The term ‘waste’ is so relative. After all, waste is only ‘wasted’ when it ceases to be of use in any way, to anyone. The truth is, a lot of what the world has regarded as ‘waste’ for millennia is actually incredibly useful. All that’s needed is perspective – the kind that sees a second life in things we would normally throw away. Someone with just that kind of perspective is Genia Mineeva, the founder of BEEN LONDON.
Mineeva was a political journalist by trade for a number of years before she decided to broaden her horizons and join the fray of problem-solvers who are working towards creating a more sustainable fashion industry. As a journalist, Genia had played an active role in steering campaigns with a range of philanthropic objectives, so making a difference came naturally to her. Eventually, when she studied Sustainable Value Chains at Cambridge University, she discovered the untapped potential of recyclable materials that can be rescued from landfills.
Today, BEEN LONDON handbags and accessories are an outward manifestation of an inward sense of purpose. It’s a brand that epitomises humanity’s struggle against the effects of climate change and the will of a team of individuals to apply a ‘zero waste’ approach to design. From discarded leather trimmings that are recycled into premium, full-grain leather, to landfill-bound plastics that are revived as silky linings and zips, BEEN LONDON takes waste and makes it wonderful.
Genia has never been afraid to ask the difficult questions:
How can products be designed and produced with the tiniest environmental footprint?
How can everyday products be designed in a way that allows them to stand the test of time?
How do you employ and compensate people fairly for their craft?
How can brands serve marginalized communities?
For Genia, the answer to these questions was BEEN LONDON.