We are great believers that small is beautiful, it’s not that we are anti growth but we recognise that the fashion ecosystem should be diverse and varied, promoting many different ideals and views of the world. This is why we have always made support for small business a core aspect of our ethos and our work.
There’s no doubt it’s very hard to be small in the current economy; the production of all ‘commodities’, including fashion is modelled on reducing cost by increasing volume. Recognising the challenges of the industry as is, we encourage start up design businesses to clarify the unique nature of their proposition by focusing on what they truly value; we help them to establish effective partnerships and we encourage them to re-evaluate how they interact with their customer; we celebrate those who are willing to challenge and disrupt the current system, whilst sustaining themselves and the people and planetary resources upon which we all depend.
We are able to offer this support by partnering with other organisations most recently the Fashion and Textiles Museum on the Creative Hub project. These partnerships allow us to access funding which subsidises both group workshops and one-to-one mentoring. Over the last year our Business and Research Associate Alex McIntosh has mentored a diverse range of start ups including: Ada + Nik, Allumer, Beau Homme, Edie Mac, Delight Lonon, Claire Todd, Clover Lewis, Code le Vush, Frida larsen, Here Today Here Tomorrow, Holloway Smith Noir, Iris, Kapdaa, Katie Jones, Kipper Bespoke, Kitty Ferreira, Kitty Joseph, Martine Jarlgaard, Nadine Peters, Rosalie McMillan, Rutherford, Shake the Dust, She’s Lost Control, Soloman Appollo, Tengri.
We see a new set of values emerging from this work, designers who are able to connect their personal principles with their business practice. It is this human centred approach to design that we feel sure will contribute to a world where fashion and sustainability is no longer seen as an oxymoron.