“I wouldn’t say I’m at the forefront I would say I’m just trying to catch up with what a lot of amazing businesses have been working on for decades in the quickest way we can, fingers crossed we’re making a bit of difference”.
I’m with Phoebe English at her latest show, having stepped away during February and June to work on research and building her knowledge with her team she’s back with her latest collection, a collection that is truly sustainable as it involves not only environmentally conscious materials and production but also incorporates pieces of fabric and other textiles from previous collections to minimize waste.
“This is our most sustainable collection so far, it’s taken us three collections to get to this point and I’m really pleased to have got to this point”.
Not only is it sustainable but the traceability of the materials used is displayed on notice boards around the room, invoices, receipts, contact emails and other elements from the production are there for us to note down and follow up on.
While Phoebe English has always designed and manufactured from a socially responsible position that comes with some inherent difficulties to overcome and especially when done to this level, what had been the biggest challenge?
“Suppliers, money, minimums, meeting minimums, a lot of these materials are new technology and developments, so they require quite large orders for you to purchase so that’s quite a big barrier”.
Many designers talk a lot about these issues and what they are going to do, but English is a designer that has moved from talking to acting, and which a huge commitment, it really feels with her that this is something within her core personality and beliefs.
“I think it was a realisation that there are so many things that are bad in the world and so many environmentally bad things happening that we can’t control, the only things that we control are the systems that we are part of whether that’s just what you have in your kitchen or what you have in your bathroom but in my case I own a business and that’s a whole system I can have complete control over. If you’re in a luxurious position where you can change that system you need to be changing that system and you need to be changing it now”.
The collection is fantastic and well worth checking out, Phoebe English is also one of the 30 designers selected by the BFC to take part in their boutique at Bicester Village until the 28th of October, I highly recommend getting along to have a look if you can.
Photos – Asia Werbel