World Environment Day: Isabel Manns

Q&A with Founder, Isabel Manns 

Tell us about your role and business?  

I am the Founder and Creative Director of contemporary British womenswear brand Isabel Manns. We design high quality reversible clothing that is all sustainably made in London and which features digital prints designed by me.   

Tell us about your sustainability and ethical practices?  

Sustainability is at the core of our business and is why we produce in London as we want to keep our air miles to a minimum. We are also very proud to support the British manufacturing industry and so we have built up a strong, personal relationship with our ateliers who contribute to the high-quality garments that we make.   

Reversible clothing means that you have two items in one. This gives versatility as you can wear your item from the day into the evening, simply by reversing it. Our reversible items mean you buy less and contribute less to landfill, as we do not believe in “throw away fashion.”   

We work with sustainably conscious seamstresses in London who ensure our fabric is cut economically to minimise waste. Our prints and pattern pieces are also designed in such a way that the fabric waste is kept to a minimum.  

Any leftover fabric is then used to make headbands and scarfs. We also use sustainable fabrics whenever possible, such as a lovely silk bamboo fabric and a recycled Italian polyester.   

What does this year’s World Environment Day theme, ‘Generation Restoration’, mean to you?  

I think it is a great theme because it is encouraging the generations to come together and be more sustainable. We are now responsible to make a change.  

What steps are you taking to minimise your impact on the environment?  

We produce reversible clothing so that you can wear your items twice as often, we try to keep our air miles to a minimum, we use sustainable fabrics when possible and use sustainable packaging, and when we have waste fabric, we use it to create accessories.   

What do you think are the main challenges for sustainability right now?  

Sustainable fabrics can be expensive so this can be hard for some fashion brands. Producing abroad is also less expensive than producing in Britain, however producing overseas means that you are increasing your air miles which is not sustainable.   

People are becoming much more aware of their impact on the environment, which is great, but unless sustainable fabrics and production can become more affordable it is hard for fashion brands to produce all their clothing sustainably, as customers do not necessarily want to spend more.  

What are you doing for World Environment Day?  

We will be sharing why it is important to be more sustainable, promoting how we are sustainable and what you as a customer can do to become more sustainable.    

Why does sustainability motivate you?  

The fashion industry is one of the most unsustainable industries, so I wanted to make sure that my brand is contributing to make a difference.   

Who inspires you to be more sustainable?  

Stella McCartney was one of the first sustainable fashion brands, so she has always been inspiring to me. Reformation and Everlane are also incredible, as I love the way they are so transparent about how they are sustainable and who produces their products.   


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