought together more than thirty fashion designers, leading journalists and CEOs of major brands, retailers and manufacturers at the UK Houses of Parliament to discuss how sustainability can be taken to scale in the fashion and textiles industry and how the new platform will make that possible.

Hosted by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey OBE and Tamsin Lejeune, the CEO of Mysource, the roundtable convened many of fashion's leading figures, including: Hilary Alexander OBE, former Fashion Director of The Daily Telegraph; Roland Mouret, award-winning luxury fashion designer; Eric Musgrave, former Editorial Director of Drapers; Catarina Midby of H&M; Brigitte Stepputtis, Head of Couture at Vivienne Westwood; and several world leading suppliers.

Tamsin kicked off the roundtable by discussing the three things that are preventing the sustainable fashion movement from going to scale: sustainability being perceived as a cost rather than an opportunity; lack of industry-wide awareness; and both professionals and businesses shifting responsibility for sustainability to other parts of the supply chain.

Lucy Shea, the CEO of communications agency Futerra, sees an evolving sea change where sustainability is becoming a business imperative, especially as more consumers are looking for products made in a sustainable way. However, the research behind Mysource suggests that only a minority of businesses are taking a triple bottom line approach to business - one that considers social and environmental goals alongside financial targets. Shea agreed, “there is a huge potential for more of the fashion industry to get involved and that it’s going to take pioneering solutions like Mysource to move sustainable business from niche to norm."

Mysource aims to help fashion professionals to do business better, by matching them with the connections and resources they need to succeed, both commercially and sustainably. This tech platform, being brought to market by the team behind the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF), builds upon the work of EFF and already reaches a network of 220,000 people in 141 countries.

Sustainability is a business benefit

The roundtable united business leaders from one end of the supply chain to the other. On the supply and manufacturing side, there was consensus that sustainability has been an important business benefit. For the Hirdaramani Group, top manufacturer in Sri Lanka, they believe that trying to be more sustainable is simply the right thing to do and their investments in social and environmental improvements have shown a payback.

Shafiq ul Hassan believes that his company Echo Sourcing, a UK and Bangladesh based manufacturer, has seen medium-term business benefits but wants to see brands and retailers move in the same direction. This is where comes in. For suppliers like Hirdaramani and Echo Sourcing, Mysource will connect them with customers who share their values and will help them get discovered by more prospective customers as a reward for their pioneering best practices.

Fashion industry players need to take a lead on sustainability

There was much discussion over how regulation and legislative incentives are needed to push the industry towards sustainability. However, Baroness Young noted that changing legislation at the UK level is a long term project.  It was argued that industry players need to take a lead in driving change - and that governments can at least look to be more supportive.

The need for more transparency, collaboration and “making sustainability sexy"

Lucy Shea believes that the power of Mysource is in its wide reaching network and that it is the people using Mysource who will truly take sustainability to scale in the fashion industry.

Catarina Midby from H&M talked about the need for more industry transparency and collaboration and how Mysource will be a crucial tool for industry professionals to connect, share and learn from others on the platform - making both transparency and collaboration a practical reality.

The more that brands like H&M are able to demonstrate and communicate to their customers about sustainability, the more likely it is that sustainable business will be scaleable. Hilary Alexander argued that not enough companies are talking about their sustainability efforts and need to do more. She believes that the businesses that are working sustainably should promote this more publicly -  if we want to truly change mindsets. 

Many of the roundtable delegates agreed that sustainability at scale is not going to be led by consumers but by business. Prama Bhardwaj, the CEO of Mantis World, further elaborated saying that "customers want above all to trust brands and to feel confident that they’re conducting their business in the right way."

Luxury designer Roland Mouret described his passionate commitment to producing his designs in the most sustainable way possible but has found it difficult to access enough suitable materials and fabrics. Mouret said enthusiastically that “if sustainability is made sexy then all women will want to buy it.” Mysource will make that possible.

Mysource’s in-built rating feature will give companies, such as H&M and Mantis World, the opportunity to showcase their sustainability initiatives in a credible way. Mysource also will give industry professionals practical information and training on how to most effectively communicate what they do.

Building a coalition of leaders to take this to scale

Prama Bhardwaj believes that sustainability is the responsibility of business leaders and industry professionals. Shafiq ul    Hassan of Echo Sourcing, Lucy Shea and Hilary Alexander agreed that it’s the visionaries at the top who will drive this forward.

Mysource, through events like this roundtable, is building a coalition of leaders - companies and individuals - who will back Mysource and help take sustainability in the fashion industry to scale. Industry leaders who have already committed their support include Amber Valletta, supermodel and entrepreneur; Jane Shepherdson CBE, CEO of Whistles; Dolly Jones, Head of Digital at Condé Nast;  and Baroness Martha Lane Fox. See who else is backing Mysource, here.

The Mysource team have launched a crowdfunding campaign, allowing anyone to become a shareholder, and benefit from the projected growth of the platform. Learn more about Mysource, including a 3 minute video introduction at  Be part of a better future for fashion: Visit Crowdcube for all the details on how to become a shareholder, including Return on Investment.

 Some of the roundtable attendees from left: Brigitte Stepputtis, Head of Couture at Vivienne Westwood; Tamsin Lejeune, CEO Mysource;  Assheton Stewart Carter, The Dragonfly Initiative; Baroness (Lola) Young of Hornsey; and designer Roland Mouret.

Some of the roundtable attendees from left: Brigitte Stepputtis, Head of Couture at Vivienne Westwood; Tamsin Lejeune, CEO Mysource; Assheton Stewart Carter, The Dragonfly Initiative; Baroness (Lola) Young of Hornsey; and designer Roland Mouret.

 A full room at the Houses of Parliament roundtable hosted by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey and Mysource

A full room at the Houses of Parliament roundtable hosted by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey and Mysource


A Customer Journey

We are often asked about the potential customers for Mysource - who are they, how do we already engage with them, and how will they use the platform? 

While we could show you all the impressive numbers and growth statistics to back this up - our network reach of over 220,000 in 141 countries, the thousands of site visitors we get each week using our resources, or the 1,800 people who registered for our most recent online event - a better way to explain this could be a simple story about one person and one business. 

This week, we spoke to Sarah Fenn - a fashion professional who has engaged with us several times before - as a student, an employee of a large brand, and now a business owner. She is representative of thousands of fashion professionals who will benefit from using a tool like Mysource. 

When did you first come across the current SOURCE platform

I first heard about the Ethical Fashion Forum in 2010 and then SOURCE in 2011 when it was launched, through my University at the time, Nottingham Trent.

I used the current platform throughout the last 2 years of my degree (BA Hons Fashion Design) to inform my work and to make sure I always had an eye on the development of ethical fashion.

I think our course really made us aware that sustaining the industry though growing ethical practices was a must. Since graduating I have read many articles on SOURCE to aid me as I worked in a large fashion brand and now in the process of starting my own business.

What are you up to now? 

I currently run my own business making bespoke garments, sampling for other designers and alterations, privately, and in conjunction with a few local high street stores. Within the next 3 years I am aiming to have launched my own line of clothing, for men and women, with a strong ethical focus - I don't want to giveaway my USP just yet!

What are your thoughts on the new platform, Mysource? 

I think Mysource is an amazing idea. It can feel very daunting starting out on your own, with it being notoriously 'hard and expensive' to start out in the fashion industry, and impossible to know the ethical standards of other companies.

I think a lot of talented designers have probably gone to waste due to this reputation of the industry. However Mysource really opens it up and gives graduates and other creatives a chance to make the right connections and find the right information that would be so stressful and time consuming to have to find on your own. 

And it's not just helping people and businesses make any connections - but connections that make the industry a better place. Finding the people who truly want to work ethically on your own is next to impossible but Mysource's benchmarking system is the perfect way to find the right people who can help you in a positive way.

How could Mysource help you? 

I will use Mysource to help connect me to specific people that offer what I need and who run their business with appropriate practices that fit in with the ethics I will keep within my own business. Using all the other tools it offers, such as helping me to understand my market and lookbook development, it will help me develop in to a viable company that will be a part of the future of the fashion industry. 

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be involved in something as pivotal to the fashion industry as Mysource, and I hope I can be involved indefinitely.

Sarah Fenn offers bespoke pieces and tailoring for menswear and womenswear.


Mysource Launch Event

With just over a week to go until the Mysource Crowdcube campaign goes live, fashion industry leaders and investors came together at a launch event in London to learn more about the Mysource platform and how they could be a part of it. 

The event was a great chance for interested investors to meet the whole Mysource team, ask questions about this exciting new online platform, and discuss ways to help support the Crowdcube campaign and spread the word. 

We are seeing great momentum starting to build - with great feedback and enthusiasm coming from all areas of the fashion industry, from those we've worked with before as well as new, interested parties - really showing that Mysource has the potential to be an indispensable tool for everyone working in the industry. 

A huge thanks must go out to our event sponsors who created an outstanding setting to bring these people together. Futerra, for the event space, Be Inspired Films, for producing our engaging campaign video, Beautiful and the Feast for the exquisite catering, Stellar Organic Winery, and Liberation Nuts

Mysource gains the support of Astia

After a four stage pitching process, including a webinar to investors based in Silicon Valley, Mysource gained the support of the Astia programme, 'Searching for Supernovas'. Astia actively identifies women-led ventures that are poised for explosive growth, backing the most promising, investment-ready companies identified by their global investment network. 

Astia was founded in Silicon Valley in 1999. Today they operate globally with nodes in San Francisco, New York, and London. Astia's highly curated expert network includes serial entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, corporate leaders, bankers, accountants, lawyers, and others well-versed in the unique challenges of high-growth entrepreneurship.

The Astia Capital Runway identifies investment-ready companies led by women and provides them access to capital and resources. Through a personalised referral system, a proprietary Expert Sift screening process, and Global Venture Lunches in front of the "Astia Angels", female entrepreneurs and their teams work their way towards investment funding, receiving valuable feedback from expert advisors along the way. 

"Your presentation was very solid, and the market opportunity is very substantial", Christopher Kirby, MD Richmond Park Partners, participant in the London VC Venture Lunch where Tamsin Lejeune, CEO of Mysource and Founder of the Ethical Fashion Forum, pitched in July 2015. 

A Network for Change

By Tamsin Lejeune, CEO, Mysource

Earlier this year, LinkedIn announced their list of the UK's Best Connected Women. To my surprise and pleasure, they let me know that I top the Fashion and Retail list. Apparently, I am the most engaged woman in fashion and retail in the UK. 

This got me thinking. There are so many well-connected women in the fashion industry. I am not a celebrated designer, nor a media figure, nor a supermodel. Yet, I have found it very easy to grow a vast network, not just in the UK, but globally. Why should I top the list?

For me, the answer is very clear. My network is made up of thousands of people who LOVE fashion. But, many of them also want more. I connect with people every day who aren't satisfied with the status quo - they are seeking ways that they can make a positive difference in our industry.

Fashion and textiles is now the second most polluting industry in the world - second only to the chemical industry. In addition to this, over half of global apparel brands are doing nothing to ensure living wages.

For thousands of people in my network though, it's not the challenges that inspire them to engage. Instead, it is the opportunities that fashion offers to make a massive difference to people's lives and the environment. From the intrepid entrepreneurs setting up brands and production units that are lifting whole communities out of poverty, to the intrapreneurs in some of the world's largest corporates working tirelessly to improve standards, this is a network for change. And, it is reaching tipping point.

If I am the UK's best-connected woman in fashion and textiles, that means that making a difference matters to most people working in this sector. We estimate that there are 376.2 million people working in fashion and related sectors worldwide. That is one big network. If we can build collaboration across and between those professionals who want to see change, we will move mountains.