leaders in sustainability:

Bridging the gap between mindfulness and sustainability with an impactful
fashion start-up

Sara Francesca Lisot
March 5, 2021

I'm a start-up founder based in Italy working for making sustainability more authentic
and visible in the fashion industry.

My journey of leadership in sustainability started more than a decade ago. When I was
in my early 20s I've started my first Wordpress blog - that was a thing back then! It was
called "I am Green Addict". The title alone is self-explanatory of what my guiding
passion was and still is: exploring and studying what is a "sustainable lifestyle" and
hopefully inspire people to get more curious about it and applying it into their lives.

My strong and consistent interest for a more sustainable way of living had me become
one of the first Italian representatives at the Nudge Global Leadership Challenge for
Sustainability in Amsterdam. In just a few days I got to meet about 30 selected young
fellows from all over the world who were determined to start an impactful career. We
were put through a condensed leadership training. We were taught how to storytell our
ideas so that our public speaking could capture the masses and how to learn great
people skills to work in diverse environments and against any odds.

One of the exercises was to represent in a theatrical way, without using any spoken
word, what would be the best solution for making the world a more sustainable place.

If you had to choose just one solution, what would it be?

And... We only had 5 minutes to come up with it! My mind raffled with all kind of
possible solutions. Was it more important to address social inequality, water pollution,
transportation, or plastic, or food, or fashion, or...? Then when my turn came I just sat in
front of the others. My leg crossed, sitting on the floor. Eyes andmouth shut, creating a
magnetic silence in the room.

If I had to choose only one thing to bring forward sustainability, I would definitely choose "mindfulness". If we all could be more aware, mindful and responsible for our own choices of shopping and consumption in general, I bet we would live in a much cleaner, kinder and fairer world.

"Mindful Shopping" for sure was the topic of the first workshop I ever taught. Little did I know that just a few years later I would have founded my first impactful start-up, which was just about bringing mindfulness into the definition of sustainability inside the fashion arena.

Less items, more quality items. Less information, more quality information. 

VIC was the first fashion service offering rental solely of highly curated sustainable and ethical brands, at a local level to keep logistics eco-friendly. We have then evolved to consult companies on sustainability parameters, circularity, blockchain traceability and to deliver consistent, transparent information in a graceful way to the final consumer.

When we thought about how to contribute to sustainability in fashion, the first thing we did at VIC - Very Important Choice (veryimportantchoice.com) was to decide to design a service rather than a product. The world has one too many fashion products and not so many thought-through sustainable fashion services. We decided to apply the 4 basic principles of circular economy (renewable resources, systemic thinking, diversifying and full product responsibility) to a local clothes rental service that would feature only already sustainably-made clothing, with technological traceability for transparent value communication and a built-in take-back and upcyling collaborative scheme. It was hard, very distinctive and humbling. Just the way a social impact start-up ought to be.

Now our service portfolio has grown to be so specific and varied at the same time (an array of very specific services for contemporary conscious brands and consumers alike) that we cannot fit in one single business category. Our mission is to put together the best of fashion (beauty, research, fun, art) with the best of sustainable innovation (systemic change, circularity, social impact, ethical technology). We hope this will pave the way to a new way of working in the fashion industry.

After all, the first co-working space was created by putting together the best elements of a coffee shop (social, energetic, creative) with the best elements of a workspace (functional, technological, productive). Yet, it is none of those. A 'third-place' was created and now, after 30 years of it being the new norm, we finally accept it as "normal" and we say "of course co-working is the way to work!"

Sara Francesca Lisot is a life coach and start-up founder based in Italy.  Her social impact start-up 'VeryImportantChoice.com' was the first one in the world offering clothes rental solely from sustainable and ethical brands locally sourced. VIC empowers people to make better informed choices for their sustainable fashion purchases. They also consult companies on sustainability parameters, circularity, blockchain traceability and PAAS business models.