The Bluezone Q&A introduces
Name: Ani Wells
Company: Simply Suzette
Profession: Sustainable Fashion & Impact Communications Consultant
Introducing Ani Wells
Meet Ani Wells, a passionate sustainable fashion consultant and the visionary behind Simply Suzette, a platform dedicated to promoting positive change within the denim and fashion industries. Through her work, Ani aims both to inspire others and to shed light on the best practices that can drive denim and fashion in more sustainable directions.
Driven by curiosity, Ani’s journey into denim began when she first experienced premium denim at Toronto’s iconic Over The Rainbow Jeans. The encounter left an indelible impression on the young Canadian, awakening her to wider world of denim and its possibilities as a catalyst for change.
Ani still lives in the Toronto, but her heart yearns for the world outside of the city sometimes-affectionately called the Big Smoke. She regularly explores the world outside of her city and her country, traveling frequently and counting herself lucky that she has the time and opportunity to do so. Her ultimate haven for relaxation and rejuvenation is the beach. It’s where sun, surf, and sand meet that she finds solace.
We recently sat down with Ani and talked about the world of denim and her place in it.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and experience? What is the role you play in the denim industry?
Ani: My background is in impact communications and have worked with many non-profit organizations, as well as brands, mills and manufacturers who are using their businesses for good. I also run an online platform called Simply Suzette, that shares the different approaches to best practices in the denim and fashion industry at large, while also providing a free resource called Supply Chain 101 for those looking to dive deeper into creating “sustainable denim.”
What initially attracted you to the world of denim? What keeps you passionate about it?
Ani: What initially attracted me was my love for the garment’s uniqueness and the fact that it was “so bad” to make for the people and planet. Then I quickly came to learn about all of the amazing work that is being done in the supply chain to make the industry a cleaner and fairer place. The passion to create the best industry is what keeps me here.
Could you describe a typical workday in your professional routine? What are the key activities and responsibilities that fill your schedule?
Ani: My days are somewhat predictable. My morning is filled with meetings since I am on Eastern time and my teams are in Europe and China. But once 12pm comes around, it’s my time to do deep work such as report writing, campaign building or planning, research, emails, and hopefully I am done by 6pm!
From your perspective, which current trends and innovative advancements do you consider to be the most significant in shaping the denim industry?
Ani: I think the development of resource and energy saving dyeing methods is a great innovation as indigo dyeing is one of the trickiest areas to keep things as environmentally friendly as possible. But, I also love seeing more regenerative cotton being used as the benefits are undeniable. Cotton experts I have spoken to say this approach to growing cotton is more promising to scale than organic, so let’s see and start restoring the lands!
Looking ahead, what do you foresee as the challenges and opportunities for the denim industry?
Ani: I think decarbonizing is going to be a huge challenge and we will have to understand what is feasible for suppliers to accomplish in terms of meeting brand targets.
Relationships over transactions is the big opportunity we have to change the way our industry operates!
If you had the opportunity to make a single change in the denim industry, what aspect would you choose to transform?
Ani: That everyone was paid a living wage.
In your experience, how has the denim industry evolved over the last 20 years? What significant changes have you observed?
Ani: I can only speak from 5 years experience, but in my short time here I have seen the shift from a few suppliers doing some things sustainably to most suppliers doing their best to be environmentally and socially responsible.
What is your opinion of the Bluezone shows and their impact on the denim industry?
Ani: I think Bluezone shows are a great place for people to come and learn, as well as connect with others. I always enjoy watching a few of the seminars and love catching up with everyone!
As Bluezone celebrates its 20th anniversary, what message or sentiment would you like to convey to the organization to mark this significant milestone?
Ani: Congratulations Bluezone on 20 years! I have only known you a few short years, but I know we will be spending much more time together 🙂 Thank you for being a place of inspiration and education. That is where the magic happens!