Bespoke Textiles launched seven years ago to design and supply the world of hospitality textiles. Offering everything from uniforms, aprons and napkins to blankets in an ethical way, our ethos is based on a sustainable supply chain that saves waste and reduces consumption; using recycled resources, garments and vintage inspired sourcing wherever possible. We work with fabric manufacturers, factories and mills, both locally and internationally, who also operate in a sustainable manner.
Our dedication to sustainability comes from our Founder, Katie Young Gerald. She has always been passionate about vintage fashion and upcycling what may seem like tired, old garments. So naturally, Bespoke Textiles inherited Katie’s values on sustainability and ethical practice, and this has become embedded in the business. Throughout our uniform and textile design, we have ensured that our dedication to ethical and sustainable practices remain firm.
Most recently, we have been shortlisted for The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2017, for the Sustainability Award category. We believe our longstanding dedication to bringing sustainability to such a large sector like Hospitality has aided this.
We were also commissioned by Dyberg Larsen to create a raincoat made out of recycled resources. With the use of plastic water bottles and the help of textile designer, Emma Jeff, we designed an environmentally friendly raincoat, created from recycled plastic bottles which are made into pellets and then re-put into fibre to create a polyester woven fabric.
Did you know?
• There are an estimated 170 million child labourers working in the textile, clothing and fabric manufacturers industry.
• In Cambodia, average pay is 50 cents per day - regardless of age.
• £100m worth of used clothing goes into a landfill in the UK each year.
• Treating and dyeing textiles accounts for 20% of industrial water pollution.
• Two billion pairs of jeans are produced each year, with every pair taking an average of 7,000 litres to produce.
• Carbon, waste and water footprints would be reduced by 20-30% if you extend the life of your clothing by just nine months.
These reasons, plus many more, are why we’re proud to be a sustainable and ethical brand!
When staff know they are easily identifiable via their uniforms, they are more aware of their actions. This is of course an important consideration for all businesses, but particularly businesses where staff are often out and about without colleagues and managers watching over them. Certainly an important factor to bear in mind.
According to marketing professor Victoria Seitz, uniforms can result in employees becoming 'entwined' with their company, which ultimately leads to greater success for the company and increased employee loyalty. She also makes another very important point in that you can't just give you staff a uniform and think that's enough:
"You have to follow up with policies about how the uniform will be worn, such as requiring appropriate belts, shoes, socks, hairstyles and make-up. If your employees don't keep the unifom clean and pressed, or their posture is poor, or they're not making eye contact with the customers, then they'll be killing the opportunity to communicate credibly with the uniforms."
An important factor with any uniform is that it is smart and atractive. An ill-fitting, ugly uniform will certainly not invoke confidence in your staff. On the other hand, a well fitted, quality, stylish uniform can do wonders for your employees self esteem. Perhaps keeping your staff involved in the uniform decisions will ensure you end up with a more desirable, popular and stylish uniform which your staff will take ownership of, thus improving morale, confidence and performance.
Bills Restaurant started off as a tiny fruit and veg stall and has know turned in to the massive restaurant group it is today.
In a three part blog series, the Journey of a Bills shirt, from initial ideas and construction to the finished product will be explored.
Speaking to co-director of Bespoke Textiles, Katie Young, she tells us how the journey of the Bills shirt began.
How did you work with Bills first come around?
Katie: Bills first contacted us after seeing the work we had done for the Soho House Group (Creating aprons and napkins for Pizza East, Chicken Shop and other Soho House Group establishments) and soon put in an enquiry.
What were the very first stages in the journey of a Bills shirt?
Katie: Bills wanted to see some ideas from us, to help them decide what would be the best and most suitable look for the brand. The shirts they had before weren’t great and were uncomfortable for the staff to wear, and they only had men’s shirts, the women had to wear unflattering and stuffy men’s shirts!
We started to experiment with fabrics that used spandex, man made and cotton fibre, to create a shirt that could be breathable, durable and easy to care for.
Bills were really keen on having shirts that represented the brand and its style, shirts that were timeless but with a twist. Bills have classic dishes with a modern twist, and they wanted the uniforms to reflect this.
How did you source and create the Bills shirts fabrics?
Katie: The fabrics for the Bills shirts were sourced in a mixture of a ways; from UK suppliers and factories but also from a family run businesses in China, which I have worked with for over 15 years, we really trust their ethics and values, and we also enjoy working with them. We started off by sourcing fabric in the local markets of Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong and in Shenzhen, China, as it was close the to factory and we wanted to see what was available close by. From swatches of the fabric sourced, a design was built that was individual and exclusive to the client; we honed down the check for the shirt, scaling it down to create a micro check, which gave a slightly more modern feel to a standard gingham check. Bills were quite particular with what colours they wanted for the shirts, charcoal instead of black, off white rather than white, but we were happy to create something that was unique to their brand. Once the colours were complete, a new fabric was created. The final swatches were woven up in a mill close the to china factory.
After we had established and created the initial swatches, we put all of our ideas together on a mood board and presented them to Bills.
In the end Bespoke Textiles were chosen over other Workwear Companies because we were the only ones to come up with something that was fashionable but also kept up with demands of a high performing restaurant uniform.
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, Bespoke Textiles created an eco friendly raincoat. Using eco fabrics, 3,000 raincoats were sold. At the time, there was only two companies making recycled fibre; the U.S and Taiwan. 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 'I am 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's 65 lbs 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, yet maintaining sustainability. All our core messaging is similar to Vivienne Westwood and we are proud Brits because of her bold segment to speak out.
Hospitality, Blog, Style, Fashion, BritishDesign, Blog, Vivienne Westwood, Richard Branson,