Meet the Brand Anciela Setting a New Vision for Fashion Supply Chains 

Founder Jennifer Droguett addresses sustainability, materials, workers wage, supply chains and stereotypes on sustainable fashion 


Over the last few years, there has been a rise in sustainable fashion and it is undeniable that we have more avenues to buy from. Yet the core issue remains that most people do not invest in sustainable fashion because it is not trendy and does not fit into their aesthetic. The Anciela “Latin Notes” Spring/Summer 24 collection was a heartfelt journey in celebrating Latinx art, tradition, music and design while humbly addressing themes like immigration, identity, and our shared responsibility towards the environment. In conversation with Jennifer Droguett, we discovered the beauty of sustainable creativity and how her supply chain is a creative ecosystem. Drawing inspiration from surrealist artists and using deadstock archive fabrics from designers, Jennifer showed us how sustainable fashion is not the boring basics we often imagine. It can be sophisticated and avant-garde. 

Jennifer Droguett at the closing of her “Latin Notes” Spring/Summer 24 collection. Photographed by Kiera Chevell.


How can we escalate sustainability in the fashion industry? Can it ever be trendy?

Jennifer Droguett: I guess it is changing, but really slowly. I agree. Sometimes in people’s minds, they have the sort of perception of sustainable fashion as hippie looking, cheap or not premium. I do think there is that stereotype that it has to be really boring, basic, or very Scandi looking classics, and it’s not necessarily the case. With my brand it has always been about experimentation and breaking stereotypes. Sustainable fashion can be fun, avant garde, and it doesn’t have to look all the same. 

And it is about brands being responsible for the work they do. So, how do we change the perception? We have to give the tools to people and consumers to engage with us, but also be transparent and explain the things we’re using. Sometimes how people buy clothes is not necessarily linked to how sustainable that item is. It’s still very much emotional. So in that sense, I tried to do both, the business is inherently sustainable but the product itself still needs to be attractive and emotional and have that connection with people.

I agree but one of the problems people face is that sustainable fashion can be quite expensive, especially now with the cost of living. What are solutions for those who can not afford sustainable brands?

I agree. And the reason why sustainable fashion is more expensive than a traditional product is because if you pay a normal living wage in Europe and in the UK, specifically, it’s expensive. Also when you produce locally, you use premium materials and experimental yarns, those things are quite expensive. So it is really difficult to price a product, I think that’s one of the biggest challenges as a sustainable brand.

I always encourage, just buy less and choose a better product that you really love, something that you can wear for different occasions!

That is what I think when I’m designing, pieces that can be versatile. So you can wear it to the office but then you have a cocktail party and you can wear the same piece, style it in different ways and then you get more out of it.

It is about changing the mindset of hyper consumerism. I think at the end garments are an extension of ourselves. So we just need to work on that relationship of an item that we really cherish. And be more conscious of what we buy.

You can also buy second hand, you can rent but at the core it is about buying less.

I think these behaviors have been influenced by the rise of wearing a dress for one occasion and the social tension that you can’t wear it again.

So Orsola de Castro, who’s a sustainability pioneer, has a dress from us and she made this wonderful video explaining that she wore exactly the same dress, during the whole of Fashion Week and people didn’t notice. She was addressing the issue of the social pressure and anxiety of wearing the same, but she just styled it in different ways, you can take the sleeves off, you can layer it up under or on top! 

So advice to consumers is to buy less and style clothes in different ways!

What about companies’ responsibilities? 

We all need to be accountable. I can only speak from my own experience, the initiatives you can implement in your business, are going to be dictated to geographically where you are.

You need to understand your own ecosystem and the tools that are available to you geographically. I think understanding how that value chain operates in the region you’re in, is going to be key to how sustainable you can be. At the moment, sadly, I think, fashion just has become overly complicated in supply chains, people fly raw materials from one side of the world to the other side of the world, it’s out of control. It is about having governance over your own supply chain and as a business you need to be responsible for what you’re creating. So be responsible for your own waste during the production phase of your product. How are you manufacturing? What happens at the end of the life of a garment? 

I’m always encouraging transparency and responsibility. We have to do it. I mean there’s no way around that anymore. You can’t unsee a landfill polluting a desert and affecting the livelihood of people and it’s always in the global south. But at some point it’s going to catch up. The global south is not going to want Europe’s waste anymore.

Would you say that there’s just not enough sustainable education? We as a society don’t really see this information unless we search for it.

Yes and No. With newer generations, they read their news on Tik Tok or Instagram. So obviously, if you’re reading news from an algorithm that is just showing you what you want to see, you’re not really seeing what’s happening. It’s just a very subjective limited view of the world.

It has to start somewhere. Some celebrities can encourage this, especially celebrities with a big following of new generations. Like Billie Eillish hosted an event called  Overheated. I was a panelist there. And I was so excited and so hopeful that she would use her platform, promote sustainable fashion and activism to her fans because it is important for young people to get involved.

Anciela, Dahlia Silk Velvet Cropped Top, made with high-end French deadstock velvet, £345,

What kind of materials are you sourcing for your brand Anciela?

Everytime I share any piece, there’s always going to be information about the material. For me, it’s about understanding the whole cycle of a garment.

I’m based in London, I try to choose local things. So a lot of it is dead stock, which is already existing materials. So this season, for instance, we had the archive from Allegra Hicks, she had a brand in the 90s. And she had all these gorgeous prints and kindly donated them to me. Then I thought, I’m gonna weave these patterns into my concept because it’s already there. We need to keep things moving rather than them just being dead stock. So whatever I produce, is in limited numbers and makes it more exclusive.

And no one will be wearing the same thing!

I also go to hemp and linen mills in Northern Ireland. I love this material because of its circularity. So hemp has been an ancient fibre, linen as well, very durable. And it’s very low impact to the ground. Their fibres grow really easily, they don’t need a lot of water, the production side of it is quite simple in comparison to very thirsty crops like cotton. 

And then it’s very circular, because it could be very compostable. All the offcuts in our production process can be composted, then the worm castings can be put back into our plants. Within two weeks!

This season, we used a really fun technique with natural dyes. We changed the pH, which changes the colour of the pigment. This was a collaboration with Mexican dyer: Studio Kuhu, who is based in London and she is reconnecting with her ancient pigments from Latin America. We demonstrated this live at the fashion show for people to see how it would change the colour within seconds. 

                 Anciela “Latin Notes” Spring/Summer 24 collection. Photographed by Kiera Chevell.


I know that you also relate to your cultural heritage in your designs, I believe this is so important today because cultural heritage clothing is going out of fashion. What’s your response?

I think it is so important. I’m a first generation migrant, from Colombia and Chile. So for me, it’s just so important to celebrate our culture, because there’s a lot of Latinos in the UK, but it’s not recognised as a minority officially. So when I moved here, and discovered this amazing community, and realized they all sort of feel the same that they don’t see themselves in the arts or fashion. That was one of the motivations I started my brand, because it gives me an opportunity to create a platform to support other artists. It is the ability to be able to tell our own story and explain our culture because a lot of people don’t necessarily know what it means. What is American, what is Latino, what does it mean, people just know that stereotypical caricature culture. It is nice to have the ownership of your own culture.

  Anciela “Latin Notes” Spring/Summer 24 collection. Photographed by Kiera Chevell.


How did London Fashion week go? Did it meet your expectations? What are your plans for the future?

The show was incredible because we launched the brand just before the pandemic. So we did digital fashion weeks and never had a show where people could experience it in real life. So it was a challenge of how we could translate the magic we created in our fashion films in real life. I think everyone left really inspired by the show and it was about a good time. It was almost like a family reunion with all the team and a celebration of the four years. I felt proud of how the guests felt engaged and could really feel something. 

For the future, in terms of sustainability we are only going to do one show a year because we don’t want to overproduce. So the next show will be in September. We are still doing sustainable events to engage with people and including workshops. It has become an important part, everyone loves a fashion show, the glitz and glamour of it all but that is not enough for me. Make it accessible and make spaces for conversation, sharing knowledge, skills and just to allow people to ask questions is as important as the show. 


Interview for this story was conducted on 6, Dec 2023. With gratitude to Jennifer Droguett.