Monday, 12 April 2010

Ethical heaven interviews Hetty from Hetty Rose

1. What inspired you to produce ethical shoes?
After an inspiring ethical based project during my studies I felt very strongly about issues beginning to become focused upon in the field of fashion. I believe retailers need to be totally in control of where the products they sell come from, right down to the core materials and how these are made and by whom. The more I found out and the more people I meet in the industry confirmed my decision to create an ethical footwear brand. As a brand we try to encourage traditional methods and feel it is important to promote hand crafted products, made in Britain. We up-cycle vintage kimono fabrics from Japan, vegetable tanned leather, recycled leather and vintage trims & trinkets. All products are hand made by myself in a workshop, which I enjoy immensely.

2. When did you begin trading and how has Hetty Rose progressed since then?
The company was founded in 2007, and I launched the first collection in February. The press have been very kind to us and have enjoyed the collections so far with features in Italian Vogue, InStyle, The Telegraph and Grazia. These publications have helped to show people what we are doing and raising awareness which ultimately has led to the brand being more recognisable. The initial set up of the business was hard work in terms of building the brand and gaining credibility in the fashion field. However I love what I do and was flattered when I was chosen to exhibit at London Fashion Week in my first season, which helped raised the profile of the brand significantly. Exhibitions since have done the same, and we now have shoe parties and events to promote the shoes.

3. Which pieces are you particularly proud of and why and what are your best sellers?
I enjoy collaborating with designers, my favourite has been a ‘Valentine’s’ partnership with Yukiness who creates the most amazing theatrical wigs. We created a window display for Valentine’s Day at Canary Wharf Shopping Centre in London. The window was an inspirational fusion of colour, crystals and handmade love hearts. The Yuki shoe has been the most popular with my clients.

4. What is the most challenging aspect of working in the ethical industry?
It can be difficult for small businesses who hand make their products to survive in a market where people are used to fast fashion. I think people will always want a quick fashion fix, but I hope people will buy things with more of a conscience and interest in where it has come from and how it has been made. It has to be desirable and fashionable, the fact it is ecological/ethically sensitive, should just be a normal factor and it will be. It can be a challenge to source ethical alternatives to the norm, however I make good relationships with all my suppliers who hand craft many of the components I use.

5. Is there anything exciting happening in the near future with Hetty Rose?
Yes the new collection, which will be very exciting!

View the full collection on the Hetty Rose website

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