(Blog created for Yours Sustainably)
People like to buy beautiful things, either for themselves or as gifts for the people they love. Beautiful things are often eye catching and unusual, or simple and well designed, but generally they must also fit the purpose for which they were intended. What use would a beautiful vase be if it leaked?
At Where Does It Come From? we believe that beauty is not just about the finished product, but about the whole of its creation. Many products are beautiful but it’s not often possible to know whether they came from beauty and happiness – certification marks such as Fairtrade and Organic can help re-assure us on that score. Of course we all know only too well that in many cases products are being made with profit being the primary (or only) consideration, with the resulting impacts on people and planet not being thought of at all. Our market here is saturated with cheap poly something or other fabrics sewn in sweatshops. I’ll say no more.
In setting up Where Does It Come From? we decided to source products that are not only lovely to look at and fit for purpose, but also ethically made and fully traceable, so that the customer can find out full information about who made it and how they did it. This was no easy task and it proved very tricky to find a supplier who was able to trace their production so fully. It took 2 years and one failed partnership before we found a partner, MoralFibre Fabrics (www.moralfibre-fabrics.com), who was as enthusiastic about this idea as we were. Through MoralFibre we are able to access the skills and experience of the Co-operative workers of Udyog Bharti. Many of these families have been using their skills for generations and live simply, in rural environments. Having a sustained income makes a big difference to them. We have been able to create a channel – for us to get access to their lovely fabrics and for them to find a market. Traditional techniques of fabric creation, block printing and fabric dying have all been used in our garments. These techniques are naturally low-carbon (as done mainly by hand!) but we have also ensured that natural dyes are used too. Of course practicality has certain demands so we have ensured they are all machine washable!
In June 2014 we launched our first range of ethical, traceable children’s clothes. Made from hand spun, hand woven and hand dyed denim, these clothes are soft and comfortable. We designed the range as a team so that we could use the knowledge and skills of those working with the fabric to produce a range of clothes that would be practical for children in the UK. The clothes are meant to be played
in – for climbing trees and running about! Each garment comes with a code on the label so that the customer can unlock the garment’s creation story – this is a great way of getting to know the people who touched your garment before you did. Kids love to see photos of the people who made their clothes – it’s very educational too!
So as a lover of beautiful things (which I’m sure you are as you are visiting ‘Yours Sustainably’!), we hope you will love our concept of beauty – something attractive and practical that has been created to have a positive impact on everyone involved – on the customer, the children (shoppers of the future), on the people involved in the cotton production, fabric creation and garment production, and of course, on the environment.
To find out more please visit us www.wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk plus you can like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter.