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When luxury meets sustainability: Ioanna Topouzoglou on her sustainable accessories brand Mashu

When luxury meets sustainability: Ioanna Topouzoglou on her sustainable accessories brand Mashu
By Renoon

Meet Ioanna Topouzoglou, founder and creative director of Mashu. We met up with her to discuss how to be stylish while caring for the planet and how she launched her own sustainable and ethical luxury fashion brand. 

Based in London but originally from Greece, Ioanna Topouzoglou became passionate about fashion sustainability when she decided to change her diet into a plant-based one.

Mashu Sustainable Fashion 2022 Meet the Designer Renoon Shopping Responsibly
Images by Mashu

When I made the decision to cut out animal products in my diet, I no longer felt comfortable owning leather goods

“I wanted stylish options that were vegan and kinder to the planet, however I soon became aware of the limited options available in the market. Realizing there was a gap for fashion-forward, vegan and sustainable accessories, I decided to take the leap and do It myself. That was when Mashu was founded, and ever since, we have been committed to researching, innovating and evolving to improve our environmental and social progress as a brand”

I created a brand for those searching for style, without compromising on their values of protecting the planet, animals and people

Mashu is a luxury accessory label, creating contemporary handbags that are vegan, and responsibly and ethically produced. It is all about a passion for design, sustainability and incredible artisan craft. In the design of each collection, they inject a fun, forward-thinking and fearless approach. 

From the very beginning, Mashu has been committed to driving meaningful change through sustainable innovation and ethical best practice, from materials and supply chain through to production. 

Mashu Sustainable Fashion 2022 Renoon Shopping Responsibly Meet the founder
Images by Mashu

Working with new materials is definitely one of the bigger challenges that we face as a brand 

“We get so excited when we find a new, low-impact material for a collection, however materials that are better for the planet aren’t always the easiest to work with! Some vegan leathers aren’t as malleable as animal leather, which makes design and  crafting more difficult. We learned that we need much longer to test and trial products before they get signed off, so that we can ensure that our bags are still going to be of the highest quality, both aesthetically and structurally. 

The challenges we’ve faced with our materials have forced us to think outside of the box, and create innovative techniques to make our bags” 

The process can be frustrating, but  the result is something we are incredibly inspired by and proud of 

The next months will be at the same time exciting and busy for Mashu! They’ll keep on operating with a seasonless structure, dropping collections when it suits the timing of our business and artisans, and not giving in to the pressures of the fashion buying calendar. 

Mashu Sustainable Fashion 2022 Renoon Shopping Responsibly Meet the founder
Images by Mashu

We believe in progress not perfection: we want to improve our sustainable efforts each year, each month and each day

“We will be launching a drop in the Spring and another in the Summer that we are really excited about. We are introducing new deadstock satin colourways and new plant based and innovative materials into our bags – something we’ve spent the last few months working on! We will also have a new accessory category launching later in the year which we’re thrilled about – we’ve only ever sold handbags so this will be a big moment for us! Finally, we are focussing our efforts on a number of sustainability goals that we want to hit this year” she explains 

Does the perfect everyday outfit exist?

“Well, it’s obviously subjective….” she jokes. “But firstly I would pick a Mashu handbag – at the moment I’m reaching for my Philippa 2 in black which I can pair with all my outfits. Then I would pick my favorite Veja trainers and a pair of vintage jeans; specifically, I am thinking of my vintage Guess mom jeans” Ioanna concludes. 

Mashu Sustainable Fashion 2022 Shopping Responsibly
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