Pachacuti has just returned from showing our AW11 felt hats, alpaca clothing & accessories at both London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.
I have developed our felt hat collection further than in previous years, knowing the limitations of our Fair Trade producers, yet also conscious of the fact that all of our producers say that they love making new designs. It is therefore a delicate balancing act between extending their skills and capacity just a little bit further, yet still producing an item of a consistent quality. The more complicated the design, the harder it is to convey all of the specifications in an entirely visual way to the producers as many of them are illiterate.
A new addition to our collection was our range of Carry On bags: made from recycled plastic bags. Of course, our bags are not just recycled but are also Fair Trade, made by the Women's Hope collective in Colombia. More about this exciting new collection to follow in the next post.
I always enjoy being part of Estethica at London Fashion Week, alongside other pioneers of ethical fashion such as From Somewhere and Junky Styling and newcomers who bring fresh perspectives and innovative materials, such as Jacob James STINGplus caps made from a blend of nettles and wool.
Surprisingly, the only Fair Trade representation at Estethica this season was the Fairtrade Foundation, showing their new collection of Fairtrade cotton scarves designed by the Fairtrade Collective and on sale at ASOS, and Pachacuti.
On the first day I was visited by Livia Firth who is such a fantastic and tireless eco-advocate. She managed to squeeze in an afternoon at Estethica to visit all of her favourite ethical brands before flying off to the Oscars where The Kings Speech won Best Picture and Colin won a well-deserved Best Actor.
On Saturday, Estethica hosted the brunch which, as usual, boasted a few trays of canapés and copious amounts of champagne! The venue was crowded with press, buyers and visitors and the whole day was extremely busy for us. My beautiful daughter, Sienna, arrived at the end of the brunch and stayed for the next four days, dividing her time between getting snapped by photographers in the courtyard of Somerset House and helping me on the stand.
We had a successful London Fashion Week with orders from UK and overseas buyers and leads for some exciting designer collaborations which are under discussion as I write. At the end of Tuesday, thanks to my friend Amanda King, Sienna and I secured tickets to Ashish, the last show of the season. Sequinned punk tartan mixed with jumpers which looked as if they had been pulled out of a moth-filled closet: a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek way to end London Fashion Week.
Two days back in Ashbourne, a weekend in Brussels (touring Art Nouveau houses and talking about the Sustainable Fair Trade Management System) and then it was time for Paris Fashion Week and a last-minute stand at Zipzone. Zipzone is curated by Alessandra Stretti and takes place in two locations on the rue Rivoli. Pachacuti was located at 111 rue Rivoli at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which also happens to house my favourite bookshop in the world.
Finally, taking a breath and enjoying being back at home in the Staffordshire Moorlands, far away from the world of fashion. Riding our pony Billy over the hills on chilly, sunny mornings and enjoying the annual Shrovetide football game which takes place in Ashbourne. The entire town is closed and shops boarded up for two days, so a great opportunity to be outside and meeting up with friends who I so rarely get to see due to my hectic lifestyle.
It was a very different kind of fashion on show at Shrovetide: hoodies, wellies and jeans (apart from me, wearing a thick, knitted Betty Jackson skirt under which I can pile on thermal leggings and wooly tights) but nice to get back to the real world for a fleeting moment, before my head is buried again in designing our 2012 collection next week.