CarbonLIVE presents official sponsor, Nobody’s Child.
Here at Carbon, we speak to Nobody’s Child’s head of buying, Charlotte Haynes, the official sponsor of CarbonLIVE.
How was Nobody’s Child born? Did you see a gap in the market for fashionable, affordable yet sustainable brand?
It happened quite organically and before the focus on sustainability. We’ve been around for 4 years now. Founded by a family run garment manufacturer with factories in the UK and Europe. The founders saw that the transparency and ethical foundations of their supply chain combined with low carbon footprint set them apart in the field, and they decided to create an ethical brand to reflect that. They then brought in a team to deliver covetable yet considered collections.
The fashion industry has been largely criticised for its impact on the environment, yet as consumers we have a desire to shop fast. How do we as shoppers strike a balance?
How we all look after the planet is rapidly becoming one of the biggest concerns and areas of control for most customers today, yet arguably fast fashion still exists. It all comes back to the customer, to the education and understanding of ‘who made my clothes’? What is the fabric source? How many times will I wear this dress? At NC we try to be as transparent as possible and encourage our customers to re-wear and re-style our beautiful pieces.
Many fashion brands have released recycled collections, yet it seems they’re using it as a marketing strategy rather than scaling back production. How can fashion brands have a genuine responsibility?
Sustainability and responsibility has to be in every aspect of the business, it’s not just about the collections. Although that’s a good start. At NC we always start with the product first. What does the customer want whether it be one of our DNA prints or a trusted shape. We are aware if we don’t focus on that then ultimately it will not appeal to the customer, which means it would end up as waste itself. We then create this with up-cycled or sustainable fabrics such as our 100% organic tee’s and launching next month Ecovero TM viscoses. Having our own production means we can reduce minimums that other brands face and have limited low impact runs and therefore less wastage. The majority of our collections are also produced near the UK (if not in the UK) so we also have a low carbon footprint behind the scenes. It’s not just about an auto-response or solution from brands to do these recycled collections. It’s a constant education into all the functions that make a collection. We also look at reducing any unnecessary trims so they are only functional. We recently changed our pinny dress design from having a buckle to having a wrap around belt to reduce the use of unnecessary additional plastics/components. In our pattern making process we use up as much of the fabric as possible to prevent wastage, we have then gone on to turn these off-cuts into tote bags (like the ones at CarbonLIVE) and watch this space for our upcoming scrunchies! But we’re the first to admit there is still so much more we can do, we are on a journey and endeavour to show this to our customer.
We’re recruiting an increasing amount of guys into our fashion courses, and we love the diversity and dynamic mixed gender teams bring to the creative environment at Solent. Would NC ever branch into menswear?
When it comes to recruitment we employ openly without any discrimination. But in reality, few men apply for roles at NC, so when a role comes up, do apply guys! We pride ourselves on womenswear and have developed an inclusive and loyal cult following over the years. Our customers have and will always be number one in all our decision making. In terms of menswear who knows what the future holds. Inside fact, our head of product and buying was previously a menswear buyer!
You donate your leftover materials to fashion colleges. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen made by students using NC fabrics?
At the moment we unfortunately don’t often see what happens to the fabric after donation, but this is something we are hoping with more resource we are able to follow up in. We also donate clothing for student projects and fashion shows as well as and raffle prizes etc. We love being sent the imagery and feedback from the student’s shows and sharing this with the head office.
How does NC invest in rising talent from student communities? What skills do you look for?
There are so many opportunities and roles in the fashion industry so skills and expertise can vary depending on the function. But a key mindset and characteristics desired across all of these are someone who is customer-centric, agile, passionate about the product and its sustainability, is an effective communicator, can handle a fast-paced environment and is a a team player. Remembering you can’t do it alone. We also launched a student ambassador program last year in which we worked with students from all over the country to spread the message of the brand, with free clothes every month, exclusive discounts for their friends and family, insider access to the brand and also the chance to earn commission on any sales – not bad for a little extra cash when you’re a student!
CarbonLIVE has been launched to bring together young creatives to discuss everything from fashion, to careers, beauty and wellbeing in a fun and collaborative environment. What advice would you give to graduates entering the fashion industry in 2020?
I would encourage them to read “Almost is not good enough” by Andrew Jennings. He sums it up perfectly, “Retail has always been a dynamic industry but right now it’s going through an unprecedented pace of change. Seismic economic shifts and breath-taking technological advances are changing the shopping experience faster than most retailers are able to react. Customers demand ever more exciting shopping experiences and have higher expectations of product, service, value and environment. And there’s the multichannel reality to get to grips with too!”
Interview by Emily Salmon