Over the last few months we have been working with award winning artist Wolfgang Buttress on an installation for our Soho store on Berwick Street. The sculpture is a multi-sensory experience called Reverie. Using sound, scent and form the intention is to invite contemplation on the importance of sustainable fashion and how we can protect and support pollinators such as the honey bee
Oliver and photographer, Thom Corbishley recently visited Wolfgang in his Nottingham studio to see how the project was progressing and talk to him about the importance of the bee and the challenges that they are facing.
Bees and pollinators play an essential role in food production as they pollinate 30% of the food that we eat. This has been one of the most catastrophic years on record for bee survival in the UK and abroad. More bees died last winter than previous years for reasons known and unknown. Climate change, lack of bio diversity and pesticides all help contribute to the challenges that bees face.
I am working with Oliver Spencer on this temporary sculptural installation as they are moving towards a more sustainable way of creating fashion which is laudable.
Over the last few seasons Oliver Spencer has begun to work towards becoming a more sustainable brand through our approach to business and the textiles we use; increasing the use of organic cottons, ecological wools and linen. Linen is a particular environmental champion as it only needs rainwater to grow, it requires very little chemical input, its durable, grown within the EU and has a beautiful handle & texture. With our factories and textile mills all within Europe, our garments have less to travel before reaching the stores, which helps reduce our carbon footprint as a brand.
However it is not just the choice of fabrics that will help the industry to reach the goal of becoming more environmentally sustainable. The approach to business needs to shift to become more environmentally focused. Outside of the design room we have transitioned all Oliver Spencer locations to renewable energy, offer a repair service to our customers, we removed all unnecessary packaging (folding paper and collar card) and we are aiming to be free of single use plastic by the end of 2019. We hope to continually improve as we progress and be clear with our customers about the changes we make and why they are important. You can read more on the Sustainability section of our website.
There are positive things that we can do as individuals, as a community and as businesses which can make a beneficial impact. We can plant more flowers, mow the lawn less often and don't use pesticides.
Reverie can be seen in the Soho Store, Berwick Street (London) for four weeks from Thursday the 17th of May.