Why did you decide to follow a career in Ethical Fashion?
I design and create a range of naturally dyed textiles where everything is handmade and dyed by me. It’s vital that I source my materials responsibly; my fabrics (bamboo and organic cotton) are produced sustainably and I use only natural dyes. When someone buys a something from me I can guarantee to them that it has been made with care and compassion. When you work for yourself you have control over every aspect and I couldn’t imagine operating in a method other than an ethical one.
Previously I worked as an interior designer, but now have the opportunity to function on a smaller scale where I have the satisfaction of shaping my creations in my hands. I’m passionate about supporting businesses that manufacture in Britain, especially independent companies and artisans.
What is the inspiration behind your collections?
My line of textiles was born out of a fruitless search for luxury, cruelty-free scarves. The plant dyes I use are a beautiful, natural alternative to synthetic colours and they actually mature over time. I invest time in each piece, focusing on quality over quantity, to create something beautiful and long lasting.
The inspiration behind the scarf designs is the idea of slightly “imperfect” geometry. I embrace the variations between the depth of colour, texture and pattern of each piece resulting from the hand techniques and natural materials used. Each scarf is ever so slightly different with small traces left from the process. These traces remind the wearer that the scarf is natural, was made by hand and has a story of its own.
Do you feel that Ethical Fashion is becoming more important?
Without doubt, more and more people are questioning where their clothes are manufactured and under what conditions. This has always been an important subject, but has been brought to the forefront of our minds in recent years. The cost of ethical and sustainable garments is undeniably higher, but personally, I’d much rather buy fewer pieces that are ethically made and that last longer. Perhaps the recession has also taught us to be less wasteful. I buy clothes in charity shops from time to time, which is a great way to shop affordably and also use what is already in circulation. I think we need to reduce our consumption for the sake of the planet.
What do you think of the mainstreaming of Ethical Fashion, such as the Conscious Collection from H&M?
Offering a few products made from organic cotton and recycled textiles does not offset the unethical procedures within a company. I think the most beneficial scenario would be for high street shops to build ethical practices into their business models from the core. This would certainly have a more profound effect that releasing a small “ethical” collection.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in ethical fashion?
We are extremely lucky to live in the age of the Internet; it facilitates so many things and allows us to connect with people we wouldn’t meet in everyday life. Use the Internet wisely, and to your advantage! If you want to share your opinions about ethical fashion, then why not start a blog? But the easiest way to contribute to ethical fashion is to carefully consider each purchase that you make.
Heels or flats? Flats
Art or music? Both!
Kate Middleton or Kate Moss? Kate Middleton
Favourite shop? Chinti & Parker
Autumn/Winter 2012 must have? A pair of Cri de Coeur vegan boots