Arthur&Henry - 3 months on
HJ Fantaskis | 22.10.12
For Blog Action Day last week, Greenhouse PR's HJ collaborated with several other bloggers for the #ethicalfashionblogathon. Led by Ceri Heathcote from Style Eyes, and in aid of Naomi House Hospice (each post was sponsored by the brand), the team blogged their way through the day. Greenhouse's contribution was to write about Arthur & Henry (HJ's favourite ethical menswear brand). She caught up with Clare Lissaman to find out how they were getting on - three months after their launch in July.
Three Months On
Since Arthur&Henry arrived earlier this summer, my outlook on the direction of ethical menswear has vastly perked up.
I caught up with Clare Lissaman, co-founder of Arthur&Henry, to see how they were getting on.
It's been an incredibly busy few months for the team, and Clare tells me the response to Arthur&Henry's launch has been fantastic. "We always knew that there were eco-minded men out there who were desperate for something they could wear to work or for smart occasions, but we weren't expecting the customers who were simply looking for a decent shirt. It's been brilliant - and we've already had customers returning to order more shirts."
Arthur&Henry are passionate about organic and Fairtrade cotton. It's a socially and environmentally sustainable option for producing their incredible line of shirts, but it's not without its difficulties. "It's quite a challenge making shirts of this quality in organic and Fairtrade cotton," Clare says, "There's a reason why no-one has done it before!" Rising prices of raw materials and set against an economy in recession, Arthur&Henry are among the first to create a beautiful menswear product that is affordable, and accessible.
Getting hold of the quality of yarn they require ("particularly for Fairtrade cotton", Clare has observed) has been something they're continually working on. "Organic cotton is still a niche fibre, and spinning mills normally have to blend different cottons - but when they're working with organic cotton, the amount of raw materials they've got to blend shrinks considerably, driving up the costs. It is harder, but we believe - and our customers seem to agree - that it is definitely worth it."
If you're interested in the cotton textile industry, and the impacts (both positive and destructive) of organic and conventional cotton, I recommend you check out the Soil Association's Have You Cottoned On Yet? report.
Talking about the future, Arthur&Henry will be launching their winter collection soon, but adds that - as part of their efforts to be a better kind of menswear brand, they'll not adhere to rigid 'seasonal' collections. It adds too much pressure to the factories, and the garment workers are almost always the victims. "So while we will introduce new fabrics and shirts, we're not going to be beholden to a cycle that is good for neither customer nor producer." This, for me, is the kind of game-changing thinking the ethical fashion movement desperately needs.
Arthur&Henry will be appearing in some Christmas fayres, including the Fair Christmas Fayre, and the Festive Feast Indoor Christmas Market in Stoke Newington.
As a special treat for our Ethical Fashion Blogathon followers, use voucher code ETHICALBLOGATHON to receive £15 off their favourite shirt of the collection, the Blue Floral Shirt.
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