So you care about people and the planet? If you’re an ethically minded consumer then why shouldn’t your special day reflect this too in the suppliers and products that you use.
Ethical and sustainable are two words that get used a lot at the moment, but they are words that I have always lived by and which I strive to apply throughout my business.
- With the majority of products bought new, the biggest environmental footprint is in the growing/collecting/farming/mining of raw materials and the refining processes, which is why I always source my materials and equipment second hand where possible.
- All my designs are hand made by me using vintage, natural (renewable) and recycled materials. If you visit my studio you will see that I am a hoarder, I hate throwing things away and so am constantly looking at ways of re-using and re-purposing materials. This means I am always scouring local antiques and flea markets, carboot fairs and charity shops for vintage and pre-loved jewellery, haberdashery, millinery supplies and materials (including 2nd hand clothing in decorative or luxurious fabrics like sequins, silk, velvet, or tweed) for upcycling into hats, fascinators and tiaras.
- If you have an old hat or accessory that you no longer wear I can restyle or refashion it for you, to bring it up to date or match it to a new outfit.
- Below is an example of an old straw hat which was too small, which I have cut up, re-blocked in a mini beret shape and trimmed with vintage faux fruit & flowers;
- When I do have to buy new materials, I do so in a responsible manner, choosing natural and sustainable products where possible. The millinery sinamay I use is from a UK company who work directly with the communities that grow and process the Abacca plants and weave the sinamay.
- I have some feathers and bird wings to use up which are by-products of animal agriculture and licensed game keeping, however I am aware that these are not fully ethical so I have switched to only buy or source feathers that are vintage, naturally shed and found in the wild, or second hand from preloved clothing and accessories.
- I keep and re-use packaging, and where I do use new it is sourced in the UK and made from recycled paper/board. I have also ditched the sellotape and now use brown paper tape so my customers can easily re-use or recycle my packing boxes.
- At the studio and at home we separate out the recyclables and kitchen waste and dispose of it responsibly.
- The studio is in an old textile mill, which has recently been renovated to make it more energy efficient. It is in walking distance of my home, so are the local shops and post office, so I rarely need to drive, and when I do I make sure to double up on errands to make the best use of my journey.
- Closing the loop – New for 2020, if you have a Gemma Sangwine product which has reached the end of it’s life, or which you no-longer wear, you can return it to me for recycling, in exchange for a voucher off your next purchase. All my designs are made in a way which allows them to be disassembled and the components can be re-used or appropriately recycled.