Behind the Scenes
Our founder Isobel Ridley recently sat down with Morgane from the Ethical Fashion Guide and discussed Lavender Hill Clothing, scroll down to discover more:
Who are Lavender Hill Clothing?
Lavender Hill Clothing is a women’s clothing brand with a difference: to create beautiful basics for every woman’s wardrobe. With a range of shapes, lengths and fits, we understand that no two women are the same and each garment is produced with that in mind. There is also a very prominent story of sustainability behind our clothing - all of our items are produced in carbon neutral environments, made from Modal (the pulp of beech trees) or other sustainable resources like wool and cashmere, and traceability is at the core of our philosophy, from fibre to fabric. Lavender Hill Clothing’s story is one of upholding strong ethics without compromising on quality.
What made you want to launch a sustainable fashion brand?
After a successful career which included working for a global luxury brand, Isobel was inspired to launch a clothing brand with the idea to offer simple, luxurious and affordable everyday essentials for women that didn’t have a negative impact on the planet. Starting with supersoft tees, Isobel sought to create garments that were sustainable and ethical while using the best quality fabrics and started with a range of essential tees which are a firm customer favourite and make up our core collection today. Isobel is always searching for ways to improve the brand’s footprint, from carrying out reviews of her factories and their processes to improving the packaging used on the products.
Tell us about how your clothes are produced?
We are proud to produce over 85% of our products here in the UK, with the remainder coming from western Europe. The greatest care is taken with our sourcing and manufacturing, and we endeavour to be as open and honest with our customers as we can so that we’re always sharing where our garments come from and how they are made. As we carefully source raw materials and manufacture all of our products ourselves, we are able to monitor our supply chain closely to ensure it meets our high ethical and sustainable standards.
What makes your clothing different?
This has to be the materials that our clothing is made from. We have found a way to utilise natural materials without depleting them whilst producing clothes that stand the test of time. Our core fabric is Modal which is derived from the pulp of beech trees, and not only is this an excellent sustainable choice, it feels super soft against the skin and is extremely hard wearing. We also have a focus on slow fashion, with core wardrobe staples that are designed to last. We like to think this makes us different from the typical fast fashion brand.
What are your views on ethical fashion?
Firstly, we believe that fashion shouldn’t have to cost the earth and its precious resources. We are put on this earth not to take everything we can, but to look at how we can preserve the environment through planet-friendly practices. This applies to our factories and the way in which we operate, with our carbon neutral environments being just one of them. Secondly, we believe ethical fashion is the way forward: core pieces that are designed to last rather than fast pieces that fall apart after a couple of washes. All of our garments are rigorously quality tested and our customer reviews are testament to that.
Tell us about your packaging?
We use recycled tissue paper to wrap our products and recycled plastic in our mailing bags. Ultimately, we would love to move away from plastic altogether, however finding a fully compostable or biodegradable material for our bags is proving challenging. That being said, new developments are being made all the time and we hope to find a suitable alternative to our packaging in the very near future. Until then, we will continue to use recycled and repurposed materials which still have a significantly smaller impact than brand new packaging. Being as sustainable a company as possible has its challenges but we are working hard everyday to ensure we tread as lightly as we can on this planet.
What are you most proud of?
That we have happy customers as a result of the hard work we put into making our products as sustainable and ethical as possible. Just because we use natural resources to produce the fibres and fabric for our clothes doesn’t mean we compromise on quality, comfort or longevity - and this is the feedback we keep getting from our customers. Just as producing clothing shouldn’t cost our earth its health, it also shouldn’t cost the quality for our customers - and we’re very proud to have found that balance.
Tell us one thing our readers might not know about Lavender Hill Clothing.
Our range of cashmere items has a really lovely story and supports local communities in Mongolia and Afghanistan. Using centuries-old traditions, skilled herders carefully comb the cashmere from the underside of their goats before we spin it in our factories, and we are able to directly contribute to these skilled artisans’ welfare through the Sustainable Fibre Alliance. This is just one of the ways in which we work to improve our impact on people and the planet - and it gives us brilliantly warm cashmere products, too, given that the goats are used to living in -30°C conditions.
Tell us about the reasons you went with your factories?
We have a handful of factories, all of which are carbon neutral and comply with our high sustainable and ethical standards, including our Austrian factory which produces our fabric, our three Leicester factories which produce our t-shirts, body collection, loungewear and socks, and our two Scotland factories that produce our cashmere accessories and knitwear. All of the factories are family run and abide by the ETI base code, and we chose them because of their experience in producing high quality garments that are made to last and that don’t negatively impact our planet.
What does a typical day look like for employees at these factories?
An average day starts at 8.30am and finishes around 4.30pm with an hour break for lunch. The factories tend to be broken down into different production areas, including the cutting room, machinists, quality control, pressing/ packing and dispatch. One of the reasons we selected our various factories is due to their hands-on approach to producing their garments, meaning that each and every item made for Lavender Hill Clothing has passed through several pairs of skilled hands before it reaches our customers. We’re proud that many of our factories offer not only brilliant environments in which to work, they support their local communities, too.