The Conscious Edit brand spotlight - KEZIAH
Keziah is a sustainable women's clothing brand based in Belfast.
Keziah's Founder and Designer, Florence Hughes-Finney, answers below some questions on her brand's inspiration, advice on sustainable fashion and much more.
What inspired you to create a sustainable fashion brand?
I've always made my own clothing and when starting my own brand it was not even a question as to whether it would be sustainable or not; it was just a given. From a young age I have loved the challenge of sourcing and working with waste materials that otherwise would go to landfill. I always thought, why would you buy virgin material when we have an abundance of material everywhere waiting to be thrown away? I also have a great interest in the concept of designing clothes, not just from sustainable materials, but engineering them to last longer and have a desirable versatility about them.
What are your favourite ways to incorporate sustainable and ethical practices in the day-to-day of the brand?
When making new pieces in the studio I am always striving to find the most waste free material option to create garments with. My favourite materials are always vintage pieces found in markets and thrift shops as they are unique and give something special a new lease of life. Unfortunately, this is a very time consuming and not always easy process so when I'm not at markets I'm searching for new and interesting materials being discarded from large scale brands and factories.
What are your predictions for the future of sustainable fashion?
More and more scientific research is being carried out to develop new sustainable materials like recycled polyester from plastic bottles and remade cotton and even biodegradable clothing. I think there is a growing interest and demand for this and think these options will become broader and more varied as the research develops and hopefully will turn into a more circular format of production for fashion.
Can you tell us something about your favourite item?
This season we have brought out our biggest and most exciting dress to date, the Nina dress (seen in the picture on the left). She has three skirts made from over 36 panels and has a striking silhouette. I particularly love the Nina dress because I think she encapsulates the playfulness and pure extravagance we can have with clothing. She is uncompromising and brings me so much joy to wear, something to cherish for special days and memorable moments.
What inspires you to do good through your brand?
I grew up in the countryside and have always had a deep love of nature. Whenever I moved to large cities I would always fill my flat with dozens of tropical plants to try and bring a bit of green back into my day to day. The care and protection of our natural world is always on my mind so naturally follows through into my work. Also inspiring others to do good through how they buy and preserve clothing is really important to me. I try to teach my audience about repairing and restyling their current wardrobe as much as I can and helping everyone preserve their clothes for the longest life possible.
What can customers expect from your brand in terms of quality, materials, involvement in current sustainability/ethical issues?
When sourcing materials I have a strict criteria: they must be second hand or deadstock, natural material where possible and high quality. All products at Keziah are made in limited runs due to this and all pieces are made to order so there is as little waste as possible. All pieces are handmade by me in the UK and I regularly share my process so the behind the scenes is as transparent as possible. When receiving a Keziah piece you can expect high quality construction, sustainable materials and made right here in the UK.
Finally, what’s your best advice for being more sustainable and responsible in everyday life?
When buying new clothing, think very carefully about what you buy. Check that it is well made and will not fall apart in a year or two. Think about how many different ways you can restyle/rewear the piece. Is it versatile? Could you use it in many different scenarios? These are all really important considerations for making sure our clothes live a long life and if we keep clothes for longer this will make a huge difference to landfill waste and overconsumption. Clothes used to be made to last you a lifetime.
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