As seen at London Fashion Week over the last few days, British designers continue to strut their stuff at the forefront of global fashion. But it’s not just the haute couture set where Britain shines. British garment entrepreneurs like Jo Salter are helping lead the way in making what we wear more ethical too.
Jo was inspired to start her clothing label Where Does It Come From? after witnessing the throw-away culture of corporate events, such as T-shirts worn just once and then discarded. This, together with her frustration at the lack of transparency in how, where and by whom the clothes she was buying for her family were made, was the spark to find a way of doing things differently. Drawing on her commercial experience and a personal commitment to ethical living, she created the Where Does It Come From clothes and accessories range.
“I thought that it must be possible to combine gorgeous, comfortable clothes whose own story, such as who made them and what processes were used, available to the wearer” says Jo. Jo’s simple but brilliant idea of putting a code on each garment label makes this possible. The customer just types this into the range website and the whole history of the piece is revealed, including the story and pictures of the people who actually made it. It’s so easy and fun to do.
Launched in 2014, Jo now has two collections, Denim Dream, a practical and fun range of children’s clothes and hair accessories, and a delightful series of Khadi cotton ladies scarves. All are made by skilled artisans who enjoy decent working conditions and a living wage, and who use eco-friendly techniques and dyes that are gentle on the earth.
“I did extensive research to find the right partner to produce our clothes and was delighted to find Moral Fibre, based in Gujarat, India. Their ethos fits ours perfectly” explains Jo. The Moral Fibre workforce use methods and techniques that have been passed down through the generations and all their fabrics are produced using eco-friendly, non-toxic processes and dyes.
It’s a long way from the mass-produced, high volume practices that have become standard in our globalised world, but by the enthusiastic response she has had from customers so far, Jo is on the right track. With a recent top three placing in regional green business awards, Where Does It Come From is gaining recognition as a brand that not only has a transparent past, but a bright future too.
Image: Bella Forcella