We are two humans inspired by other humans.
We create fashion from human stories.
Both born Londoners with British and Irish heritage, we are united by a shared fascination of humans and their stories. We truly believe in the power of fashion to present a pro-social message of inclusivity and positive identity. We believe in creating socially conscious fashion that puts the craftspeople and the customer at the heart of our creation.
We are passionate about creating exquisite textiles layered with emotional narrative. We weave those stories into the fabric and textiles of our collections to create bold, vibrant and modern fashion in our London studio. This approach to design has earned us accolades and recognition as London’s young ‘textile pioneers’ and ‘innovators’ and seen our collections connect with smart, creative and confident women.
Currently the British Library’s Designers in Residence we are passionate researchers who make use of the UK’s many museum archives. We value talking to people as part of our in-depth creative research and have been referred to as “method designers.”
In 2016 Teatum Jones won the prestigious International Woolmark Prize for Womenswear. We were the first ever British recipient of the award and joined an alumni of prize winners that included Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.
Below we have put some of our pillars on what believe are important to Teatum Jones.
1. Animal Friendly
At Teatum Jones we have a no fur policy. Leather is taken from recycled skins and any left over scraps that our dear friend Mr Willbraham donates to us that would otherwise go to waste. We are currently not using mohair/cashmere for new developments. Any pre-existing fabrics with mohair fibres are repurposed into new season fabrics or re-used as homeware/accessory products. Wool is Non Mulesed and from NEW ZEALAND ZQUE Certified.
2. Recycling, Waste and Environmentally Friendly Materials
At Teatum Jones we have a culture of never throwing away any textiles - we’ve put too much heart into creating them so they simply mean too much to us. In our eyes, no scrap is too big or too small. At the end of each season we collect all the remaining fabrics and measure them, give them a name and a code and store them. When we start the new collection we make sure up to 40% of these archive fabrics are resurrected and used for any new collections.
All our tailoring fabrics are from British wool mills and we select carefully from their end-of-line or damaged stock so that we save it from going to landfill and give it another (better!) lease of life. By ‘damaged’ this could mean a little mouse has found its way into the mill and chewed the edge of the roll of fabric. At Teatum Jones this just adds to the story of our collections and is no excuse to discard perfectly good fabric.
Our garment linings are 80% made from dead stock or recycled yarns with the aim to be 100% sustainable by 2023, either by using recycled yarn, organic fibres or past season dead stock.
In terms of Organic Materials, all of our cotton shirting is from these suppliers that are OEKO certified. We are also looking at ways of working with GOTS cotton suppliers by partnering with other like minded designers to meet the suppliers’ high order minimums. Watch this space.
In addition, we are also working towards replacing any polyester/viscose fabrics with Tencel by 2023. We are actively asking our network and seeking out mills and suppliers that predominantly work with Tencel fibres/fabrics and other environmentally friendlier fibres. We always welcome suggestions and introductions to suppliers so please get in touch if you know someone useful.
Whilst we are developing our collections and designing our shapes, we use up every scrap of calico for our fitting toiles, including the removal of zips and buttons from old fit toiles. These are recycled for use in new season fit toiles. In fact, we even use the smallest of scraps to make aprons for pattern cutting tools that our team use when working in the studio.
Used pattern cutting paper is never thrown away until it is virtually impossible to reuse and even then it is added to the recycling bin. Before it hits the recycling station we believe in extending its life as far as possible so it is always folded into a special box and kept as flat as possible. It is saved and patch-worked together and used to cover the pattern cutting tables when fabric is being measured. This ensures our beautiful textiles don’t get nicked by some of the wear and tear marks on our giant pattern cutting tables, tables that were lovingly made by Catherine Teatum’s father from discarded MDF over a decade ago. Still going strong.
And when we finally come to package up our beautiful orders and send them out to stores and customers, we’ve made sure that all our packaging is repurposed, recycled and/or fully compostable so it’s not going to sit around on this earth stubbornly refusing to decompose for hundreds of years. That would not be good for anyone.
3. Supporting Traditional Skills
Teatum Jones creates fashion from human stories and therefore humans are at the heart of what we do. We are very passionate about supporting craftspeople and the legacy of artisan craftsmanship. Therefore with some of our specially developed fabrics we work with a company called Piece & Co who connect designers with global artisans. As the textile agent they ensure that the craftspeople are paid a fair wage, the fabrics are certified and produced in an environmentally friendly way.
4. Decent Working Conditions for Our Staff and our Manufacturers
We have made a decision at the moment to keep all our manufacturing based in London so that we can visit our makers regularly to ensure the welfare and working conditions of the people making our clothes is regularly observed by our team and maintains an acceptable standard.
Teatum Jones recognises its own employees to be its most valuable resource. The health and welfare of all our employees is essential to the success of our business. We’re committed to creating and nurturing a caring and supportive working environment which is conducive to the welfare of all our employees and enables them to develop fully towards their potential. Of which there is tonnes.
We are a small organisation and recognise the demanding nature of the industry and the mental and physical strain this can sometimes have on our team. A stressed and overly stretched team is not enjoyable for anyone. Therefore all members of staff receive above the statutory number of holiday days and in addition, we aim to actively recognise mental health issues that arise within our team and offer advice as and when appropriate, including the need for additional leave and shorter working days.
The company complies with the Working Hours Directive and offers employees the right to opt out of this if they so wish. There is no child or enforced labour within our organisation and all employees are paid at least the National Living Wage. We do not tolerate discrimination, intimidation or harassment and set out to promote equal opportunity and treatment.
5. Slower Approach to Fashion
We have decided to slow down our entire creative development process by choosing to study our collection narratives/themes/subjects for the duration of a whole year. That means we design 4 collections across 2 seasons and we creatively develop these as Part One and Part Two of one annual story. This has enabled us to take back control of the creative process and in turn this approach has logistically helped with the transition of fabrics across seasons. Thus reducing waste as well as slowing down the pace of brand new textile developments, which means that every new textile development is very carefully considered before putting into work.
6. More Human Approach to Fashion
We have made it our mission, where geographically possible, to meet our suppliers and visit their place of work to have first hand accounts of working conditions and to see their sustainable policies, practices with our own eyes. We believe it’s important to nurture these special relationships by taking the time to visit these talented people and deliver a grateful handshake in person. In our experience this kind of care and attention to important relationships gets your fabric delivered a lot quicker than a shouty email in capitals. So far these face to face meetings have taken us on very exciting journeys to far flung parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy and USA. We envisage many more adventures ahead of us.
7. Supplier Code of Conduct
We have created a code of conduct, which we are working towards handing over to every supplier we currently work with to act as a checklist of sustainable practises we would like them to adhere to. If you would like to see a list of our suppliers or suppliers that are part of your made garment please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to share.
Going forward we have created a questionnaire that we now pass over when we start to work with any new suppliers. It helps us to understand their ethos, standards of practise and to make sure they align with the conscious world of Teatum Jones.
8. Work in Progress and Transparency
We hold our hands up and will openly say that Teatum Jones is not yet 100% fully sustainable (is anyone?) and still have some way to go. However, we see this as a work in progress and we are determined to build into our brand key pillars, initiatives and practises that demonstrate our firm belief in creating socially and sustainably conscious fashion. It seems blindingly obvious to us that this approach will reap huge rewards for ourselves as the creators, for the planet, for society, for those making our products and ultimately for you as the consumer. This is an obvious win win... win win win scenario.
Come on our journey, we have so much to learn and create together.