Ethical Fashion Designing

What’s been your career highlight to date?

I’ve just got onto a ‘luxury industry scheme which will pair me up with a mentor from the luxury goods industry and help launch me into a bigger league. The product I produce is something very special and they have recognised this so want to propel me forwards.

Or maybe it was being filmed for a documentary showing my collection at American Fashion Week. They edited us out annoyingly so it’s taken the shine off the experience.

Have you always been into ethical and sustainable fashion?

No, but I was a real early bird. None of my friends knew what I was talking about but then they started to understand. It was about 2010 that I first read about it and knew that this was what I wanted for my life. Launching my own label came as a result of not finding high end fashion-led sustainable design.

What makes your brand stand out from the rest?

There is something fresh that’s very British with a fashion appeal. I think because I don’t have a fashion background I’m drawing entirely on my own aesthetic rather than coming from a part of the industry that would give you a signature which is influenced by other designers. Some people say there is also an Italian style to my work – I lived there for many years so maybe subtly this has influenced me too.

Favourite fashion brand/designer?

She is the ultimate ethical designer in that she uses her brand as a vehicle to influence change. She’s just got into Climate Change – good for her. She also designs fantastic clothes that are wearable year after year because they don’t follow trends and have such style and character. I often wear my tweed skirts with her shirts.

If you could have any person (past or present) wear one of your coats who would it be?

Swinton.

Why choose to wear ethical brands and sustainable fashion?

¬Because they are made with real respect and care for everyone. They are also healthier (no nasty chemicals) and now, fortunately, there is real choice. It makes you feel more respect for yourself and value your clothes rather than feeling guilty about shopping.

How do you keep up to date with eco fashion and what’s going on in the fashion industry with such a busy schedule?

I am a member of the Ethical Forum, which is a great networking place. But for ethical style I go to a great website which is pretty comprehensive and packed full of personality about sustainable fashion.

What one thing do you want to do before you die?

Start patchwork!

Do you have any tips or advice for students looking to get into a career as a sustainable fashion designer?

I would develop a knowledge of the issues, and the fabrics and the process of making. Decide what is important to you. There are so many issues, which is one of the problems in a way, such as carbon footprint, fair trade, waste & recycling, organic, craftsmanship.. the ways of looking at sustainability are many. It’s hard so it’s important to work out what your values are.

Best thing and worst thing about the fashion industry?

The throwaway aspect is awful and the making of clothing that won’t last. The good side is that there are wonderful makers and creative people bringing exquisite skill and beauty to us.

Do you have any tips on how to make our fashion more sustainable?

Buy less; only buy something you love. That way you’ll keep it for longer and really wear it. If it’s expensive you’ll be making that purchase work for you.