LONDON — London fashion incubator the Trampery has made the environment a top priority with the official launch of its Sustainable Fashion Accelerator program, which is meant to help young labels integrate sustainability into their business models.
Supported by the mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and Hackney Wick’s Creative Enterprise Zone, the Trampery chose Steven Tai Studio, Sabinna, We Are Rewritten, Lara Intimates, Leticia Credidio, Sarah Baily and Been London to be part of the first cohort of labels to test the six-month program.
“So far, it’s been great. The community aspect and support system is key here,” said designer Sabinna Rachimova of Sabinna. “As a founder you feel so lonely sometimes, especially when you scale and grow. There’s always some new challenge that pops up and the Sustainable Fashion Accelerator actually answered a lot of questions I had.”
She was speaking at the launch event on Tuesday at one of the Trampery’s buildings in Fish Island Village — in the outer reaches of East London. Members of the industry toasted to the success of the new program.
“The program gave us the confidence to start approaching the business in a holistic manner. The seminars breeds a mind-set with sustainability in the forefront of everything we do, which has led us to reexamine our manufacturing process. We now only produce on demand, we don’t even order the fabrics until the item has been ordered online, so we don’t ever hold any fabric stock and still deliver within 10 days,” designer Steven Tai said.
Over the past six months, Tai, Rachimova and the other designers took part in workshops and classes ranging from p.r. strategy, leadership and team-building to supply chain management.
The workshops were led by industry experts including Vanessa Podmore, who runs a consultancy firm advising on global supply chain and sustainability initiatives for the likes of Burberry and Jimmy Choo.
“After many years of corporate life it’s great to meet people who have new ideas and a completely fresh approach to the way they do things. They don’t need to bolt on sustainability or e-commerce because they grew up working that way,” Podmore said.
“They have been amazing, and they all have such a vision and clarity about what they want to do. All I did was help facilitate that expertise and finesse a few pieces.”
Podmore’s workshops focus on helping the Trampery’s designers scale and grow their supply chain and be mindful of incorporating sustainability and social governance into all aspects of their business model.
“The business model is the hard piece, it’s a question of how they can make enough money to make their business sustainable, while paying attention to materials and processes. Investors are looking to de-risk their investments, because your business model can drive risk into your supply chain and if your supply chain messes up, your whole business messes up,” she added.
Over the next three years, the program is set to work with 30 businesses. The designers taking part in the second cohort include Daniel W. Fletcher, Martina Spetlova, Patrick McDowall, Paynter Jacket Co., Petit Pli, Wright Le Chapelain, Sabry Marouf and Roker Atelier.
“With everything the Trampery does, the first time is like a prototype. We put a lot of research into it, then when it’s finished we spend a lot of time examining it and getting feedback and putting that back into what we do next,” said Charles Armstrong, founder of the Trampery.
“We had positive feedback, and because sustainability is not a static target, we will keep accommodating. Many of the labels are moving into studios here, so they’re joining this community and we’ll be providing them with ongoing workshops and mentoring opportunities for both alumni and labels based here,” he added.