In this weeks Sustainability Sunday blog, we chat to Claire, founder, designer at ready-to-wear clothing brand Couchman Bespoke
W&J: What's the name of your ethical business / brand and what is your role within it?
CB: Couchman Bespoke. I'm Claire, the founder, designer and pattern maker
What prompted you to work in the ethical field?
The fashion industry is the second biggest producer of waste in the world, i want to be a good change in this for the planet. Seeing so much being produced for little use is a disappointment as i see clothing as an expression of self
Whats your long game? What goals do you hope to acheive through running your business?
The business is dedicated to reducing the water wastage and pollution created through the production of clothing made under its name. With a longer goal to train up people with tailoring skills who can then work within the business. World goal is to create the business model throughout different cities, where needed. I do not wish to open business in areas that do not need the service as that is adding to the waste.
How do you intend to get there?
Through blood, sweat and tears!
I plan that within a year i can start to train people in basic sewing skills for customising their own garments, and that by 3 years i will be able to train too hire. On the water reducing front i am always looking for suitable alteratives to new cotton cloth. I aim to cut all new cotton brought by end of 2018.
Whats the single most important thing you've learnt about yourself through running your business / brand?
How through all the downs i have kept a passion to keep going. My family have asked countless times if i should just quit but i could never, as i had bearly started. There is a long road ahead but with every day i get closer. I am still learning to be paitent and am getting better, honest. That i am not along too, in recent years i have come to meet plenty of people in a similar boat across different industries.
If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Get a job that pays well so that when you start the business you will have savings.
What can we expect to see from you in the coming 6/12 months?
A new collection and an impromptu catwalk at mens fashion week, can you keep a secret. As well as some pop-ups and markets around London. I will have an extra day within my Couchman Bespoke week so lots of time to get out there to meet people and make.
Who are your ethical brand heroes and why?
Ethical Fashion Forum have been a main source for all my early knowledge, and have followed them since i left Uni. People Tree were my first flutter in ethical clothing, i think because they are British and bring great heritage of crafts from round the world. Offset Warehouse inspires me with new ideas and to new connections through the networking nights. Toms is an excellent social enterprise that has opened my eyes to a better way of shopping and running business.
whats the soundtrack to your working day?
Radio 2 and 6. I love to mix it up between alsorts of genres!
You can check out Couchman Bespoke and their beautiful wares here or follow the goings on over on their twitter page