So how do all these things I have blogged about so far fit together and what am I going to do with it?
Well, here are my thoughts; I am going to create and produce a 'just for boys' fashion range but without the usual gender stereotypes. It will be a design led and a high quality, premium product, and to maintain sustainbility it will be 100% manufactured in Britain. This range will incorporate an essential British quirkiness with an influence from Scandinavia. It will celebrate great workmanship with beautiful Scottish knitwear and classic tailoring with strong, original printwork.
All fabrics will be GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic, recycled or sustainable and ethically sourced and produced. Dying and printing will be as low impact as possible being phthalite, NPE and AZO dye free. The garment design will work towards creating zero waste and have durability and longevity built in with adjustable waists, reinforced knees with repair kits and customising guides also available. The range will be trans-seasonal to prevent high season garments such as shorts going to waste due to inclament weather. It will also not be based on trends as this helps to create a need to discard when it's out of fashion. I will also consider some recycling or re-using scheme that would fit in with the business and product type.
I will be looking to get the supply chain SEDEX (Suppliers Ethical Data Exchange) registered to prove and improve sustainability throughout. Packaging and promotional items will be from recycled sources and distribution and retail channels with be chosen by their eco credentials. Marketing of the brand will highlight and encourage sustainability and there will be a strong element of charitable, social and community commitment. I hope to establish an eco office environment at some point too.
This is a lot to aim for so some of it may not be realistically achievable at the start but will be worked towards. Some of this might not make sense to you but you can follow my journey through the blog and on my social media channels too. I have lots of exciting ideas for the brand and if this excites you too please stick with me and witness the birth of a brand!
#BirthOfABrand #SustainableFashion #BoysClothes
One of the main problems I can see with boy's fashion is the distinct lack of it! As a designer and mother of a growing boy I am always striving to find something cool and different to clothe my son in. As I have blogged about previously there are some great brands out there doing boys clothes but in comparison to the amound of girl's fashion it is pitifully small. There are even many brands that only do girlswear and not boys at all. I don't even believe there is a single brand that caters only to boys clothes. Why is this? The fashion industry would most likely say there is not enough demand for it or that boys are like our men so not interested in fashion. I beg to differ and wonder if it is a case of the chicken or the egg? If there is not the choice there then the interest is not piqued. If stylish boys wearing interesting outfits featured more in magazines would we see more boys brands?
I think it is also a cultural thing that as parents or society we like our girls to look pretty and the boys should just have functional clothes as they are always messy and dirty. This bias annoys me as much as it annoys people who don't want to dress their daughters in pink frilly nonsense. It's not just a problem with there not being enough choice of boys fashion, it's also the poor quality and design of those that are available. The licensed characters dominate the high street hangers and their prints are based around gender stereotyped images such as cars, diggers or dinosaurs. The standard offering also only seems to be in a limited range of colours only such as navy, grey and khaki. I do realise the practicalities of this when doing the laundry myself but please, how lovely is it to see boys in something bright and snappy?
The other thing I see on the high street and in magazines more and more now is the 'mini me' trend whereby people dress their kids in smaller versions of their own or more simply in clothes you would see adults wearing. This personally is not my idea of style. To me it just looks wrong seeing a young child in a leather jacket or see through things. Children should be children and be able to express themselves stylistically just as we do and not look like our little clones.
Oh and Happy Christmas to you all!
#BoysClothes #BoysFashion #GirlBias
I chose to look at the different clothing brands in my blog so far because they were each doing something to be sustainable. Some of them are not the most sustainable fashion brands there are but I was trying to look at ones who stock or make childrenswear.
The four R's of sustainable fashion are Repair; as evidenced by the Trouser brand HebTroCo, Recycle; as shown by Devon label Quba & Co., Re-sell which is utilised by M&S & Oxfam and lastly Reduce; which is shown by most of the brands mentioned in their efforts to reduce waste and carbon emissions. I also believe there should a fifth 'R' here which would be to Re-think. We all need to re-think our mass consumption of every type of product especially fashion. What's more there needs to be a total re-think in way we all live and work to have less impact on the planet.
Although I do think it's some progress that the brands I have talked about are doing something, is it enough? Should there be more thought about the longevity of the product? Should they be encouraging us as consumers to 'buy less, choose well, and wear more' as Vivienne Westwood once said?
Some other brands who have cleverly thought about some of these issues are Little Circle who buy back their garments after use, Mud Jeans (non childrenswear so only get a quick shout out!)who lease their Jeans to their customers and also Patagonia. The 4 R's stand central to Patagonia core values, so although they don't do kids clothes they deserve recognition. This is manifested by careful product design to ensure longevity & reduce waste, garment aftercare such as stain removal advice & free repair and recycling and reselling unwanted garments. I could write so much more about this inspiring company but maybe you should find out more yourself?
So to end I have to say If Patagonia can do all they do using the 4 R's and be profitable then why can't more brands? This is what drives and inspires me going forward to set up my boys clothes label. So watch this space!
#LittleCircle #PatagoniaClothing #MudJeans #SustainableFashion
John Lewis also deserve a mention for being an inspiring business model by having an ethos of partnership and mutual benefit. The happiness of all it's members is the partnership's utlimate purpose according to it's constitution written by the founder John Spedan Lewis back in 1928. This vision of co-ownership with employees as members was very radical at the time but has helped to establish the flourishing and well respected brand we know and love today.
The profit sharing strategy and guiding principles means employees are put first, which was rare back then and is arguably still rare today. The seven principles included in the constitution are still the foundations of the business today and include sourcing responsibly and minimising any detrimental effect thier operations have on the environment.
The company is actively lowering their carbon emissions through various different projects such as energy saving measures in all stores, solar panels and waste reduction. Contributing to the well being of the community was another part of the consititution that is still a priority for them. Through trusts and foundations they support many different projects including wildlife conservation, empowerment and livlihood projects and emergency relief efforts.
On the boys clothes side of things they also stock a few of the brands I have already given a shout out to including Frugi and Polarn O Pyret. Others labels they stock have also adorned the boy wonder like Hatley and Joules.
And who doesn't love their Christmas ads!
#JohnLewis #ProfitSharing #CSR #BritishHighStreet
After my last blog post it got me thinking about what's around on our high streets. We are very lucky in the UK to have some great fashion brands furnishing our town centres, such as M&S as mentioned previously. We have sadly lost some big names recently and during the last decade but most are still fighting the good fight and offer a wide variety of styles to suit most tastes.
Monsoon, established in 1973, is one of these style purveyors that have stood the test of the economic crisis. Their range of children's clothes is high quality and has a quintisentially British feel with a slight bohemian twist. I especially consider their boy's knitwear to be very strong and have enjoyed a few sported by the boy wonder himself. However the boys clothing range as a whole is tiny in comparison to it's female counterpart. This is reflected everywhere in our shops and it's something I will write more on later with some frustration.
Their website states they trade their products ethically and support sustainability through various ways. Their Clothes for Life campaign inspires customers to upcycle by bringing back unwanted Monsoon clothing to store and they will give you a £10 discount voucher off new purchases of £50 or more. These discarded items are either recycled or sold and the profits help support disabled children in the UK. The company also support various ethical fashion projects in the UK and in India including sponsoring London Fashion Week's ESTHETICA showcase for ethical designers.
#MonsoonClothing #Knitwear #BoysFashion #BritishHighStreet
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