Here is what Rob Williams CFO told us.
1) Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today! Please do tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
My name is Rob Williams and I'm a CFO here at Hawthorn, Hawthorn is a clothing manufacturer based in the City of London. We are based in the UK but have international factories, This allows us to offer competitive pricing whilst ensuring the quality of product we create is high. Our speciality is producing for start ups and SMEs within the fashion industry. With that being said however we do produce for a range of clients – including the manufacture of uniforms for corporate clients.
2) If you're a manufacturer who works with a lot of start ups, are they your average customer? Does your average customer have a profile?
Yes, our average customers are owners of small clothing brands, however it's hard to go in to the “profile” of our average customer since they are all so individual. Although some of the brands we work with have similar themes, no two are anywhere near the same and that's one of the things we love about what we do. We can be working with a new street wear brand one minute, and a high end tailoring brand the next.
3) You describe yourself as a “leading clothing manufacturer”. Do you have any new initiatives which are pushing manufacturing forward?
At the moment we are working a lot to push the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry as it's something we believe is under publicised and not considered by enough small brands entering the market. We have recently added a number of new, sustainable fabrics to our capabilities with the view to make eco friendly fabrics more accessible for those brands who are new to the industry. With the addition of organic cotton, bamboo and hemp fabrics we have allowed our customers to start producing using sustainable fabrics whereas before they would have been limited in their choice.
4) Sustainability is something that we hear about a lot, but please do tell us a little more about the importance of eco friendly practices in the fashion industry.
The fashion industry is actually the second most polluting industry in the world, second to the oil industry. The notion of sustainable clothing is one which aims to change that, mostly by adjusting the way in which fabrics used in the production of clothing are produced. Something which most people don't realise is that the most common fabric used in clothing production, Cotton, is traditionally produced in a highly polluting way, using pesticides and chemicals to yield the maximum crops from a harvest. We have recently put together a blog on the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry which can be found here.
5) Most consumers probably wouldn't be too worried about sustainability in clothing. Why should they care about it?
As it currently stands, sustainable clothing is beginning to increase in popularity due to the increased publicity it is getting from bloggers and in the fashion media. However, one of the things which people don't usually realise is that eco friendly fabrics are usually of a higher quality than their traditionally produced equivalents. For example, due to the lack of pesticides and chemicals used in the production of organic cotton, the fabric is more durable and better value for money because the garments last longer.
6) How can we make sure that sustainability becomes a staple in fashion manufacturing for the future?
By ensuring that more small and emerging brands have access to sustainable methods of production, we can begin to start making a difference to the industry from the ground up. Although some of the bigger, high street brands are starting to introduce sustainable ranges to their collections, it is also important to promote sustainability via smaller brands who make up a huge proportion of the brands in the industry. It is important that manufacturers like ourselves invest in to eco friendly practices as we are at the forefront of the industry.
7) The fashion industry is ever evolving - where do you see the fashion industry in 5 years?
Aside from the inevitable changes with regards to sustainability in the fashion industry, something which we can see developing more is the way in which consumers can see their products they may be looking to buy online. A lot of large brands and distributors are trying to find the “next big thing” in ecommerce and something which we can see becoming that is the use of augmented reality to actually view items. With smartphones playing a massive role in our lives, there are some crude apps which allow you to see how items would look on you, and these are only likely to get more functional with time.