Introducing our ‘In Conversation’ series with AERA Co-Founder and CEO, Tina Bhojwani. We’re speaking with the movers and makers working to pave a path and shift the effects of climate change.
This month, we invited Tiffanie Darke, Editor and Co-Founder of Agora Ibiza, a sustainable fashion boutique located in the luxury, eco-friendly resort Six Senses to share her inspiring story. Find out more about her career switch for sustainability, her projects and inspiration behind them.
You are the Co-Founder of Agora Ibiza, a sustainable boutique located in the luxury, eco-friendly resort Six Senses, launched in 2022. We finally started seeing more and more ethically-minded concepts in hospitality and fashion. It looks like finally things are changing. What has been the most exciting and the most challenging for you?
The most exciting has definitely been discovering all the different ways brands are striving to come up with more sustainable solutions. There are brands like AERA who have built themselves to be best in class from the ground up, and then some that are only just beginning that journey. The most challenging part has been communicating those stories. Daniela (my Co-Founder) and I are both storytellers - we are magazine editors by trade, so telling the stories behind brands is what we love to do. In store, that was a whole new experience for us. We have used signage, exhibitions, merchandising, events, interviews and some absolutely brilliant storytelling shop staff to help us. But what we love is when customers come in and ask questions. Then we can really get going!
Let’s move backwards to your career pre-Agora: would you tell us a little more of how you started in fashion journalism and became an incredibly successful editor?
I was working on the news features desk at the Sunday Times around the time of 9/11. It was a thrilling time to be in news, and particularly features as there was so much hunger for information. Then the editor of the paper asked me to launch a glossy Style magazine for women (I think this was because I was the only person in the office wearing fashion!). I said no, I was having too much fun on the news. He said, 'Don't be a fool - it's an incredible opportunity.' He was right.
Similarly to myself, you built a career in the “traditional” fashion industry before switching your path to sustainability. Do you remember when you realized you wanted to switch gears? And, please share a little about the program you look at Cambridge?
I was working at Harrods as the editor in chief during the pandemic. With everything going on in the world around me at that time, the excessive luxury at Harrods was hard to square. I decided the world was sick and I needed to learn about it, so I took a course at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. I had no idea how game changing it was going to be until I started. Once you become aware of the facts and trajectory of climate change, you really cannot work on anything else. I saw a way to marry what I had been doing with change. I wanted to make sustainability principles desirable. That's where the idea of Agora was born. We then produced a magazine, the Xarraca Journal (Xarraca Bay is where our shop is located) themed around luxury and sustainability. And now, because there are so many stories to cover, I run a weekly substack newsletter, It's Not Sustainable. Off the back of this and some of my journalism, I have now been asked to write a book for Broadleaf publishers about how to build a sustainable wardrobe.
If you could change one thing about the industry you worked in for most of your career, what would it be?
Overproduction. It's the biggest barrier to us achieving our 1.5C warming targets by 2030.
Tell us a little more about your platform It’s Not Sustainable, which we really appreciated recently being included in. What inspired you to create it?
The stories, innovation and people behind the change. Everything from material science, to social sustainability projects, to circularity, to all the amazing heroes and heroines of the new sustainable fashion revolution are too exciting not to cover. And I also wanted to do something positive. If we scare people into changing their consumer choices it's never going to work. If we inspire them with great stories - well, it just might.
Please share a few of your favorite spots in Ibiza? Perhaps somewhere you go to unplug and relax?
Definitely: number one on the rocks of Xarraca Bay. The sunsets are the best on the island. Take a paddle board and head west, you will find so many beautiful coves and caves swimming in the turquoise blue sea. Posidonia is the name of the seagrass that grows natively in the waters and there is a very high concentration in Xarraca Bay: the oxygen the grass produces is what makes the water so blue.
Stop for lunch at Cala Xuclà. There is an incredible fish restaurant under a shack. It's outstanding food all produced in the tiniest kitchen by a brother and sister. Have the tomato salad, and DO NOT miss the prawns!
Visit Chai Shop: it's a by appointment shop in the north run by great friends of ours whose interior design projects are out of this world. This is an Aladdin's Cave of things they have picked up on their travels.
Dance. Ibiza is all about dancing. There is so much amazing music on the island, make sure you follow the noise.