LONDON — These are party clothes with a cause.
Melissa and Hannah Collett, the sister duo behind the silk fashion brand Worme, have opened the doors of their small business to Clio Peppiatt, founder of the eponymous label that focuses on hand-beading and embroidery.
The three women are pooling their excess materials to create a zero waste capsule collection that will be handmade in London using surplus silks and gems.
The sisters were introduced to Peppiatt through a mutual friend, and quickly found themselves discussing “the experiences of running an independent business” during a pandemic.
Worme already had a factory in London, and its own seamstresses, and Melissa said it was important for Worme and Peppiatt to “develop those relationships, again.” Worme’s orders can take anywhere between seven to 14 days to be produced.
For the zero waste collaboration, fewer than 200 units went into production for each piece. “We’ve started very small so it gives us time to see if there’s a colorway that is more popular and then we can put the work into that,” Hannah said.
“It’s about maintaining the integrity of your brand and not working to this intense fashion calendar that you feel you need to keep up with by making new things. Our customer return rate is really high, and they’re coming back.”
The four jewel-colored pieces in the collection include two scarves in five shades, a bralette in four colors and a wrap skirt in red. The hand-embellished pieces were inspired by the era of the supermodels in the ’90s and early Aughts.
The three designers collectively cite a Versace campaign with Amber Valletta from spring 2000 as a reference.
Both brands follow a direct-to-consumer approach, which has given them the freedom to operate in their own terms.
Peppiatt said the quiet time during lockdown allowed her to restructure her business by finding new fabric suppliers, a financial mentor and ways to improve her sustainability.
She now works with “two sisters in India who do natural dyeing with flower petals.” Within five months after lockdown, she said she saw her business grow fivefold, while Worme witnessed a similar growth trend in the period.
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