Allegra Shaw. Courtesy of ICON PR.

Allegra Shaw is determined to create a space for longevity in fashion. Shaw’s brand, Uncle Studios, embodies her commitment to sustainable shopping – its elevated everyday wear and staple pieces are designed to be mixed and matched with what’s already in your closet. Since launching her YouTube channel in 2011 – well before she founded Uncle Studios with a white t-shirt and a dream – Shaw has continued to show her community of sustainable fashion enthusiasts that looking your best does not have to come at the expense of eco-friendliness. 

As the brand grows, so does Shaw’s vision of a trendy-chic marketplace with a reduced environmental impact. She sat down with The Untitled Magazine to talk about her evolution from YouTube to Uncle Studios, why content creation “will always be a part of her life,” and the wider mission behind it all. Read our interview with Allegra Shaw below.

Allegra Shaw photographed by Antonia MacBride. Courtesy of ICON PR.

What was life like growing up in Canada? Do you remember who or what first inspired your love of fashion?

I’m lucky to have grown up in Canada. The neighborhood I grew up in was really diverse, so I was fortunate to have lots of friends from different backgrounds and walks of life. I grew up in a really creative family. My dad is a musician, and so are his parents and brother. My aunt is a painter, and my mom’s entire side of the family loves theatre. As an only child, I spent a lot of time with my imagination. I fell in love with fashion as a way to express myself and my point of view. My earliest memory is obsessing over fashion magazines and cutting out my favorite outfits. 

You got your start on YouTube in 2011. What kind of videos were you making when you started out?

Back when I started, YouTube felt very different from YouTube today. I started it as a hobby, and it was a place for me to share what I was wearing every day and how I was doing my makeup. I imagine that some of these were filmed using a webcam! 

How have you and your content evolved since then?

My content has evolved in many ways, but has also remained true to why I started it in the first place – it’s a way to connect with women who are navigating relationships, school, work, and finding their taste and style. I’ve obviously adapted with the times and trends but have tried my best to stay true to myself and my audience. I’m more mindful than ever about how my content resonates with people and the sort of influence I could have on the younger demographic.

How did YouTube lead to getting your start in the fashion industry?

I was filming lots of fashion content, mostly around what I wore every day – a moment for #OOTD. The videos that gave me some of my biggest traction were my quick-paced changing videos where I showed multiple outfits styled with only a handful of clothes.

Allegra Shaw photographed by Antonia Macbride. Courtesy of ICON PR.

Can you tell us the story behind Uncle Studios and how you created the brand? 

Uncle Studios was born on the feeling you get when you put on a good outfit and feel so much like yourself. My business partner Shirin and I always have felt the most ourselves in a white tee. We kept rebuying the same fast fashion brand ones and thought, How hard could it be to make one that actually lasts when it’s our most worn and beloved piece in our closets? We naively jumped into the cut-and-sew world with zero experience in fashion design or textiles but with a simple goal of making our favorite tee in a fabric that could stand more than four or five washes.

In your own words, why is sustainable fashion so important? 

Sustainable fashion is important because, as so many small businesses have shown, it’s not that hard to be mindful about what you’re putting out there. I think sustainable fashion has become such a buzz word, but I think about it more as mindfulness. I think being mindful of what you consume, what you create, and why you purchase something are attainable ways to go about sustainability in fashion.

How does Uncle Studios combine eco-friendly fashion with elevated everyday wear? 

At Uncle Studios, we never produce anything that feels overly trendy or that doesn’t serve a purpose in our communities’ day-to-day lives. We design clothes you live in in real life and not just for a moment on Instagram. I think when you combine function and form, you care about the longevity and impact of the fabrics, you are designing mindfully – which, again, is really how we view sustainability and eco-friendliness.

Why is it important to you for Uncle to be transparent and create a sense of family among its consumers? 

This is so important for us because at the end of the day, they are who we are building this for. There are so many brands out there right now, but our community chooses to spend their hard-earned money and time with us. That’s the greatest honor, so we want it to be a place where they feel welcomed and that they have a connection to. We want Uncle Studios to ignite a feeling and sense of pride when you’re wearing it.

How does your brand accomplish that? 

We are really active with our community through emails, DMs, and events. We welcome feedback and honestly speak about our products and any hiccups on our end. We update our products based on customer recommendations so they know we are listening and learning from them.

Which pieces or collections are you most proud of? 

Our latest collection coming out in September throughout October is really special to me. It’s our biggest collection to date, and every piece feels so functional and considered. It’s been 12 months in the making, so seeing it come to life is super rewarding. The campaign that goes along with the collection is so fun and really echoes all the things we love as a brand. As a small team, seeing us pull productions like this off feels like a dream.

Allegra Shaw photographed by Andrew Obtinalla. Courtesy of ICON PR.

What advice do you have for those who want to shop more sustainably? 

Shopping sustainably can look different for everyone, but a simple trick I use is building three to five outfits with a piece before clicking checkout. This helps me make sure it serves a good purpose in my wardrobe.

What are you enjoying the most right now in your career?

This is a question that I was really battling with this year, especially as I turned 30. I’ve worked really hard for the last 10 years to build both a personal brand for myself, and more recently, Uncle Studios. I feel blessed that I’ve come to a point where I can start saying no to things that no longer bring me joy or that I’m not passionate about. I’m enjoying that luxury. I’m enjoying creating something that really ignites that fire in me again. I’m enjoying growing Uncle with my team. I’ve started taking acting classes. I’m excited to see where my career and life take me as I enter this new chapter for myself. 

Can you share some of your personal passions?

I’m really passionate about film, history, and some of my hobbies include watching movies and reading! I donate and support three charities right now – Daily Bread Food Bank, which helps provide accessible food in Toronto, Charity: Water, which aims to give everyone access to clean water, and KIVA, who works to expand financial access so underserved communities can thrive. 

What’s next for Uncle Studios and for you as a content creator?

Uncle Studios is growing, and I’m happy to be spending so much more of my time nurturing it. We’re having great momentum, and we have some fun projects and collections in the pipeline that I’m excited to bring to life. My main focus right now is Uncle Studios, but as someone who’s been creating content for over 10 years, I know that will be an aspect of my life forever. I genuinely love creating and am so fortunate to have two avenues of business that allow me to do that.

For more from Allegra Shaw, follow her socials: Instagram | TikTok | Twitter | YouTube

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