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Behind the brand..Edward Mongzar

We sat down with talented Edward Mongzar to talk about his favourite natural materials and how to use it.  

What is your favourite natural material?
Definitely silk, all of our pieces are made in silk. It’s just such a soft and gentle fabric for the skin and I love the way it falls. It’s the perfect soft texture to compliment our hand marbling. It is also much better for the environment than other natural fabrics like cotton which are very water intensive and require the use of pesticides to grow.

How did you come across it and why did you decide to start using it?
Being of Indian origin, silk and cotton are both things that are known to us and that are abundant around us as we are growing up. For someone who believes in reducing waste and who has lived their life trying to make a difference, cotton seemed to have too many down sides for me personally as even organic cotton takes up so much land and water to grow and in India, we often hear tales of how badly that cotton farmers are treated and how much they struggle.

For these reasons silk seemed, on balance, the better option. I know silk isn’t perfect but I don’t believe any fabric truly is and silk to me has the most positives with the least down sides of all the natural fabrics.

How is the process for a dress start idea to finished product?
Usually we start with our hand marbling process, we will sample 30 to 40 different colours and patterns and then once we have selected what we think will work best, I begin my designing process. I sit down from that point and design the collection; my main focus is on creating classic silhouettes and bringing them to life using subtle and small details.

What has been challenging so far?
Most of our challenges are the same as any other brands really. However, one problem we have had being a sustainable brand that also wholesales is trying to work out where we fit in the fashion calendar. With so many buyers still working to the calendar of seasons, it’s difficult for us as we are making efforts to become seasonless this year but we are trying to find an organic way to continue selling to our boutique partners as well. Sometimes it can feel like you are one step ahead and waiting for the rest of the industry to catch up.

What 5 tips do you have to live a more sustainable life?
For me, sustainability plays a part in absolutely everything that I do. Sustainability to me is about the way we treat one another and also the environment. There are so many aspects of sustainability but the truthful answer is, to me sustainability is core to everything we do and should be part of every action we take.

1) If you are just starting to think about living a more sustainable life, try to get the best use out of everything you already have. Before you even look to buy new, sustainable products, try to get the most uses out of the things that you already own. It’s cliché but true that the most sustainable clothing (or anything else) is that which you already own.

2) When you have to buy, buy quality over quantity or price. It can be tempting to buy the cheaper option, but the truth is, particularly with fashion, when you look at price per wear or price per use for other items, the well made, more costly items are much better. A badly made dress might only cost £20 but you’ll probably only be able to wear it a handful of times, whereas the well made but more expensive dress will last much longer. 

3) Cut food waste. Food waste is a really easy thing to cut down on when you plan properly. In our house, we have 2 home cooked meals a day and we waste next to nothing. We make sure we buy ingredients we will use again and again, not only for one dish and then waste the rest. Planning here helps, when you plan what to eat throughout the week it is much easier to shop efficiently and cut waste. When we waste food, it’s not only that the food itself is going to waste, but it means that all of the environmental effects of bringing the food to your home have also been for nothing. So by cutting food waste you can avoid contributing to environmental damage un-necessarily.

4) Next time you are feeling a bit chilly, instead of cranking the heating up, throw on a nice sustainable jumper you have bought! Reducing your heating use and using your heating more efficiently is one of the easiest ways to bring down your carbon footprint. Only use your heating if necessary, if you are just a little cold, put on some extra layers instead. If you’re not using certain rooms then turn off the radiators in those rooms to reduce the energy used or instead of turning your heating up high, turn it up only a couple of degrees.

5) Cut your use of electricity – if your phone still had 60% battery, don’t charge it yet & don’t leave it charging overnight. If you leave a room, make sure to turn the light off. There are lots of activities than we can also swap to reduce our use of electricity; for example, if you go training at the gym often and like the running machine, swap your machine for a run in the park. Not only are you reducing your use of electricity, but you also get to enjoy nature and have some peaceful, quiet thinking time. There are so many small and easy ways to help reduce the energy we use and reduce our carbon footprint.

See the collection here

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