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An Introduction to Collect Me and Sustainability in my Small Independent Brand

Why hello there! Welcome to my new blog, where I will be sharing my thoughts on sustainability in fashion, tips on getting the most love out of your clothing and the occasional feature and tutorial. If this is your first browse through my website, here's an introduction to my brand, my design ethos and an insight into sustainability in fashion.

Where it all began

Collect Me is a slow fashion brand with myself, Zoe Yarwood, at the helm as founder, designer and maker, based in the small but mighty town of Frome in Somerset. After graduating in 2011, I was given the opportunity to intern at a sustainable fashion boutique with the chance to sell my creations in store, thus giving me the chance to put into action the brand idea I had started cooking up at uni! I have been growing the brand ever since, taking the plunge into full time business owner in the Summer of 2019.

Brand Ethos

The brand idea was spawned after writing my dissertation on the impact of emotional attachment on the lifetime of clothes. I wanted to create a brand that focused on one-of-a-kind clothing - knowing that you have a unique piece of clothing and that there is no duplicate of it, only strengthens your attachment to that piece and allows you to love it for longer, helping to break the cycle of fast fashion. Using vintage and remnant fabrics enables this unique factor to happen - I rarely have enough of each piece of fabric to make more than one garment out of it and if I do, I make sure to change up the details or the design it is used for so no two are the same. I also offer a made to order service, which again adds an extra layer of love to each piece - if you have had a hand in the design of the piece yourself, this will add an extra reason to hold onto it, look after it and look to give it a new lease of life once it starts to get tired.

Each piece in my collection is designed and made by me, from pattern development to the final button being stitched on. The key factors in my designs are versatility, comfort and creating flattering shapes - then I add in a touch of bright colour and print with fabric choices to crank up the uniqueness and fun! I want pieces that work together but also can be worn in a variety of ways, so the wearer can keep that excitement of wearing a new piece of clothing going for longer and throughout the seasons. I'm influenced by Japanese pattern cutting techniques and like to add a unique detail to each design. My signature use of contrasting panels of fabrics is also a practical way of helping to use up smaller pieces of remnants.

The Issue of Sustainability in Fashion

Sustainability is the most important issue to me and my brand. I use vintage and remnant fabrics - remnants include end of roll pieces, unwanted or unused fabric, deadstock, fabric with print issues and seconds. This helps to use up fabrics that are already in circulation or otherwise would go unused.

Sustainability is a multi-faceted issue and I accept that no 'sustainable' fabric solution is perfect - without years of overproduction of fabric and clothing I wouldn't have the access to these remnant fabrics in the first place, however taking this approach helps to put these fabrics to good use in a responsible way that won't see them end up in landfill in a months time. I save the fabric scraps leftover from my clothing production and turn them into a range of hair accessories as well as giving them to local initiatives.

Pushing against the throw-away and trend dependant habits that fast fashion has created in us and appreciating the time it takes to produce a garment, without losing the fun and creativity of having your own style is, to me, the way forward in starting to change the way we buy clothing.

Want to keep reading? Give these blogs and podcasts a follow too, all written by inspiring women navigating the field of sustainable living:

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