Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Design

By Elena Taggart

This edition I have been inspired by my chats with two sustainable start-up brands. Women pushing back against fast fashion and growing businesses locally in Glasgow – time to celebrate them and enjoy. 


I spoke with Louise Thomson who founded White Pepper Apparel in 2023 and asked her what inspired her to start?

Both of my parents were entrepreneurs and growing up, I was really inspired by them. Watching them run a successful company sparked my desire to do the same one day. I struggled with what to do, and would keep ‘business idea’ notes in my phone. Working as a fashion buyer for a well-established fast fashion brand in Manchester the ‘business idea’ became clear. Although I enjoyed the job, I became very aware of how damaging the fast fashion industry was to the environment and how badly it treated the factories that produced the clothing. I decided to leave and start my own sustainable and ethical brand.

I wanted to understand from Louise, what sustainable fashion really means to her?

Sustainable fashion to me is about being committed to the planet’s well-being. It is very challenging to be 100% sustainable and many fashion brands are greenwashing these days – my dream would be to guarantee that we are 100% sustainable by a certain date and in doing so, I want to promise to challenge traditional practices and seek ways to further our sustainable nature.

A woman on a mission, I wanted to understand what Louise felt hers was?

My mission is to redefine activewear through a harmonious blend of style, sustainability, and purpose. I aim to be as transparent as I can with consumers, so they can make informed decisions and know that they are valued by the brand and are not just a number (like so many fast fashion brands perceive their consumers).

Do you have a vision of where you want to see your business go?

I want to build a community of people who want to purchase high-quality, sustainable, and ethically made products that they are proud to purchase.  

What will customers enjoy when they buy one of your pieces?

Consumers will enjoy the high-quality, durable, buttery-soft fabric the pieces have and the flattering fit. Safe in the knowledge that they have supported a small, Scottish brand and have purchased an exclusive item.  Only 100 units of each style of the four-piece collection are made, so the capsule collection pieces are limited and unique.

Finally, I wanted to understand the learning along the way? What do you wish you had known or done differently? Looking back at where you were before you started, is there one piece of advice you would give your former self?  

Yes 100% – I would give my former self so much advice, including to just go do it! I delayed launching the brand for a while, dogged with self-doubt and lack of self-belief. I realise now that you just have to go for it and if it doesn’t work out, it isn’t the end of the world. 

I would also ask others for help and feedback more, I was scared at the start of receiving negative feedback. I learned often that other people’s advice is key for growth. The final thing I would say is to stop comparing yourself to other people or business owners, not everything is as it seems on social media and success rarely happens overnight, so don’t give up and stay true to your core beliefs.

So very true, such great advice!

WHITE PEPPER APPAREL is available online via whitepepperapparel.com or you can follow Louise on Instagram 


I was lucky enough to meet Hayley a few years ago when I styled one of her early photoshoots and I so loved her innovative designs and have been a fan ever since. So I was really excited to include her sustainable vision in this article. 

I asked Hayley what inspired her to start?

Because I could never find clothing or bags that were just – simple. Everything I had access to at the time of starting was really fussy or too feminine. I wanted to make clean understated pieces that would fit into anyone’s wardrobe and would suit all bodies but still had something interesting about them, whether it be the cut or fabric. After graduating and working in small design studios, I didn’t want to have to move to London to get a job in fashion and wanted to create something for myself, so I started building my brand in Glasgow. I wanted to do something different from the fast fashion model (which was all I had access to) and start small and slow on a made-to-order basis.

What does Hayley mean by sustainable fashion?

To me, it’s about ethical production, designing for longevity, and boycotting overconsumption. ‘Buy Less, Wear More’ is my brand ethos, and it’s about only buying pieces that you love and can wear with many looks to avoid having to buy more things all the time. Investing in good quality, timeless design will save you money in the long run because it will last. 

What is your mission?

My mission is to create the ultimate minimal and modular wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe that has pieces for every occasion and that you can completely rely on! For now, my focus is on accessories while I slowly grow the brand. We are a very small team, and designing and producing accessories is just more efficient as all the production is in-house at my studio in Glasgow.

As for vision, Hayley’s vision for the brand is 100% growth of course!

I would love to grow the team while keeping production in Scotland as it’s a big part of the brand. This year’s mission is to get one of my key lines, the cross-body bags, into many more stockists. To have the bags out in the world more. They are such a great everyday bag, really easy to use. And I have just launched a new shoulder bag design which is already doing well.

What do clients think of Hayley’s minimally styled pieces?

I think my customers enjoy my bags because they are easy to style, comfortable to wear, and bring an outfit together effortlessly. I want to make people’s lives easier and I think when you have good clothing and accessories that you can rely on, that you can just throw them all on and still feel good, it takes unnecessary stress out of the day. I have a lovely group of women who I often see at markets and pop-ups that tell me they never have their cross-body bags off. I can’t wish for anything better than that!  

Finally, what advice would she give herself?

Believe in yourself more. And stop overthinking everything!

Sound advice from a modest and very talented entrepreneur.

Hayley McSporran is available online at hayleymcsporran.com or you can also follow her on Instagram at @hayleymcsporranstudio.
Her collections are in HOOS Glasgow, hoosglasgow.co.uk, at 715 Great Western Road.

Follow Elena Taggart on Insta@the_closet_stylist.

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