Sustainability with our Yodomo makers
We asked a section of our network of independent makers at Yodomo about their practices on sustainability. Here's what they had to say:
CEILIDH CHAPLIN - BILLYNOU
Ceilidh is a designer and natural dyer living in the south of France. Ceilidh first started exploring natural dyes for her clothing brand Billynou and quickly fell in love with them. She has since teamed up with her partner to create beautifully filmed video tutorials, e-books and natural dye kits aimed at inspiring and empowering people to get involved and have some fun with natural dyes.
I'm constantly questioning the ethics of making new "stuff" and weighing up the positives and negatives of what I do.
I don't particularly have "growth" as a business goal, in the usual sense of a clothing brand. Making and selling more products, as a goal, doesn't appeal to me. Of course I am happy to "grow" if I feel it happens organically and in the right way but it's not the particular word that I want to focus on. I prefer to think of it as evolution.
I also use a lot of vintage fabrics for the clothes I make, which is one of the ways to keep things as sustainable as possible. I've also started offering workshops along with a YouTube channel with high quality tutorials. All this makes me feel good.
LEAH NIKOLAOU - TEXTILE ARTIST
Leah Nikolaou is a textile artist specialising in contemporary paper embroidery. Her paper embroidery kits frequently reference her favourite things, a nod to the great outdoors, pressed flowers and vintage vases and vessels. Aimed at complete beginners to paper embroidery, her kits come with simple to follow instructions, making the act of piercing and creating a therapeutic joy.
Trying to make my embroidery kits sustainable has been a huge challenge that has greatly influenced designs in my new collection. I decided that I wanted to use recycled paper as a base for my new embroidery collection and fell in love with the idea of black vegetable oil based inks printed on recycled craft papers. I also found a printer specialising in sustainable printing. Once I had my hands on the flecked brown paper and started stitching samples, I knew exactly which direction my designs were going in! It was very much a case of the paper influencing the designs alongside the pressed flowers I collect and press. I also decided after much research into tapestry wool to use Appleton yarns as they source all of their pure wool from the Yorkshire wool markets here in the UK. I collect the flowers that I press from my garden and from a local flower farm. This summer, I have grown a lot of cosmos which I hope to influence my next collection.
BRONWEN GWILLIM - JEWELLERY MAKER
Bronwen Gwillim makes bold, statement jewellery from beach plastic and recycled silver. She lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire and her designs are inspired by the textures, colours and forms of the things she finds on the foreshore. She mixes bright coloured plastic with natural shapes and subtle textures.
I live in a beautiful part of Wales and I’m lucky enough to have the sea at the bottom of my garden. It’s a site of special scientific interest because of the extraordinary diversity of bird, marine and plant life. But when I look across the bay there’s an oil refinery! It’s a constant reminder of the bad decisions we have made and spurs me on to live a more sustainable life. My work plays on the edge between nature and industry and I hope in a little way it helps raise awareness of our need to address climate change and plastic pollution.
BARLEY MASSEY - FABRICATIONS
Barley set up Fabrications in 2000 on Broadway Market in Hackney, East London. Her focus has been on reviving traditional textile techniques, eco-design and upcycling. Fabrications is a mini department store of creativity and design, selling Barley's own creations, homewares, fashion and accessories.
Sustainability has been a guiding consideration from the outset of setting up my studio / shop ‘Fabrications’ in 2000. I was brought up in nature with a simple low impact lifestyle so it seemed obvious to establish my business on this ground. In early 2000, I also made my first visit to the textile recycling factory I work with. It was such an eye opener to our wasteful culture and seeing the volume of clothing and textile waste coming in by the truck load and being processed in the short time that I was there. Not just the expected ‘old’ clothes but also unworn items still with their tags on! I made a conscious choice to work with waste materials as a maker and to find creative and inspiring ways of reusing 'unwanted' items. I also started to investigate the why’s, which led me to offering workshops and producing a range of kits to “Rethink Rubbish” in waste awareness and teaching skills in sewing and making, to empower others towards different choices through being able to make their own clothes or repair and remake what they already have.
EMMA MATHEWS - SOCKO
Based on the art of darning, Emma Matthews founded Socko, a British sock brand which holds strong values in sustainability. Socko’s mission is to extend the active life of clothing by re-teaching the lost art of darning.
It actually came about through a discussion with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) when I was still in the very early stages of planning. I wanted to get a sense of what the most sustainable fibres would be to make socks from. The insight I got from WRAP was that the most sustainable thing you can do is to make a durable, long-lasting product. Further research led me to find that people’s abilities to make basic repairs and alterations had succumbed to the convenience of fast fashion. So as well as using waste to make a product that is made to last, decisions around each element of the business, from packaging to collaborations, all go through me so I can ensure that they are being made with people and planet in mind.
TRACEY AYRE - BLUEBIRD DESIGNS NI
Tracey, the founder of Bluebird Designs NI, is a polymer clay artist based in County Down, Northern Ireland. She has been designing and making jewellery for over eight years, creating unique pieces using different clay techniques.
No clay is wasted in any of my processes, leftover clay is always reused. I make high quality pieces that are durable and will last for years. I work hard to make sure my packaging is eco-friendly, using recycled or recyclable products for packing and posting.
SIAN MCLACHLAN - SHOORAH SHOORAH
Sian McLachlan is a jewellery designer and founder of Shoorah Shoorah, who creates bright and bold designs from rope and cord inspired by the techniques from chandlery and macrame, she uses functional knots in bold colours and repetitive forms to create vibrant pieces.
Originally I worked with polyurethane rope, as I liked the smooth finish and the ability to stop it fraying. I had a wonderful family-run supplier in the US who created utility rope in lots of different colours and sizes which was a great fit for my designs. However, in the last few years, I have put a lot of effort into ensuring my materials and supply chain is more sustainable and this has actually really benefited my designs. I took a long time testing out different cotton rope suppliers and now use a family run cotton rope supplier in the UK who is able to create all my rope to order in so many wonderful colours. One of the hardest things is settling on the final palette I want to work with.