Guest Blog: Indigowares
- What is your business called and where did the idea come from?
To be honest the name of the business was driven by finding an Etsy store name that hadn’t been taken. I spent a week brain storming names that centred on Indigo then checking if the already existed. I settled for Indigowares because I thought it gave me scope for future expansion.
- How long has your business been running for?.
Indigowares was born about 5 years ago when I left my husband and had to bring in the money on my own. I couldn’t face returning to freelance in the London studios, my heart wasn’t in it. I was lucky I got transferred from income support onto the Government business enterprise scheme. By being on this scheme I had access to a business mentoring who encouraged me to keep going.
- What is your background?
I graduated from Brighton Uni after doing the Fashion Textiles Design with Business Studies ( 4 year sandwich course with a year working for a weave mill in Italy). After graduating I worked in NYC for 3 years in a textile studio creating artwork for companies like Calvin Klein, Macy’s The Gap, Liz Claiborne etc. I returned to the UK after 9/11 and I have been a freelance conceptual print and wovens designer for 20 years, since graduating
- What sort of services/products do you offer?
Indigowares is a brand founded on sustainability, traditional practices and traceability within the sourcing and creation of each garment. Our ethos and handcrafted quality are consistent across all of our collections and collaborations— no matter what the context, I am dedicated to offering timeless luxury garments handcrafted through traditional textile processes. Indigowares always operates within the following standards:
- All natural dyes.
- Ethically sourced materials.
- Use of repurposed textiles and garments.
- Traceability in each garment from start to finish.
- Quality handmade craftsmanship in each product.
- What’s your favourite part of running your business?
Definitely sharing the story of how textiles and garments are created. Sharing and keeping alive traditional printing and pattern making techniques so that they are not forgotten and can be used in a contemporary way.
- How have you had to adapt your business to cope with Coronavirus?
During lockdown I have had to be open to more lateral ways to generate an income for me and my kids. And was extremely fortunate to be approached by Levi’s uk to design their ‘reimagine’ collection for their new sustainablilty store in Soho, London. My partnership with Levi’s has been a huge step forward in innovating slow fashion retail models on a larger scale. I began talks with Levi’s in March 2020, agreeing to design and hand dye their Reimagine Collection. This collection is now sold exclusively at Levi’s Haus, a ‘circular-economy’ concept store that involves the customer in the sustainable process by offering repairs and repurposed garments (including Reimagine).
- How have you implemented your sustainable and eco-friendly ethos into your business?
Within Indigowares production, we have reduced our suppliers to ensure that every one aligns with our ethos. Our primary UK source is now The Organic Textile Company in Wales, who run on sustainable energy and transparently work with GOTS certified mills. We also continue to work with our suppliers in India to source brand elements such as vintage kantha quilts and indigo block prints.
We work towards zero waste status in production. Our new Comfortably Blue Collection, released October 2020, contains a great example of this in the Patchwork Jacket, made from Shibori pattern offcuts. We have also combined our zero waste efforts with a donation initiative in our Upcycled Indigo Cotton Face Masks. We donated all proceeds from this offcut-based product to the Choose Love campaign, helping refugees by providing essential items and support.
I have begun to offer a repair service, repairing any worn or damaged Indigowares product for free with the aim to extend the life span of every garment.
- What’s the best feedback you’ve received from a customer?
Best feedback was from Levis this year:
‘ just wanted to say thank you so much for all your hard work, we couldn’t have done it without you”
For me after working for years in fashion and hating it it was refreshing for me to return and have a positive experience where my input and hard work was appreciated. Which is very unusual in the world of fashion!
I think all reviews are essential and help us grow and push ourselves to do better. This was a lovely an especially lovely review:
- ‘If I could give this amazing jacket ten stars, I would! I don’t know what I love more, the amazing indigo dip-dye, or its relaxed and comfortable fit. Beautifully cut, it’s now the most versatile item in my wardrobe. As a short curvy woman, I often struggle to find jackets that are flattering yet comfortable. This ticks all the boxes! Lisa’s customer service is just fantastic. Shipping was fast, too. Will definitely be shopping here again.’ Rena Roohipour
- Where are you based and how can people contact you?
I am based in Hertfordshire but do all my sales through my website. I will hopefully be exhibiting at Childwickbury Arts Fair, near St.Albans the first weekend in July. It’s a 3-day art event where all the artists demonstrate their crafts in the open air. It’s a wonderful event and I love taking part as the creative energy present is electric.
** Lisa has just launched a DIY kit so you can have a go at indigo dyeing yourself!**