In 2008, after a trip to India and witnessing some of the inhumane labour conditions textile workers endure, two young women began the Conscious Designers Coalition to promote eco friendly and free trade designs.
“India just opened my eyes to what was going on. I didn’t want to exploit anyone but I wanted to be in fashion,” says Lucy Tammam, founder of Conscious Designers Coalition and The House of Tammam.
Tammam graduated from St Martins College of Art and Design in 2005 along with Miksani designer Katie Weithtman. Together they formed a coalition to promote eco- friendly designers who engage in free trade practices, use organic material and promote environmentally sound working conditions.
“The fashion industry has notoriously bad practices. But it’s hard to enforce them in countries like India and China where there are still children in slums sewing beads on garments,” says Tammam who uses natural fibres in her designs including organic cotton and recycled materials. All her stitching work is also fair trade.
Tammam says eco friendly fashion in London has started to boom over the last few years but it wasn’t always like this. “In 2005 there was nothing... and there is still a huge gap in the market... but ethical designers are becoming more popular. The idea of a hemp sack comes into their mind as beautiful and that’s something the CDC wants.”
Eco fashion extends far beyond the use of just natural materials, “It’s working with natural resources rather than against them. It’s minimal waste in the way you cut fabrics. It's general business practices; energy efficiency, carbon offsetting. It’s being responsible and thinking about every part of your business,” says Tammam.