Updated: Apr 22
We got to know Harriet, the founder of Saywood, a local fashion brand that focuses on eco-conscious high-quality pieces that stand the test of time.
Who are you and how do you like your tea?
I’m Harriet and I am the founder of Saywood, a responsible and ethical slow fashion brand that I launched in October 2020 from my spare room.
I like a strong brew with milk, golden in colour. I like a cup of tea in the morning, and then one in the early afternoon at the weekend, or evening on a weekday - ideally with a biscuit or two.
How did you get started with Saywood?
Saywood is something I have been working on for the past four years. Working slowly to create the shirt blocks (‘blocks’ are the starting pattern you can turn into anything else), with a great fit, so I always had a good base to work from. The story has been developing over time, but it has been something I’ve wanted to do since I finished my fashion degree.
When lockdown happened, I just found I had so much more time; I had a weekday job for a brand, but not commuting just gave me the space and time I needed to finish pulling it all together and get it off the ground. The start of lockdown was perfectly timed with me literally having no more light prep work to do. My next step was to start to take action - the labels, the fabric orders, designing the collection, finalising patterns and details, and actually getting the samples made.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
My personal style is fun and colourful. I love finding unique pieces that are versatile, styles that feel open and you can wear back with anything in your wardrobe. Dress them up or down, I wear the same clothes to work that I do on the weekend, sometimes it is just a matter of the shoes you pick.
What are your future goals for Saywood?
Right now I am focusing on getting the brand out there, making it known to people. But I have so many ideas of where I want to take it. I started out with a collection of shirts, I’d like to expand on this and start to add new product categories. I want to create a social aspect around the brand - being social is part of life, but it’s also part of our wardrobes. We wear our clothes to go out in, to say something about ourselves. I’d like to do workshops, collaborations; there are so many places you can take a brand, when you start you are focused on just displaying what you can, but the future holds a lot of excitement.
Slow fashion is a relatively new term in the history of fashion, can you tell us a bit more about it?
It is a new term, but in the context of fashion history, it is perhaps one of the older tricks in the book. Really fast fashion is one of the newer terms and phenomena, but it has taken over the way fashion is too fast for anything to keep up.
Where fast fashion is about churning out the latest trends in such massive volumes and unethically cheap prices, to be worn for only the next couple of months before you are persuaded to buy the newer trend, slow fashion is quite the opposite. Slow fashion is about small productions, design and make with care, effort and detail behind it. It is about making things last a long time, a lifetime, about pieces being timeless.
Just because something is timeless, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, it is just not about being the latest trend for trend's sake. It is a way to consider clothing and become more conscious about what you add to your wardrobe edit.
Why is slow fashion important to you, and why is it important today?
To me, slow fashion is important because it’s about learning to treasure something. To love a piece of clothing for what it is, and not for simply consuming and chucking once we are done with it. It feels quite sorrowful that we could consider clothing in such a way. Each garment has a story, and an awful lot goes into making a garment. Not only are we using materials and resources that originate from our planet, but there are many people involved in making just one item of clothing, from the farmers, to the weavers, the dyers and the garment makers, the finishers and the pressers - and that’s all before it gets packaged and sold.
It is important that we start to change our mindsets about the way we consume. Today we consume so much more than we did back in the 50s for example, but each item individually costs much less, yet over the year, in the amount that we buy, we spend far more than we ever used to. Our planet cannot sustain this. If we took more time to consider what we buy, saved a bit longer and invested, we can have something so much more special that will last us, and that we will love, and we will stop taking more than the planet can cope with us taking, and the garment workers that make our clothes can be paid a fair and liveable wage.
With slow fashion it's very important to look after your clothes, can you give us a few tips?
It is so important to look after your clothes. The better you look after them, the longer they will last. Air your clothes by a window instead of washing them after every wear. Spot clean them with warm soapy water if you have a marker rather than washing the whole garment and using energy from the machine, and when you do wash them do it on a cool wash.
I have lots of tips about repairing, caring for your clothes, and putting them away safely for the season if you won’t be wearing them - take a look at the Saywood journal;
What's your personal saying? And what does it inspire?
I think I want you in my life, always. This is at the heart of the Saywood brand. It is there to inspire loving your clothes, considering what you are buying, and intending to love that purchase for a long long time, to give it a long life, and to care for it, always.
This was Behind the Brand With Harriet from Saywood
Check out Saywood Studio: https://saywoodstudio.co.uk/
Plus her Instagram: @saywood.studio
Be on the lookout for more behind the brand posts coming soon!