I have always had a bit of an obsession with smocks. It may stem from watching The Heroes of Telemark as a toddler, or from hearing stories of my mum’s skiing adventures in Norway. I was inspired by the photographs of her looking so stylish in her waxed cotton smock, teamed with matching bobble hat and pulled up socks, and I kind of wished for a bit of that timeless elegance to return; although I’m not sure that I would be able to pull off the socks look!
I also had a strong desire to create a weather proof outer garment that was not made of plastic. The thought that all the outdoor gear that we buy these days will remain on the planet for hundreds of years to come is quite an alarming one, and I wanted to make something that would last for as long as it was useful, but not still be here in 800 years time. If you take a look back in time, before plastic was invented, our ancestors worked in harmony with the earth, using natural materials that would go back to nature when they eventually came to the end of their useful life. For me, the endless glut of clothing made from plastic-based fibres is something that is completely unsustainable and I would like to be part of a movement away from that. I have always favoured natural fibres because of their superior intrinsic properties. Breathability, insulation, water repellence; these are all things that nature does incredibly well. And whilst I admire all the incredible work that has been done to try and emulate nature using manmade fibres, I still hold that we should be moving away from mass production of non-degradable products and looking to make clothing as it is required, using materials that will eventually return to mother nature in a non-harmful way.
I use sustainably sourced organic cotton, that is dyed, woven and waxed in Dundee using methods that have been specifically developed to have a low impact on the environment.
And I make each smock to order in my Lake District studio. This way I can keep wastage to a minimum and only produce garments that are required and will be worn and cherished, and perhaps even handed down through generations.