Posted on April 19 2016
I struck gold with the giant butterfly end of run print above!
So, who made your clothes?
Each fashion season, I design a collection in London and then go on a mad treasure hunt in India to find end of run prints and other remnants including export surplus buttons and trims to turn my drawings into reality. Reducing waste, upcycling, preventing harmful methods of waste disposal.
Digging a bit deeper to answer the question the team behind Fashion Revolution want an answer to, the Sketch production process of course includes a skilled team at the production factory in Delhi, weavers and craft workers in Varanasi and beyond. Who are they?
Sketch is dedicated to designing and producing collections in an ethical and sustainable way and I, as a fashion designer, have been championing this cause for close to ten years. I have represented the UK on international sustainable design projects and my work is currently part of an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. Quite simply, I couldn't consider producing fashion collections in any other way, why would any company want to be associated with unethical, forced labour or harmful environmental activities?
But I do the hard work so you don't have to. I spend four months a year in Delhi sourcing all my materials and personally supervising working conditions. I will be back in Delhi in a few weeks and in the coming months I will introduce some of the people and places I work from.
Factory that we work from in Delhi. Want to know which style is on the cutting table?
In the mean time, here is a little summary:
- I only work with factories where the majority of the workforce have been employed for over a decade and their self-assurance and confidence is clearly evident
- I only work with factories where I can see the stitching unit
- There are no 'middlemen' in the Sketch supply chain, only one woman: me!
- Our charm bracelets are made by Tibetan exiles living in Delhi
- Other hand made jewellery is commissioned directly with the artisan
- I work directly with individual weavers and weaving co-operatives, again where the artisans are directly involved in the sales process
- We work with Harris Tweed for some of our bag collection: as a designer my connection with Harris Tweed is long-standing. Besides being Scottish, I have personally been sponsored twice by the mills in Stornoway and have visited the beautiful Isle of Lewis to meet the people behind the world famous cloth.
- Two generations (at least) of street dogs the live under and on top of my car in Delhi are given TLC and masses of treats...photos coming soon!
Sketch isn't about guilt trips or moral high grounds, we keep the fun and glamour in fashion and the ethics and sustainability are simply elements that make the whole.
Fashion Revolution are hosting a series of events this week in London and beyond so check their website for more!
It is unlikely I will blog everything I do when in India but no doubt I will tweet and instagram lots! Please follow us @sketchlondon1 for both social media.