PI People: Lucy Kebbell Founder of Vendeur Fashion
Tell us about The Vendeur?
It’s a conscious style platform where we talk about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Our main aim is to reveal the truth about sustainable fashion, while helping people to change their mindset around clothing and consumption. You can still enjoy fashion whilst looking good but be more mindful.

What was your motivation to start The Vendeur?
I’ve worked in fashion editorial for almost 15 years and for the most part I struggled to understand what the real purpose was in flogging more stuff to people who already have enough. When I discovered the sustainable fashion movement in 2017, I couldn’t find many resources that were informative, attractive but also kind in its tone. I felt like I was being told off most of the time for not knowing enough and that’s really counterintuitive to getting more people involved. I decided to use my experience and contacts to create a new way of communicating and engaging with people about the topic.

How have you been keeping busy during lockdown?
I have a 9 month old baby so that keeps me pretty occupied! That and trying to run the businesses unfortunately doesn’t leave a lot of spare time but I have rediscovered my love of baking.

Have you learnt any new skills?
Yes, I recently launched The Vendeur’s first podcast series Style With Substance, so I had to learn how to put a podcast together, edit it and get it out there. It’s so rewarding to teach yourself a new skill. Plus, I’m trying to cook more interesting foods for my baby and I’m stepping outside my comfort zone a bit there which has been fun.

Do you feel like there has been a shift towards more conscious buying during lockdown?
Definitely. It’s been reported recently that clothing sales in the UK are down by around 50% and I think this is evidence of a slowing down of consumption. I also think the drive to support Small Business has really helped too. We’ve also been exposed to more stories about the health and safety conditions that people working at warehouses or in the fashion supply chains are exposed to. They are often the most overlooked within the industry and this needs to change.

Have you made any big changes to be more environmentally conscious?
I switched to reusables over a year ago. So, things like dish clothes, facial wipes and pads, menstrual cups, coffee cups, food wraps, nappies and nappy wipes. It’s been a lot easier than I thought and cost effective too. I also decided to buy less and buy second hand where I could. And weirdly now, shopping doesn’t really give me a kick anymore, I loathe having to go and look for something I need. It’s far more exciting when say for example your baby rental bundle arrives. However single use plastic packaging is still a bit of an issue for us, it’s an area I want to work on this year.

What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means to avoid the depletion of our natural resources and exist constantly. However in terms of fashion and lifestyle, it’s so much more nuanced than that. At The Vendeur we try to use words like conscious, honest, responsible, mindful and slow. Because sustainability doesn’t do justice to the amount of issues we need to fix. 

Tips for people wanting to be more sustainable in the way they shop?
So many! But a good place to start is by buying less. Think about what you have in your wardrobe and be realistic about how many times you have worn pieces or will wear new pieces. Challenge yourself to abstain from the high street for 1 month and see how you get on. It’s easier than you would think. Also support small and sustainable businesses. This is something we are passionate about at The Vendeur.

Are you a fan of vintage and antique pieces?
Since I can remember! I used to go to lots of jumble sales and car boot sales as a kid and my parents always loved vintage clothes and antique furniture. I’m very lucky to have inherited some real gems.

Do you have a favourite vintage/antique piece?
It’s hard to pick just one. So, I’ll do two if that's ok? The first is an floral embroidered evening purse from the 30’s I think, that I found in an antiques shop on the Isle of Wight. Then theres my black double-breasted dress by Basler with chunky gold buttons all down the front. It’s an 80’s piece but feels very 40’s. I wore it to a V Day themed party and got my hair done and everything. It felt amazing to get dolled up like that and I already had everything I needed for the outfit because that era is totally my taste level.

What do you antiques mean to you?
They mean quality, craftsmanship and timelessness. I always find it really humbling to find an amazing piece that I connect with emotionally. It’s had a life before me and it will hopefully live on long after me too. 

Do you feel that the modern consumer struggles to know where to buy antiques?
Yes, and I think it’s because they are one offs. We have lost the ability and the need to rummage and search for things that are special. We’ve been taught to believe that the only way to attain happiness is to dash to H&M on our lunch break and buy something all the influencers are wearing. But if you want to look, there are so many places to find amazing things. Home clearance events, boot sales, markets (especially overseas), little village shops. It’s a much more interesting pursuit, I think.

Have you ever bought antique jewellery?
No, I’m really lucky that all my pieces are heirlooms.

Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery antique or new?
Again, it’s tough to choose just one, but my Nan gave me a beautiful gold necklace with a huge cross pendant on it, covered in crushed jade. It was her Aunt’s and it’s a real piece. Unfortunately, I’m always scared to wear it, I want to wear it more.

Which of our PI London pieces is your favourite and why?
I love the selection of rings, they’re my favourite piece to wear. I’m a real sucker for a signet ring so this masculine feeling one is totally up my street.