Sassi Holford is a brand committed to our responsibility to the environment, especially in the context of fashion and textiles. We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure our goal of of becoming a carbon neutral brand by 2030 is on schedule, with a 3 year aim of reducing plastic use by 50% and ensure we recycle 80% of our waste.
Our production coordinator Lily, plays a big part in this goal; it is her job to not only to source our fabrics, but she also helps decide where our off-cuts go; whether that’s how they’re recycled or the brands we partner with to reuse our fabric waste. We sat down with Lily to find out more about her day-to-day roles, what inspired her to work with fabrics and her plans and ideas on getting Sassi Holford carbon neutral.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background; have you always wanted to work with fashion and fabrics?
Since a young age I have always had a passion for fashion and textiles; my studies have always been devoted to textiles throughout school, college and going onto studying Woven Textile Design at Falmouth University. It was at university that my passion for textile design really emerged and over that time I developed my skills immensely. I would say I am working in my dream job!
Can we have an insight into your role as Production Coordinator, what does a typical day look like?
The most exciting aspect of my role is that every day is completely different. Day to day I work alongside Sassi to source beautiful materials for new bridal designs and client orders, and exploring upcoming innovations and trends. With the current challenges we are facing in the supply chain and sourcing material, an important part is liaising with our suppliers to ensure materials are here and ready for our amazing production team.
Readers may already know we try to source our materials as locally as possible to keep our carbon footprint low, but can you tell us how that actually works?
Tulle and net are a major element in the make-up of a wedding gown, and the fact that we source ours from two suppliers within 22 miles of our workrooms is something we are very proud of. We also work with a local fabric manufacturer who supply fusing for our garments.
How do you know when you’ve found the right fabric; do you have to visualise it on the finished garment?
We have an inspiration table filled with new fabrics made up of texture, silks, embroidery and laces. During the design stage we pull fabrics out, drape them over mannequins, layer different materials together and play around with potential ideas. Until we start to combine the fabrics and components together; this is when we start to see the design come together. Understanding the material’s characteristics is a key element to selecting fabrics. We must look at the composition, weight, texture, and appearance of the cloth against the design’s key elements and visualise how it will work at the collection launch, once the garment has been made up and the story has been curated.
As part of being a responsible brand, we like to recycle and reuse our fabric off by working with brands, colleges, and charities which you oversee. How do you initiate collaborations and how do you choose which businesses to work with?
Our fabric scraps go to a variety of artists, milliners, designers, local makers, and students. Many individuals approach us when they have projects looking for scraps and off cuts. We are more than happy to provide these to those who can make use of them! We currently have an ongoing collaboration with designer Phoebe English who utilises our offcuts and turns them into garments and fabrics. LULU the Label who creates handmade accessories, and also Inner Wheel who produce silk comfort cushions for breast cancer patients. Seeing the diversity of work from our off-cuts is so exciting and inspiring. I am very keen to continue exploring more ways that our scraps can be utilised.
Do you have a favourite memory from one of our recycling collaborations? Maybe the way they used the fabric, or a final garment made from off cuts?
We donate some of our silk offcuts to Inner Wheel who make cushions for women who have had breast cancer operations. We received a heart-warming email earlier this year from a patient thanking us for our contribution to her cushion. A very touching and inspirational thank you.
And finally, do you have any more ideas/plans in the works for continuing our aim of cutting down our waste and continuing to recycle as many by-products as possible?
Absolutely! We are already moving in a positive direction for cutting down waste and reducing our carbon footprint. Where possible, we are making changes to our key fabrics when eco versions are available and will continue to expand on this. 50% of our threads are now made from certified 100% recycled PET. We are still on the hunt to find a recycled alternative for the remaining 50%. We continue to explore best practise across our entire supplier base working closely with them to ensure environmental, social and quality practises are met, and exceeded.