“We represent you, and you represent us”: Inside the Bradford based fashion company who are rewriting fashion rules
Picture the scene; A conversation about fashion between the event organiser, Barbara Asiimwe and student and fashion writer Megan Slack over an Americano in literal heart of Bradford’s textile industry, the former Wool Exchange building. Asking Barbara, how do your clothes enable an individual to showcase their character as they pass through their everyday life?“Our clothes are inclusive and diverse. You will find almost anything for anyone and everyone. We represent societies, cultures religion and nationalities and know no boundaries.”
The values of Isaro Collection summed up perfectly by Barbara Asiimwe, as she declared: “I am not saying everyone should and must understand what we represent, but if you are a person with values, we have something for you. We represent you, and you represent us”. The time has come to put Bradford back on the fashion map, as Isaro Fashion recognises the talent which has endured beyond the closure of the city’s textile mills.
“As industries left in ’80s, the DNA did not leave Bradford, a Some people continued to make clothes albeit on a small scale in their homes for their children or a small family business around the corner”. Barbara continued: “Those gifts and talents have been passed down the generations who share the same love of making fashion. Thus, there is still a lot of natural talent embedded within our communities here in Bradford and across the counties generally”.
Over these generations, there has become an increasing emphasis on living sustainably, though, when it comes to making ethical fashion choices, it is often hard to know where to start. The answer to this question is simple, only buy clothes which need to be bought when and where it is needed.
To cut your purchases of fast fashion and invest in high-quality garments which will stand the test of time. This idea lays at the core of every piece Isaro Fashion produces, as Barbara continues, “The next uprising of fashion should change approach and make fashion that is needed, how, when, where and why it is needed. This idea is diverse, but it is what we do as a collection of many designers representing quality and community, and sustainability”. Despite the desire for ethical fashion, there is the assumption that buying high-quality produce and dressing sustainably will inevitably be more expensive, however, this is a mindset which Barbara aims to change.
“When you think about it, in some cases it is not that expensive, it is affordable. Most people, myself included, accumulate so many casual clothes and accessories we do not need or use in over a space of a year. Have a few clothes in your wardrobe which you wear and feel great and confident in, it is worth the investment. I can guarantee, for some people buying fast fashion more often, can be more expensive than independent fashion. Not to mention, buying from independent designers will allow you to contribute to the local economy, and you are involved in the making of what you wear. This is what sets Isaro Collections apart from the normal fashion industry”.
In such an environmentally conscious world, living sustainably is becoming an increasing priority for many people in all aspects of their lives, so why should the fashion industry be any different? Expanding on Isaro Collections ethical values, Barbara continued: “More than ever the young generation are increasingly becoming conscious of the environment, they are advocating for a more sustainable world the environment, and you can’t blame them it’s the future. In the same way we encourage people to recycle, we should encourage the buying “need” do you need it and put more thought to it instead of paying this much for this why not do it differently.
We don’t need so many of clothes that we don’t even know we have. We need a few that we usewhen how and where, that represents who we are. With independent fashion you become more organised, responsible, you’re conscious of environment and you are in control of your purchasing power.”
“We want our consumers to take part in the making of what they wear through engagement, communication and consultation this encourages individuality bringing out character and personality and consequently perhaps bring back consumer loyalty that has been replaced by compulsive buying”.
By Megan Slack