Dame Vivienne Westwood is Britain’s style icon. Unapologetically bold, fierce and forward thinking with her trends – her revolutionary attitude towards fashion and tackling climate and social issues, has globally popularised her as the voice of reason. Her outspoken views on sustainability and unnecessary waste, is our main reasons for naming her as one of our British inspirations.
Nine years ago founder of Bespoke Textiles, Katie Young Gerald, created an eco-friendly raincoat made from recycled water bottles. At the time there were only two companies in the world making recycled fibre; one in the US and one Taiwan. Selling 3,000 raincoats, much has changed since then…
Collaborating with Sir Richard Branson to create the Virgin Atlantic Uniform was and is a pivotal moment for fashion and hospitality – a topic we’re constantly conversing about. The 22 uniform pieces were designed with the environment as the foundation.
Each piece was produced using recycled materials – including a recycled-polyester yarn derived from discarded plastic bottles. Westwood described her process to find material for the uniforms as “always trying to find fabrics that are more friendly to the environment – working with Virgin Atlantic they managed to research into this and find more eco fabrics.”
The suit fabrics have a nano finish which extends their life and enables the clothes to retain their colour and finish for longer. To add to the wow factor, the uniform is developed with closed-loop recycling in mind. Which means worn uniforms will be reprocessed into fibres to be woven into new clothing by a new technology. That takes worn polyester clothing and turns it back into fibres that can be woven again into new fabrics.
“Fashion – actually let’s call it clothing, because most of it isn’t fashion – is one of the biggest polluters, it must be with all that landfill. My main focus is quality, rather quantity, and I’ve been saying to people, ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’, rather than just keep sucking things up.” – Vivienne Westwood
Currently there are 65lbs of textile waste per person, per year! A total of 11.1m tonnes of fabric waste yearly, which is far too much and something has to change! What needs to be done? Recycle, choose well, invest in quality not quantity and importantly buy less.
As individuals we each have a uniform we wear daily, a form of expression. We feel better, when we look better. We believe and know that staff build better services when they are in uniform that is complementary to their appearance. We bring out a clients personality with the garments we design for them, while maintaining practicality. All our core messaging is similar to Vivienne Westwood and we are proud Brits because of her bold segment to speak out.