British bee supporting cause aside, it’s just a brilliant statement sweatshirt. Gung Ho donates £5 to a charity that works with endangered bees with every purchase of this piece.
The Gung Ho philosophy is undeniably designed to get people talking with its forward thinking ethics, but British-made collections, organic fabrics and climate neutral clothes are not without seriously appealing aesthetics.
I chatted to the London-based designer Sophie Dunster about her brand of sustainable fashion and being genuinely fashion. Gung Ho isn’t preachy and they appreciate people might just fall for their prints, but every garment has a hidden meaning for those that want to look further. Subtly connecting her customers with social and environmental issues, Sophie calls it “wearing your heart on your sleeve.”
I picked-up my Gung Ho sweatshirt and these vintage ‘80s ski pants from the heart of my neighbourhood, London’s Portobello Road. Gung Ho is stocked at Ethical Collection and I encourage anyone looking for flattering trousers to seek ski pants from Clemmie Myers at Lime Green Bow Vintage.
Even in my current state, with a broken foot, I couldn’t bee happier. Okay, enough bee jokes, here is my interview with Sophie.
You are Gung Ho and extremely enthusiastic about fashion with meaning and the causes you support. Do you think the fashion revolution is a battle?
Change is always tricky, but we’re seeing such a positive switch in that people now feel they can personally make a difference. It doesn’t feel impossible anymore! With all the big changes, Trump, Brexit.. people are really having to question what they want to stand for.
The challenge for the sustainable fashion industry is to make the products just as, if not, more exciting than the standard options – so appealing to those who don’t necessarily shop ethical. Gung Ho wants to be at the forefront of this change.
What’s in your heart for the sleeves you will create in 2018?
Gung Ho started off representing the everyday issues, like what sort of washing detergent you should be using, but we found it’s good to rep the issues people are aware of and feel passionate about. For SS18 we will be launching our campaign for the impact of plastics and the oceans! It’s an issue that a lot of people are aware of now and it definitely has tugged on a few heart strings – especially with Blue Planet.
You were raised on a low carbon lifestyle. How is taking your way of life and building it into a sustainable business?
It’s been a challenge to find the right suppliers that live up to the standards we want to keep, especially as we try and keep our carbon footprint as little as possible and want to support small local businesses. This also makes it harder to keep items affordable, but we do our best and we have wonderful relationships with our suppliers – it’s nice to work with other like minded people.
©Photographs courtesy of Gung Ho
Part free spirit, part dedicated fan of fashion, 10 years in the industry has ingrained particular months (before fashion weeks) when I feel the clothes in my wardrobe aren’t cutting it. Coupled with 10 consecutive grey London days and counting, I know I am not alone with wardrobe woes in this transitional weather.
A lack of inspiration can lead to impulse buys for fast fashion pick-me-ups. The disappointment is that they rarely satisfy our need for long, as research by McKinsey proved with the stat “nearly three-fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.”
A woman “ain’t what she wears but, what she knows.” Do you know that know that India Arie lyric? Well, this woman has been educating herself. I just took a free online course by Future Learn with Fashion Revolution and Exeter University called Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution is a global movement for transparency catalysed by the fatal Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh. The course lifted the lid on issues facing the global fashion industry and made me even more conscious about materials and the things I consume.
To solve transitional weather dressing with sustainable choices, I collaborated with neighbouring business, Ethical Collection, an eco-luxury boutique. Ethical Collection is a force for positive change, founded to enrich the lives of the women that shop with them as well as the lives of the people that make their products.
I fashioned a Mara Hoffman summer slip dress with this grey trench by Kowtow and they felt amazing. Arms free, slips are so comfy and perfect for layering as the season changes, whilst the relaxed-fit trench felt like soft denim, which can be both cool and cosy. I wore them with the knowledge that the dress was made of Birla Viscose – made from the pulp of sustainably harvested trees, and the trench was made with Fair Trade organic cotton, so you could say my test-wear was biased. Once you know, you can’t un-know and what is fashion, if not for making us feel good?
©Photographs Reclaimed Woman
Carla Colour Lind recycled sunglasses from Ethical Collection
Amour jute tote The Jacksons
Reclaimed linen top Thoreau
Vintage gold Ferragamo leather jeans from 1st dibs
Sculptures by Suki Chan from Edward Haes
Trainers LA Sportiva