Awards Feb 2009
Royal College of Art graduate Christopher Raeburn is founder and director of Raeburn – a men’s and womenswear label that focuses on functional beauty in the 21st century cityscape.
Christopher uses fabrics from de-commissioned European military stock to create garments that are original in design and address the needs and concerns of a forward-thinking, modern society.
MIA by Mia Nisbet fuses recycled fabrics and traditional Malawian textiles to produce a collection that combines the richness of African textiles with western styling.
The street markets of Malawi sell large volumes of second hand clothing, imported from the US, Europe and elsewhere. This cheap second hand clothing has made it very difficult for locally produced clothing to compete in the local market. MIA works with producers in Malawi to create ranges which turn this challenge into an opportunity. Collections are designed and marketed to an international fashion market.
Profits are reinvested in communities in Malawi, as well as in the training, equipment and infrastructure needed to increase market access and create sustainable livelihoods.
Beautiful Soul aims to recycle traditional fabrics sourced from around the world into timeless, wearable collections.
Every piece in Beautiful Soul collections includes fabrics which have had a life and story before becoming a Beautiful Soul garment. Collections also incorporate sustainably sourced fabrics such as bamboo.
Product longevity, minimising waste and environmental impact are important to the Beautiful Soul philosophy. Garments are designed so that they are adjustable to the wearers changing needs. Drawstrings are used to build in flexibility and to avoid the need for plastic or synthetic fixings. Material remnants are recycled as trimmings or embellishment.
Beautiful Soul collections are made in East London by the HEBA women’s project. HEBA is a unique training and enterprise project providing women from diverse cultural backgrounds with a safe and welcoming place in which to make new friends, learn new skills and engage in enterprise activities to suit their particular needs and family commitments. HEBA training programmes include courses in spoken and written English, sewing and garment production and basic IT.
Sika is inspired by the rich and diverse culture of Ghana, West Africa. Fabrics for Sika collections are sourced from Ghana, with a focus on traditional skills such as batik, tie dye and wax print.
All garments are produced in Ghana by highly skilled tailors and seamstresses. By generating regular income for those involved, Sika is able to give back to the Ghanaian community and raise the standard of garment production.
Sika is working to develop a production unit based on co-operative and fair trade principles in Ghana. This will provide opportunities and training for individuals and communities, increase market access and sustainable incomes, and promote Ghana as a location for the production of high quality designer fashion.
The Julia Smith philosophy is about striving to ensure that all involved in the production process are benefiting and treated fairly.
In 2008 Julia formed a collaboration with Topshop and Marian Essel, a Cape Coast based batiker, to create ‘Julia Smith Made in Africa for Topshop’ – a capsule collection of sun-dresses both hand-printed and produced in Ghana. Having previously worked together for the Global Mamas in Cape Coast, Julia Smith and Marian have now formed a co-operative in the suburbs of Accra, Ghana’s capital city, offering employment opportunities to a struggling community. Marian uses the proceeds of her work to employ disadvantaged adults as well as sponsoring children so that they can go to school and be offered the chance to have a good, educated start in their lives.
The Julia Smith mainline collection is produced in the UK and incorporates a diverse range of sustainably sourced fabrics including hemp silk, organic cotton, Scottish tweeds, hand printed bamboo silk, and organic cotton hand knits.
Fashion with a conscience that does not compromise on design.