Fashionistas Hannah Daykin and Annabel Humphrey are proving you don’t have to substitute style for sustainability with their successful start-up.

Photo of Pursuit founders

The duo run sustainable swimwear brand Pursuit The Label, which launched in 2017 after the pair learned some harmful facts about the often wasteful fashion industry.

Hannah, 27, and Annabel, 25, met on the first day of their Fashion Buying degree at the University of Westminster. Now, just two years after the brand's launch and support from Virgin StartUp, they’re taking on some of the market’s more well-known players.

Hannah said: “Whilst we were at university, we learned quite quickly how damaging the fashion industry is to the planet - the second biggest polluter, after oil. We both tried various roles within the fashion industry whilst studying and after graduating: such as buying, PR, styling and showroom roles.

“Neither of us ever felt quite fulfilled, even though we worked for some of the top brands in the industry, such as Harrods, Tom Ford, Burberry and Givenchy.

“We came together around a year after graduating, after both feeling like the UK swimwear market lacked - and we saw a gap for a sustainable brand that focused on the fashion element, whilst doing good for the planet. We began brainstorming and Pursuit was born.”

The founders design each collection themselves with each female body shape in mind and provide a mix and match option, allowing their loyal eco-focused following to shop in a way which best suits them.

Hannah grew up as a dancer and says she has been obsessed with swimwear since she was about ten-years-old. Annabel grew up amongst a family of entrepreneurs and says she’s always wanted to run her own business.

Annabel said: “My family and I grew up in France where my parents ran a ski chalet, which I was always a part of growing up. I always knew I wanted my own business – it definitely runs in the family. I have a business background before fashion, as I studied Business Studies - so our mix of fashion and business knowledge works perfectly together. Like Hannah, I’ve always been very ambitious and knew exactly that I wanted a successful business from a young age.”

The pair have had an eventful few months, returning to Virgin StartUp to give a talk about leading a brand with purpose and even having their products showcased on ITV’s hit show, Love Island.

Hannah added: “We were funded by Virgin StartUp in the very beginning and we have attended great events. We got matched with our amazing mentor, Jared Beaumont Williams, who we meet with around once per month. He always gives us the best and honest advice – he’s a really great mentor!

“We feel that it is very important in the industry today to lead by example and we feel it is so important to encourage our generation and in particular the next generation to shop more ethically. Our resources won’t be around forever, and we need alternative solutions, especially in the fashion industry. For us, sustainability is the driver for our business and we hope we can inspire people to think about their shopping choices.

If you would like to know more about how a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp could help your business, find out more today.