University of Dundee graduate, Cally Russell, fighting fast fashion with new sustainable fashion company

Published on 25 October 2022

University of Dundee graduate and tech entrepreneur Cally Russell, CEO and co-founder of the UK sustainable clothing brand This is Unfolded talks tactics for success on The Path for Potential Podcast.

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The Path for Potential Podcast was recently joined by University of Dundee graduate and tech entrepreneur Cally Russell, who is the CEO and co-founder of the UK sustainable clothing brand This is Unfolded. Cally talked about his time in Dundee, his career and what he wanted to accomplish through his brand.

You might not know this, but over 30% of new clothes made every year are never sold, resulting in billions of items of new clothing being sent straight to landfills every year. Cally’s previous ventures as well as This is Unfolded have shown his desire to remove this waste from the fashion industry and use the savings to create a positive impact in the world.

This is Unfolded only produces their ethically made clothes after people place their orders, a process that reduces waste and creates new savings. These are then used to fund children to learn to read and write around the factories where the clothes are made.

The business launched in 2021 after the success of Cally’s project Lost Stock, developed during COVID. Lost Stock sold cancelled clothes to support garment workers impacted by the pandemic and ended up helping over 110,000 people in Bangladesh.

From the podcast, Cally shared the key areas of focus he believes every business leader should understand and harness as they build a business in 2022 and beyond, as well as the main business ideas that will be needed to take the sustainable clothing industry mainstream.

A model wearing a black dress with white trainers and a cap stands beside white pillars.

Build a Community: Community is going to be at the heart of every strong business going forward. Lockdowns and Covid created a stronger desire for us all to belong and to connect to others. The success of businesses going forward will be linked not just to what they sell but to how they make customers feel part of what they sell and their community. For sustainable fashion, Cally believes this should be tactic 1.

Communication is Key: Cally highlighted his time at Dundee University studying politics in his belief that communication is key to long-term success. Many businesses overcomplicate communication, or just don’t communicate enough. Focusing on clear communication from the start of a business is vital.

Talk about Ideas: The best way to validate and improve your ideas or business concepts is to talk about them, get feedback and seek collaborators for what you’re trying to build.

Move Fast: In a digital world, we need to understand that competition has increased and there is a strong chance that somewhere in the world someone else is working on fixing the same problem that you are. This means you need to move quickly to ensure you’re not left behind by them. Cally stressed that this is something that a lot of American start-ups focus on.

A model in green long sleeved top and trousers, standing on the step in front of a green door.

Graduating from the University of Dundee in 2009 with a degree in Politics and International Relations, Cally quickly gained a profile as one of the UK’s brightest up-and-coming entrepreneurs being featured on the BBC show Dragons’ Den with his business Mallzee, an algorithm-led retail app which had over a million users. Cally would go on to be featured in Forbes’ and Drapers’ 30 under 30.

Discover more about Cally’s career, sustainable clothing and This is Unfolded by listening to the podcast here!


David McGovern

Creative Coordinator

Story category Alumni