Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Where Did My Sustainable Project Go???!!

Well it actually went much further than I first planned. To be frank, I was enjoying blogging, tweeting and researching great developments in the clothing industry. I wanted to start a project quite quickly but when I actually started the venture which I talked about in this blog spot last year, I felt like I was doing something too simplistic. I was going to use my creative skills to decorate responsibly sourced silk scarves. I quickly realised, I was selling myself short. Instead of embarking on this quick and easy, project, I decided to put more effort into a bigger range of garments and to follow my clothing passion. Quick fixes and sustainable fashion don't really belong together in the same sentence anyway.

I spent much more time researching and sourcing the things I care about. Using responsibly sourced materials  was my starting point and as I love all things knitted this was to be good quality jersey wear. I looked closer at organic farming and using organic cotton became something I couldn't compromise on. Damaging  farmers' health and livelihoods was not something I could knowingly support in any way. I would recycle where possible but my main range would not be about recycling clothes as this is not my passion and I believe it's being done well elsewhere.

 I cut my teeth designing for the British High Street in a local, Derbyshire knitwear factory . In 2012 whilst busy developing my thoughts, Mary Portas identified a gap in the market for British made clothes  in her 'Bottom Line' programme for channel 4. She successfully launched her 'Kinky Knickers' range from a British factory. This fell in line with my ethics, as British made clothes will not be cheap enough to become landfill fodder. Affordable luxury is clearly sustainable. From my own early experiences of working in UK factories, I instantly recognised the benefits of working within the UK compared to importing from overseas. Managing a small British range would mean I could respond to what my customers really want in their wardrobes, by working closely with local suppliers, and having the major bonus of  reducing my carbon footprint.

My ethical passions are very nice but what benefits can I bring to my customer? For me there is an obvious answer to this question. From being a teenager, through a couple of decades and now into my forties, I have consistently struggled to find a good range of  ladies tops which work well in any situation.  I'm talking about a top which is comfortable and flattering, which could be dressed up or down with the right co-ordinates and accessories. A good quality top which will really work for real women. Women of all shapes need good tops not just the minority who have idealistic bodies. (I now also note most women have some kind of body hang up.) Why isn't the High Street catering for us and representing us without giving us horrible labels? By this I mean politely named outsize ranges and the dreaded L and XL. Aren't we just real women looking for great clothes?

So my blogging pause is due to hard work creating a new sustainable business...not a little project. More to be revealed.....

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