Designer Ellen Brookes grew tired of throw-away fashion, after nearly 20 years working for ‘the high street’ Britain became so well known for. SIDELINE was literally that, a sideline to her main job until it wasn’t any longer, ‘I decided to create a collection that had longevity by not being trend-led and faddy, also in the quality of manufacture. Basically, to make clothes that would be worn and returned to for years to come’, she explains.
‘I think about the customer and her lifestyle when I am designing to create pieces that will be worn over and over again. It makes me happy when I see people wearing items from the first ever SIDELINE collection, as it was always the intent of the brand.’ Working with a small factory in Istanbul specialising in making for independent brands, SIDELINE is proof that it’s never too late to do great (small) things.
Where are you based?
My family and working life is based in a small town called Lewes, nestled in the South Downs national park. My studio is in an old converted brewery, a space for lots of creative businesses and artists. I guess living here has brought a slower pace of life and that has also influenced the collection.
I love the countryside that surrounds where I live and spend as much time as possible out in the wild. This doesn’t directly inspire the design of the garments but it’s where I have all my ideas.
Tell us more about the production side of things…
I work with a small number of manufacturers, all of whom respect small independent brands and the importance of fair working conditions and wages for all. I believe the core of sustainability for fashion is making clothes that last, through design, make and fabric. I choose good quality, robust fabrics that use natural fibres – this is always the base of the collection.
We’re also constantly refining all aspects of the business to increase sustainability in other ways. From minimising water use in the manufacturing process, to eliminating single-use plastics from all our packaging. It’s a continuous process and one that is at the forefront of our business.
What’s coming up?
I have an ongoing collaborative relationship with crafts people Eleanor Goulding and Russ Denman of Denman Gould and we have a line of beautiful handmade wooden earrings launching very soon.
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