Vintage Inspired Ethical Designs is a concept that I came up with when I decided to realize my dream of starting my own fashion label. The fashion design was the easy part; that the fabrics were eco friendly from plant to finish and that the people involved in any of the process of the production of the garments had to be treated in an ethical manner, was not so simple.
I have always loved fashion and fabrics, over the past decade I have become increasingly disillusioned with the fashions available to me, as they are primarily designed only for the coat hangers. I began to look back at the fashions that my mum had talked about wearing in the 1940’s and 50’s and the old black and white films we had watched as children during school holidays.
The fashion from the 1920s to 1960s used beautiful rich fabrics, showcased femininity and elegance and, in general, celebrated the female figure. Thus my inspiration for my designs is drawn from these eras but with a modern twist.
I was appalled that even well known fashion houses who charge big dollars for their clothing and footwear were getting their clothes made in 3rd World countries in factories that have been dubbed ‘sweatshops’, that was tragically brought to the worlds attention in 2013 when over 1100 workers died in one factory collapse in Bangladesh.
As I am concerned by what we, as a modern society, are doing to the environment, I researched the possibility of using non-chemical dyes in garment manufacture. This led me to India where for centuries they have made and worn beautifully vibrant garments.
I was lucky enough to find a supplier who is working with local women paid by fair labour standards, who create all aspects of fabric manufacture by hand. This includes hand-looming hand dying using traditional dyes, with the exception of some colours, such as black, which is when azo free dyes are used, and the majority of printed fabric is hand block printed.
The woman I am designing for cares about the environment and has an ethical conscience about the fashion industry. She also, however, has an eye for stylish well-made clothes that are designed to fit and flatter her.