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5 reasons why you need ethical tailoring in your life

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Georgina Wilson-Powell

5 July 2017

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Think of ethical tailoring as the organic end of the food industry. It is the free range choice compared to fast fashion’s battery farm. The people involved are paid properly, treated fairly and the result is well-made clothing which lasts season after season.

Invest in a one off piece you’ll wear again and again

More and more of us are ditching our fast fashion fixes. The thought of bulk buying at Primark now leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Gone is the thrill of a bargain haul. Knowing your jacket truly is the only one or has been made especially for you, is the kind of thrill that doesn’t dampen over time. And the longer you wear something, the more attached to it you’ll be.

“If you’re involved in the process it becomes something special and you treat it better. You build memories into it,” explains Imogen Johnson-Gilbert, founder of Gillian June.

Maybe it’s time to get something Made-to-Measure? Men have known for centuries that a tailor-made jacket makes them look better. Now it’s women’s turn to get in on the act. A Made-to-Measure jacket might take as many as 15 measurements and two fittings to ensure it fits, but it will fit you like a glove. Not an average size 12 or the model in the window, but you.

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This casual draped jacket has a lot going on with silk, wool boucle and loose weave wool all creating something totally unique. 




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Breton stripes meet Indian charm in this long jacket made from cotton.


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This casual draped jacket has a lot going on with silk, wool boucle and loose weave wool all creating something totally unique. 




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Breton stripes meet Indian charm in this long jacket made from cotton.


Use women's tailoring to indulge your creative side

When it comes to women’s tailoring, one of the delights of having something bespoke is being able to pick and choose. You get to decide the overall shape, colour and the lining pattern. Then there’s the cuffs, the buttons, the trims - the combinations are endless. Put them together like building blocks and hey presto, you’ve got something totally yours.

At Gillian June you can bring in any material, fastenings and so on which you already have. Perhaps you’ve got a childhood dress you’d like incorporated into something new or an item that has a lot of memories already. The beauty of upcycling is that anything can be made into something.

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Fabrics are bought from vintage stores, charity shops and UK companies at Gillian June

Think quality over quantity

Less is more nowadays. The key to the perfect wardrobe is pieces that work harder for longer. While ethical tailoring comes with a heftier price tag than the high street, think about cost per wears instead.

We understand that our Fairtrade coffee and organic chicken costs more because each step of the supply chain is treated and paid well, so isn’t it about time we started paying fairly for fashion? Especially when it makes you look this good.

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It takes 20-25 hours to make a bespoke women's tailored jacket

Stop textile waste ending up in landfill

It’s reckoned that this year British people alone will throw away 235 million bits of clothing, which end up doing nothing but clogging up landfills. Stop adding to that by buying clothes that are made from upcycled or vintage materials. Gillian June repurposes fabrics from all kinds of sources, minimising the need for new cloth to be produced. Plus you’re much less likely to ditch something that’s been tailored for you.

“I buy a lot of vintage fabric and scour charity shops to find beautiful prints and trimming, I’m always on the lookout for a good bit of fabric,” says Johnson-Gilbert. “A lot of our wool comes from Huddersfield and I try to support local businesses as much as I can.”

Gillian June has also got its own textile waste down to under 1%, by using small bits of cloth for trims and cuffs, making baby clothes out of remnants and even using the tiny scraps, little more than lint, as stuffing for tailor’s hams and pressing pads.

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All of Gillian June's tailors were trained on Savile Row

Support workers who are fairly paid

Buying something that has been ethically made means you’ve paid a properly skilled worker fairly. Each tailored women’s jacket takes between 20-25 hours of work at Gillian June and owner Johnson-Gilbert, pays her freelance Savile Row trained tailors the same as if she’d been doing the work. 

“To Gillian June, ethical means that people are respected and paid properly at every stage of our production process. I think about myself in each position and whether I’d want to swap to do that job, under those conditions,” she explains. “I’m looking into working with some tailors in India and I will make sure the conditions are as good as they are here. They’re doing the same job so they should be treated the same way.”

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Gillian June

Gillian June creates one of a kind tailored jackets for the discerning woman. The handcrafted bohemian jackets are grouped into two collections per year and there’s also a Made-to-Measure women’s tailoring service available in London.

Find out more about Gillian June

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