The “Introducing” is a series of interviews of independent lifestyle and design brands that our readers have not heard of yet. It’s an introduction to the brand story told by its founder. This interview is with Gillian McNeill, the founder of a small fashion brand “LAW Design Studio”, where she tell us about sustainable fashion and what measures and steps the brand takes to be more sustainable.
1. Can you tell us what is LAW Design Studio about? What is your mission?
Our mission is to change our relationship with clothing. In today’s world fashion has become such a fast throwaway item and this needs to change. At LAW, we create timeless clothing styles made from natural fibres. Our styles are designed to adapt to our ever changing bodies and our LAW Repair and Circular scheme ensures our styles don’t end up in landfill.
2. How and why sustainability is important to your brand?
I worked as a designer in the fast fashion industry for over a decade and I became increasingly disheartened by the throwaway overconsumption and normality of it all. I wanted to ensure I wasn’t part of this industry but instead I wanted to be part of a positive change and slow down the race. To show respect and love that these clothes need. When I had my 2 daughters I started looking at the world differently and it was through their eyes that I knew there was better ways to still create clothes but in a much more considered aproach.
3. What are some of the steps you are taking as a business to be a sustainable one?
Firstly, we only use natural materials, GOTs certification where possible. We have recently updated all my labelling to cotton in the next step to creating a fully compostable garment. At the moment we still use polyester thread because it is so much stronger than cotton but we are looking at ways to improve this.
My styles are made to order and so there is no unwanted stock, which can be a MAJOR issue in the industry. Customers have the option to specify measurements so the style is a perfect fit. We also offer free repairs for the first year and after that we will repair for a small fee.
We have a LAW Circular project where the customer is invited to send back their old styles once they are finished with them and receive £20 to spend in the store. The styles then get re-processed and listed as pre-loved styles to keep them in the loop for longer.
4. Can you take us through the natural materials you use in your collections?
We use mostly linen from Central Europe and Ireland. European linen is sustainable because it requires little or no water to grow as we have a wet climate here. Therefore, it requires no pesticides and it has less of a carbon footprint to get it here. Other fabrics we use are Organic Cottons and GOTs certified Organic cottons which have a high standard of ethical welfare for everyone involved.
5. You recently launched a new collection – what was the inspiration behind it and who is it for?
I like to design my styles with my customer in mind. She can be anything from 25 to 75 but is confident when feeling comfortable and relaxed. I usually stick to muted tones but I sourced some beautiful Irish linen and I felt like after such a grim couple of years a pop of colour would fit nicely.
6. Any plans for this year?
I am still trying to juggle running a small business and looking after a young family – I am not sure I will ever get the balance right. For this year I am focusing on doing some pop-ups with other small businesses in different parts of the country and trying to get through my ever growing list of things I want to do with the brand like accessories, expanding the kids range and more. Stay tuned!