The PHOEBE ENGLISH label, founded in 2011, creates pieces with close attention to detail and quality, rejecting mass-made or ‘fast’ fashion.
All production is made in London, meaning the footprint from sketch to garment is minimised and the entire business operates from one studio in South London. The brand’s duel roots of craftsmanship and reduced negative environmental impact are never sacrificed where possible and a bedrock sense of producer responsibility underlies all decisions from design to business and. The growth of the brand proves to be tackling obstacles that have been put in place within the traditional fashion and retail sectors, and aims to look at design as a solution based opportunity to respond the extreme environmental times we live in.
The clothing comprises an ever-evolving search for communicative design and construction, exploring a personal narrative through surface structure, and textile engineering. As well as employing a straightforward, natural and utilitarian nature.
Phoebe English trained at Central Saint Martins where she completed both BA and MA in Fashion. On graduation, she was awarded the L’Oreal Professional Prize, Ungaro Bursary and Chloe Award. She has been nominated for both emerging Menswear and Womenswear categories several times and has worked across a wide variety of disciplines and organisations, regularly guest lecturing in leading Universities.
PRACTICE AND SOLUTION
We are always developing what, why and how we are doing things.
From initial design concept, collections are built and based around the raw materials that go into them – everything grows from there.
Keeping producer responsibility at the forefront of all our design decisions and thinking about our impact from the beginning, middle and end of our products life.
DESIGN * PRODUCTION
Our collections are produced in small “made to order” batches, we do not overproduce excess units. All products are made locally in London, meaning we can take public transport to deliver and collect from the factory rather than flying unnecessary distances abroad. We use British fabric or British finished fabrics wherever possible, the sourcing is kept close to the UK or EU to reduce the overall carbon footprint of importing far distances. We reuse our ‘waste’ which is returned to us from our manufacturers as off-cuts and put them back into the next collection. We repurpose our surplus and deadstock fabrics in a similar way, and working with what we have means that these items are offered as limited editions. We use GOTs certified organic cottons and Oeko-Tex certified bamboo silks, and we aim to incorporate a greater variety of certified planet friendly fabrics as we move forward. To avoid plastic, we use a variety of biodegradable natural finishings such as buttons made from palm nuts and milk protein. Wherever we can, we develop our designs to apply zero-waste pattern cutting, using the full width of the fabric including the selvedge as the pattern pieces sit edge to edge, ensuring absolutely no waste.
SUPPLY CHAIN * MANUFACTURERS
Across our controlled and local supply chain, we work closely with our manufacturers to minimise the plastic packaging used during their delivery process. Plastic coat hangers used to deliver our products to us are returned back to the factory to reuse or our product is delivered to us folded into cardboard boxes rather than in individual plastic garment bags, which is the general industry practice. We work closely with our manufacturers on cutting down on their single-use plastic and we are making progress with our manufacturers season on season.
LABELLING * PACKAGING
Our packaging, despite industry barriers, has now reached a 100% biodegradable and recyclable standard. Our pieces are packed in entirely plastic-free easily home compostable packaging, consisting of recycled tissue paper, secured with paper washi sticky tape, inside a protective glassine paper bag from FSC certified sustainably managed forests from environmentally conscious suppliers such as Ombu London, Eco-Craft and Greenstat. No synthetic fabric labelling is used within any product; our cotton ‘Phoebe English’ brand labels are embroidered here in the UK in Brighton and hand screen printed or digitally printed in London. We believe that when we are dispatching product into the market place we have a responsibility over not only how and what it is made from but also how it is cared for. A large portion of the damage by the fashion industry comes from how we care for our clothes – we label our care labels with options other than dry cleaning, we encourage customers to use eco friendly “wet cleaning” services, to wash pieces at 30° rather than at 40° in the machine and we also encourage people to wash any synthetics pieces inside a 4 catching bag such as the “Guppyfriend Bag”.
PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY * CIRCULARITY
We share our ethos with all of our customers to encourage the reuse and then recycling of all our packaging as much as possible. We encourage customers to stay in touch with us in regards to repairing and prolonging the life of their purchase and we are happy to repair and mend our products for them to make the best thorough use of the carbon and water used in the making of each garment. We avoid trend led design and opt for longevity when developing our pieces, good design should last forever and our garments aren’t deemed successful until we see someone wearing them several years later. We believe in the environmental potential of a non-linear circular ‘sharing’ economy for the fashion sector and are pleased to be able to also offer our pieces for rental through third parties and not only solely through traditional wholesale avenues.