By Esther Knight
Since the UK went into lockdown in late March of this year, all of us have been given the chance to reconsider our values, take stock of where we are both personally and professionally, and consider how our conscious actions make an impact on the wider world. Somewhat unsurprisingly, this has led a lot of us to accelerate our efforts towards creating a sustainable and more ethical future – one where social and environmental justice is prioritised.
Faced with front-page news articles detailing the effects of the sudden industry shutdown on garment workers in Bangladesh, the UK and many other textile producing countries, we have been confronted by the true impact of unethical fashion. The onus no longer rests with the industry insiders alone to fix these issues. For too long businesses have built supply chains to drive financial profits at the expense of people and the environment, and people are starting to realise that we all have the power to change this.
For the first time we have truly uncovered the reality behind supply chains all over the world. Many brands have been exposed, seeing factory workers not being paid for work they have completed, and others forced to work in unsafe conditions for the duration of the lockdown, leaving poverty-stricken communities in a vulnerable state. COVID-19 disrupted the world just as the A/W20 fashion weeks began, uncovering and illustrating the many holes that exist within the industry, both in the fast and luxury sectors.
During this period of reflection, I decided to bring change into my own business.
Formerly Fabric For Freedom, we have become Fanfare: a new look, a new style, but still the same mission.
I did not start my own sustainable fashion brand because I thought it was a cool idea. I knew that fashion is a flawed industry, and I launched this business with a genuine desire to make the biggest positive impact in the fashion sector. This rebrand represents the next step in that mission. I wanted to re-launch my original message, loud and clear, that I am tired of the fashion industry abusing people and planet without consequence. And Fanfare is all about spreading that message with a flourish.
Fanfare at its core stems from my own belief that sustainable fashion is not just for the elite. It is the first conscious clothing brand that produces unique, fashion-forward designer pieces whilst competing with the high street on price. We partner with charities that work to eradicate slavery from fashion supply chains, end homelessness and empower women to teach skills that will help them thrive in the workplace. These are key issues that are only worsening in the aftereffects of the coronavirus outbreak as the economy dips and supply chains are put even more at risk. Right now, we’re seeing modern slavery exposed here in the UK, and our new collection is here to offer people an alternative to the fast fashion brands that are the cause of this issue. Our new Hero collection encourages everyone to be the hero in their own story, purchasing thoughtfully and carefully, investing in causes that bring positive change to the world.
Hero combines bold and contemporary designs with repurposed and reused materials, designed to create a wardrobe of sustainable clothing that lasts. Every Fanfare collection is made with certified sustainable materials or recycled and recovered textiles, and Hero is no different.
Since lockdown started, we have been busy working behind the scenes to elevate our stance within the sustainable fashion industry. We have developed a new website, new branding and a new collection, as well as expanding our team. Anna Pabissi, our new Creative Director, has launched our brand-new collection now available online, and we are so excited to have her on board to bring a new level of creativity and sustainable innovation to our future designs.
We have also been selected as a finalist in the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards, something we are hugely proud of and excited to participate in. We hope to be a Fanfare that spreads the word, bringing people on board with our mission and our values to create a better world for all of us.
We will show the industry this revolutionary way of working, being attuned with nature and accounting for those making our clothes and protecting our planet. Using clothing as an expression for change, for fairness and for freedom.
At Fanfare, our first goal is to set an example to fashion brands on how a company should be run. It should be expected for businesses to have responsible operations. Our hope for the future is that we can change the world around us and become a catalyst towards powerful social good and new models of consumption.
Esther Knight, Co-founder and CEO of Fanfare
Let’s all be part of the change.