We're proud to introduce Josephine Philips, founder of Sojo, as part of our new Champions of Change series celebrating entrepreneurs making a positive impact.
Josephine is on her way to revolutionise the old fashioned industry of tailoring to the digital age with the UK's first clothing alteration and repair app Sojo. The 23-year-old founded her own business last year as a way to promote circular fashion and encourage the younger generation to wear and love their clothes longer instead of sending them to landfills. By making it easier and fun for smartphone savvy people to repair or alter their garments, Josephine is helping to change our throwaway culture and revive the local tailoring industry one seam at a time.
Why did you decide to start Sojo?
I had the idea for Sojo and decided to create it when I got into the sustainable fashion space. I realised that I loved second-hand clothes, I loved engaging with sustainable fashion and I wanted to love my clothes for longer. But I had no idea how to sew and I figured that the clothing repair and tailoring industry had not been changed for hundreds of years and it needed a way to connect with the younger generations because repairing a button, repairing a zip or tailoring your clothes to fit you is a great way to love your clothes for longer. I figured there were no solutions for making that process really easy.
How is Sojo contributing to a more sustainable future?
Sojo is contributing to a sustainable fashion future in two key ways. The first is through our repairs. By making repairs exceptionally easy, we are fighting against that disposability culture that sees 30 million items of clothing end up in UK landfills each week. By being able to fix a broken zip or repair a button really easily, we are able to help people love their clothes for longer. The second way is through our clothing alterations. Now we all know how good it feels to wear clothes that are perfectly fitting on you. When they are tailored to you, you feel much better in them and you’re not going to throw away that pair of jeans that fit your perfectly. We want all your clothes to be like that. And by doing that, we think that people will love their clothes for years to come. And as Wrap says, by increasing an active use of clothing for nine months, it reduces its carbon and water impact by 20%. So imagine what loving it for 20 years would do – that’s what we want to help with our tailoring solution.
How did you choose where to make your impact?
There were many places where I could’ve chosen where to make my impact. I’ve always been really impassioned in lots of different places but for me fashion seemed like it was an untold story. There have been people shouting about it for years but it seemed like not everyone knew or not everyone was engaging with the fact that fashion is so destructive, unethical and polluting to the environment and harmful to the people in the supply chains. So when I figured that that was the case – I didn’t know myself – I just thought this is where my mission lies and this is where I want to have an impact. That was the start of my journey.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me looks like Sojo completing ten thousands alterations and repairs every single day. Knowing that we are keeping those clothes in people’s wardrobes and loved would be such a fantastic feeling. When we are worldwide and doing all of that, we will have so much impact and I really hope that we will shift the needle and help make the fashion industry truly circular.