Over the summer, the local outbreak of COVID19 in Leicester highlighted a very uncomfortable truth, the English based clothing supply chain is not as sustainable as we might have hoped. The share price of fast fashion brand Boohoo took a tumble, and outrage was ferocious on social media.
Here in Cumbria, a county regarded as having clean air, breath-taking vistas and majestic mountains, several clothing-related businesses are rejecting fast fashion and concentrating instead on building sustainable brands which have certified supply chains, link to the local environment and are community-driven.
One such brand is Ascendancy Apparel created five years ago by Laurie Crayston. Originally from Frizington in West Cumbria, and now based in Kendal, Laurie aims to provide outdoor adventurers with high-quality, sustainable clothing, which is ethically produced.
As a business model, Ascendancy's route to market is a little unorthodox. Initially buying one unit at a time and hand printing his own designs - something he still does and intends to keep doing, Laurie then felt the need to head overseas and travel. Entrusting the fulfilment of his clothing orders to a printer friend, Laurie decided the way to grow his brand was to grow his Instagram community while he travelled, creating a hub of like-minded adventurers who cared about the environment and living sustainably.
"When I started about five years ago, Instagram was a different beast to what it is now," says Laurie. "There weren't any