An interview with Rebecca Prunali
Rebecca Prunali, founder of Talia Collective (@taliacollective) is a changemaker trying to better an industry in desperate need of change. The Italian, most specifically Roman, entrepreneur has always cared about ethics and sustainability. Her final dissertation from her law degree was in human rights and she also graduated from the University of Arts in London with an MA in Communications with a focus on sustainability. With her latest venture, Talia Collective, she is taking over Instagram with educational content, the latest sustainable brands and a super cool aesthetic. Her goal is to inspire people to achieve an #EffortleslySustainable lifestyle. In this interview, Rebecca tells us about her life growing up, her thoughts on the fashion industry and challenges the world of sustainable fashion and lifestyle.
Tell us a bit about Talia Collective.
Talia Collective is a new destination for those looking to learn and talk about sustainability. A place to discover new brands and to be inspired by the eco heroes who are leading the change.
We are the first editorial marketplace to promote sustainable fashion, beauty and lifestyle products for conscious consumers who don’t want to sacrifice quality, luxury and aesthetic.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business? What is your ambition?
While researching eco-chic apparel and sustainable beauty products, I realised that there was a gap in the market. It took me ages to find the products I was looking for, and even when I found them, websites were generally not presenting brands in an appealing way. And so I asked myself, why can’t sustainability be fun, cool or even aspirational?
At Talia Collective, we want to change people’s perception of sustainability from the required to the desired. Our belief is that ethical living is no longer an option or a trend but it needs to become the new normal.
"...when I started to research the dramatic effects of fashion, especially fast-fashion, on our planet and people. That was the turning point"
What is your biggest challenge?
I believe there are two key challenges in the world of sustainable fashion and lifestyle. The first is related to finding brands that are truly sustainable and not just greenwashing. Sustainable brands need not only to communicate this to consumers, but they need to start measuring their impact.
The second challenge is related to prices which are generally higher compared to the fast fashion industry. Over the past decade, fast fashion became part of our daily life and consumers are now used to buying garments that cost the same price as a cappuccino. In order to keep costs and prices low, big players in the fast fashion industry grew at the cost of workers and the environment. The challenge is encouraging consumers to embrace the “buy less, buy better” attitude. Combining one high quality piece with different accessories can get you a completely different outfit.
Have you always been sensitive to sustainability? Have you changed your behaviour in the past few years to lead a more sustainable life?
I’ve always been sensitive to the environmental aspect of sustainable lifestyle – cleaning up the beach and trying to reduce my water usage but I used to drink plastic bottled water and buy Zara garments. I grew up with a mother who championed the slow fashion and organic philosophy, so I guess it was in my blood. But as it often happens, if your mum says so, it becomes uncool! The enlightenment happened during my MA when I started to research the dramatic effects of fashion, especially fast-fashion, on our planet and people. That was the turning point.
Do you think there is a true shift in the fashion world towards a more sustainable industry?
I think there is a real conversation about it and I know a lot of amazing brands who are really embedding sustainable strategies in every step of their production – looking at their supply chain and the lifecycle of their products. But as I said, there are many others who are just exploiting sustainability as the latest trend.
I believe it’s not just up to the companies. It’s also up to the consumers to drive the change and seek out truly sustainable products. That’s why our magazine is committed to consumer education as well as brand promotion. The two things must work in unison.
What would your ideal wardrobe be?
A selection of timeless pieces that I can use and reinvent 10.000 times. Pieces that perfectly fit my personality and body, making me feel comfortable and beautiful. They have to suit me, not the trends
Who inspires you the most? / Who do you look up to?
In the sustainability world I admire Livia Firth. She campaigns for conscious lifestyle tirelessly but with that fun and cool approach that we love and share. In my personal life, my husband. Ambitious and driven but without being obsessed. Incredibly smart but never arrogant.
"The challenge is encouraging consumers to embrace the “buy less, buy better” attitude. It’s also up to [them] to drive the change and seek out truly sustainable products"
Do you find it challenging to be a woman entrepreneur?
To be honest I haven’t faced any discrimination as a woman entrepreneur. I actually received lots of support from my whole family and friends. Only once, someone told me that a woman with a career shouldn’t get married and have children. I laughed.
Any advice you would like to give other young women who are thinking about starting their own project?