Sophie Dunster is the designer behind Gung Ho – an ethically responsible clothing line that wants to get people talking with their beautiful floral clothing & accessories, and embroidered sweatshirts all locally made from 100% organic fabric. Sophie is a London-based designer, raised living a zero carbon lifestyle. Through her work she aims to create a bridge between design and the fundamental environmental issues that lie at the heart of contemporary culture. Returning to LDC for our Exmouth Market store, Sophie will not only be showing her newest collections, but will also host an evening print making experience in-store on 16th May. We sat down with Sophie to find out more about Gung Ho, her inspirations and what she has in store for us at the upcoming LDC store and workshop…
Tell us a little about your brand
Gung Ho is a London-based, ethical brand that’s on a mission to create fashion that means more. We love this little planet, and want to do our bit to help. That’s why each and every garment has a hidden message within the print. A talking point at its heart.
All our prints start with a detailed, hand-drawn illustration of the issue in question – in this case of our current collection, the effects of pesticides and chemicals on British Insects. The collection is produced using organic fabrics or sustainable tencel, and yes, it’s printed & hand-made here in the UK too.
With every purchase we make sure to donate to a charity that works closely with the cause shown in the print. We also provide each customer with a ‘Talking Point’ – a dinky minizine that gives you a few key facts and info on the issue at hand.
That way, the next time someone compliments you on what your wearing, you have a little more to say than just thanks.
Why have you chosen to partner with LDC?
Running a small business is hard so it’s great to be able to group together with other like minded people. It means you have the chance to showcase the brand in places you wouldn’t normally be able to! We also all benefit from each other’s reach and can then make a bigger splash in the industry. LDC has a great sense of community too, all the designers are very friendly and it’s lovely to be able to chat to people who are in a similar position.
What is the ultimate goal for your brand?
I would love Gung Ho to be at the forefront of a movement of brands expressing current issues through design. Not just fashion, everything. There is more to each individual than looking good – you have feelings, opinions and you should embrace that passion (it’s what makes you, you)! The aim is that one day Gung Ho has a shop with a studio space above to do design workshops, drawing classes, talks about current issues, supper clubs, etc – but the first and foremost priority is to make sure it is all good design. Design should always comes first, and that is the most important bit of the movement – it shouldn’t look sustainable at all.
Where do you seek inspiration for your collections?
Current issues – I think it is so important that design communicates what’s going on in the world. Of course it has to be beautiful in the first instance, but people have a lot to say and it’s nice when the things that surround you reflect that. You should be able to not only wear what you love, but what you believe in!
Our next collection is based on Plastic Oceans. As I live on a boat and see a huge amount of plastic pollution in central London every day in the Thames, it’s certainly a cause close to my heart.
Do you have any favourite pieces from your collection?
My favourite print is the bee print that looks like a pretty floral but if you look closer it has the different kinds of plants & gardening tools to help the bees thrive. Out of all the pieces in the collection though, I’m a sweatshirt gal through and through. There is nothing better than throwing on a statement sweatshirt and feeling like you can take on the world whilst being comfortable at the same time!
Can you tell us a little more about what guests can expect from the Gung Ho experience this upcoming LDC store?
We will be running a workshop talking about how design can express current issues and the different ways you can utilise it! I will be running through how to make a lino print and a turning it into a repeat tile design, so everyone will take home their own designs and the printed artworks too. Of course, this isn’t just a workshop its a social, and bubbly will be provided too – it’s great to meet like minded people! Tickets will be available on eventbrite.
Get tickets for Gung Ho’s lino printing workshop here
Check out Gung Ho gung-ho-design.com.com
Or follow her on instagram at @gung_ho_design