Anisa Johnny
Senior Lecturer - Raffles College of Higher Education
Anisa's Introduction

I have over 15 years experience working in different areas of the fashion industry, both in Europe and Asia. From my first graduate role working in the buying office at Marks & Spencers Headquarters in London, to starting a fashion & lifestyle brand supplying multi-chain stores like Topshop and boutiques such as Graham & Green in the UK and others in Europe.

My knowledge of European & Asian markets has given me a unique combination of experience and perspective. From sourcing high volume production in China, which led me to understand the impact the fashion industry has on the planet; to my passion for inculcating sustainable fashion into the teaching curriculum.

Currently, I mentor sustainable brands, give my time to organize events during Fashion Revolution week and support sustainable knowledge and capacity-building in the wider fashion eco-system.

What brought you to sustainability?

I've always loved the fashion industry and was not allowed to study fashion. Graduating with an Economics and Social History degree, I worked hard to get experience in every aspect of fashion (UK). From styling, assisting a photographer, interning at In-Style Magazine in Sydney, work shadowing for a fashion buyer at a department store to working for free at a wholesale agent.

I managed to start a fashion brand in London, launching at London Fashion Week off schedule. I then managed to consult for Topshop, creating an African-inspired collection which sold out in a record number of weeks. This led me to high volume retail and manufacturing in the south of China.

Many red flags along the way led me to my first meeting encouraged by a friend at The Ethical Fashion Forum. My blood ran cold when I heard the statistics, that farmers die every year from pesticides in cotton, many in sub-Saharan Africa. This led me to carry out research and understand the impact fashion has on the environment.

Which sustainable actions are you in charge of or have you implemented in your organisation?

Integrating sustainable concepts into the curriculum. Students have an opportunity to learn about sustainability within many classes during their two year Advanced Diploma in Fashion Marketing & Management. I have spear-headed the topic since 2012 when it was not well understood.

I'm really happy to say that for the final degree year - BA (Hons) International Fashion Business, I re-wrote the final major project which requires students to create a sustainable fashion business. The degree is with our UK partner, Coventry University who has adopted this brief in the UK and across all colleges.

Which challenges did you meet and how did you overcome them?

Major challenge is balancing full time work as a Senior Lecturer whilst finding time to support the wider industry. I've managed to do this by giving 20mins to any sustainable fashion brand or entrepreneur who asks for my time.

Additionally, I also give 10% of my time to sustainable fashion or social enterprises by giving advice on marketing, organizing events and collaborations.

To focus my time I prioritize January to April each year, April being the month that Fashion Revolution Week takes place: Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit global movement represented by The Fashion Revolution Foundation and Fashion Revolution CIC with teams in over 100 countries around the world. Founded in April 2013 by Carry Somers, and Orsola De Castro after the Rana Plaza factory collapse that resulted in 1,134 people lost their lives.

What are you most proud of?

Having students graduate and find their own unique path. When they return and tell me what they have learned along the way and how, with perspective, they understand all the things we taught them. I say "we" because many other lecturers impact these young people's lives.

What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to the Matcha Initiative users?
  • Don't be afraid to ask difficult questions.
  • Be authentic.
  • Don't be afraid to carve your own path.
In which field could you help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?
  • Kick Start Help
  • Best Practices sharing
  • Experience Sharing
  • Expertise Sharing
Please describe how you could help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?

I would happily offer 20min discussion to help any startups or existing fashion brands who are looking to start a sustainable fashion business or grow an existing sustainable fashion business. I especially enjoy working with brands who impact communities of artisans.

Anisa's main sustainability skills

Sustainable Fashion

Countries where Anisa can help you


Anisa kindly accepts to answer your questions.

If you need additional insights, you can send her a message.