ACCESSORIES & COMPONENTS:
It’s all in the details – trimmings and components are vital to product design, both in ensuring that the item fully meets your brand’s ethical commitments as well as remains beautiful, high quality and desirable to your customers.
Working in accessories is also a great way to begin engaging in ethical fashion for both retailers and suppliers. “Small businesses and communities struggle with [garment] sizes. The margin for error is much higher. With accessories, it can be easier to achieve consistent product quality,” David Thomas, owner of Danaqa in London’s Notting Hill, told the audience of the Better Buying Panel at this season’s Pure London tradeshow.
Here, we highlight some exemplary suppliers of beads, jewellery, buttons, bags, hats and ribbons that are working to high sustainable and ethical standards, inspiring change across the industry and providing beautiful, well-crafted fashion products.
BEADS & JEWELLERY:
Abacus Beadwork, based in Durban, South Africa, was originally founded in 1985 by Jane Bedford. Jane’s vision was to empower local women through the art of beadwork. Over 20 years later, this vision is continued under the leadership of Mike and Hazel Bartlett, who purchased Abacus Beadwork from Jane in July 2008.
The beaders at Abacus Beadwork take traditional Zulu beadwork to new levels by combining traditional skill with contemporary designs, to create jewellery and objects that delight the senses with their richness and colour. Products include: tubes, braided strands, ropes, beads, and more.
Artisan Life was established in 2004 with the purpose of promoting, developing and supporting Colombian artisans and their craft by commercialising unique handcrafted products, under the highest quality standards, through leading distribution channels in the UK and other European markets. All products are sourced on a Fair Trade basis using natural and sustainable materials.
- Tagua pendants and beads
- Corazon tropical wood pendants and beads
- Sisal, natural palm fibres used for handbags
- Cowhide leather used for high-quality, handcrafted bags
Ethnic Supplies supports women in the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Madagascar by sourcing handmade handicrafts and fashion accessories from suppliers that support women to be financially independent or directly from established women’s groups in rural locations. They specialise in beautiful beads made by Uganda women using colour magazine paper.
Glocal Connection is an inspiring supplier platform that works with women in indigenous, developing communities to create profitable businesses specialising in beads, bags and scarves. By designing innovative supply chain solutions, Glocal Connection is able to offer competitive prices without sacrificing sustainability.
One World Button Supply Co.
One World Button Supply Co hand in hand with NGO micro-enterprise development programs, cooperatives and artisan families to promote environmental awareness, health and safety measures and fair-trade values.
- Buttons and beads
- Scarf sticks and pins
- Purse handles, closures and D rings
- Buckles, zipper pulls
- Needle wraps
- Needlepoint and cross-stitch embellishments
For designers and manufacturers:
- Sizes, materials and treatments can be altered to your needs
- Low minimums for custom work
- Custom shapes and logos available in horn and bone
- Laser graphics and logos available in corozo
- Corozo dyed to match
- Producer capacities 500-120,000 pcs per month
The Flame Tree
The Flame Tree set up in 2006 to encourage interaction between communities in the north of Ghana, and in Tottenham, London. Based near the town of Tumu, local producers seek to show off the best of the northern Ghanian textiles and fashion by bringing their techniques and products to the global marketplace. In addition to producing beautiful batik cloth, they also specialise in beads and buttons from materials such as recycled glass, snailshell and agate.
Bag It Don’t, Don’t Bin It
Bag It Don’t, Don’t Bin It supplies fairly traded, eco-friendly, customisable and re-usable cotton, cancans and jute tote bags made in Sheffield, UK. Minimum orders are 200 pieces. They are also working towards a British Standard Environmental Mark 8555 and stand firm as a zero- waste policy company.
Embellished Truth produces handcrafted handbags from a London-based workshop made using the finest eco-friendly leather which has been vegetable tanned in Europe. The tanning process is free from chrome and other heavy metals and uses vegetable substances which are harvested in a sustainable way. The end result is beautifully soft, breathable and biodegradable leather. They also do hand embossing.
Kerala Crafts is a workshop, together with a stitching facility, in Ponnani, Kerala, specialising in traditional Indian craftsmanship by a group of skilled women. Known for their excellent woven baskets.
NV London Calcutta
Specialising in high-end leather and polished horn materials, NV London Calcutta works with designers and larger brands alike to create custom leather and polished horn products, particularly good for handbags, accessories, jewellery and homewares.
Available materials include:
- Butter soft leathers
- Traditionally hand screened canvases and luxurious hand spun silks all with beautiful detailing such as hand rolled edges and unique, handcrafted buffalo horn fittings
Tosheka Textiles is a Kenya-based social entrepreneurial enterprise, with extensive experience in commercial and community based textile production. Specialising in “green textiles” for home, clothing and fashion accessories – made from natural fibres, recycled materials, and eco-friendly dyes. Handcrafted using fair labour practices, traditional weaving, knitting, and crochet techniques of Kenya artisans, providing them with sustainable incomes made from the comfort of their own communities. Accessories products include: carry-alls, totes and handbags in a wide range of colours and patterns.
HATS & RIBBONS:
Pachacuti with a number of major brands to create private-label designs of Panama Hats and Felt Hats, including Club Monaco. Paul Smith, Brora, Cath Kidston, Goodwood, Highgrove, Johnstons of Elgin and many more. They can create bespoke designs and trims to specification, working with a Women’s Association in Ecuador.
They also also have a range of Fair Trade, Hand-woven ribbons in several widths and designs for trimming hats or for use on other clothing and accessories. The ribbon colourways can be chosen to tie in with your collection. Alternatively, Pachacuti can trim hats with bespoke silk ribbon, made in the UK, or with Italian ribbons or even with fabric from a designer’s own collection to tie in with their clothing range. And finally, they also use sustainable feather pins, hat bands or trims from a Scottish Game Estate.
SHOES & LEATHER HIDES:
Koru Organic specialises in soft leather shoes and lamb and goat skins using only hides from local organic farms in the Diois (dee-wah) region of France and produced locally in France. The animals are raised in a 50km radius of the abattoirs, and are destined only for the local meat market. Animals are raised based on the principles of organic farming, meaning a commitment to a GM free diet and natural living conditions for the animals.
- Leather by the metre starting at 73,80 €
- Goatskin hides from 46,50 € by the roll
- Hand-dyed, Organic Cotton Ribbon from 1,68 € by the roll
- Farbenmix Ribbon from 1,90 €