Updated: Feb 20, 2020
I have been in the commercial fashion industry for 22 years. After uni – I started in fabric merchandising – at 20 years old flying to Turkey, visiting factories in the deep end. My knowledge of fabric and print through this experience extended from this point. Throughout my career I have been involved in the supply chain in some way or another. As well as designing and training design teams to fit purpose, cost and trend. After a time, I found that the constant that occurred around designing cheaper, faster, to look for cheaper fabrics to fit into the cheapest school trousers & to beat the competition became tiresome. Worse to get the margin larger for the retailer. UK factories that I worked in the early part of my career closed and were moved in India or china to make cheaper and cheaper clothing. I visited factory after factory – seeing the great in-balance of the industry culturally, ethically, & sustainably. It made my heart sink for the world.
insta photocredit @jollyltd
I became a design manager in time – which I loved – I love helping teams realise their goals, create critical paths and projects to create new business. Bringing people and things together is my forte. I guess the things that I saw didn’t really leave me. Constant trips to China and India – visiting the fabric markets – knowing that behind each cheap swatch was a swathe of polyester in a mill & that someday it would be landfill. I will do it no longer.
This is the industry as we know it today & it is what it is.
If we carry on in business as usual and ignore our responsibility – we do so at our peril. We made this and I stand for its transformation with proper integrity.
So, I sat there after my mother died 3 years ago and I realised my own mortality. We are only here for a short time and I don’t know about you, but I intend to live it with love, compassion and integrity. I said to myself I must start to have impact on this. I had no idea how at the time how to do that or any real belief in myself – a lot of designers are just used to getting on with it.
I went to a life course and therapy to move away from my past – and gained my natural confidence back. One that was not 54321 go, but one of just being fully self-expressed and on purpose. The past lifted like a fog, I felt inspired to start.
I actually felt like I didn’t want to ‘create’ any new brand of my own. I didn’t think that making another linear organic cotton company would be the future. So I created events that brought together vintage and eco brands into one space, My team of sewing experts showed people how to up-cycle with confidence, we had a swap shop so that anyone could get involved In sustainability even if they had zero money, they can swap something they hate for something they love & I had talks and styling workshops from the players in sustainability at the time.
Insta handles - @Wear the walk & @chrissybstyling at my event @styleyourself sustainable - photo credit @movershaker
I met so many people and learned so much more, I still learn every day, this is the case in sustainability it’s almost like trend research you have to be on it, or you will miss something, It’s not like – ok I learn this thing then – boom I’m done . . It evolves, it involves inter discipline links, patience and intelligence. I learn't so much – I started to lecture on the subject, in a business school.
So here we are to present day, I am using my skills and expertise from my inside industry years, my people skills, my design manager organisation alongside my knowledge, love and constant updated current sustainable fabric and systems. To create this my first proper business in sustainable transformation.
I get 100% that we live in a world where we have business as usual. I can help to coach your design, tech and promotion teams towards sustainable transformation with integrity. Sure, I can tell you to bang some semi sustainable fabrics into your range for a quick thrill and promotion – but that isn’t going to cut the mustard and you know it.
I have already done all of the leg work so that you don’t have to!
insta photocredit @jollytltd