As two co-founders, Eileen and I wanted to launch a brand that would empower women and give them confidence. There are plenty of women’s fashion options out there, but we believe clothes should do more than just dress a body. We are providing multifunctional designs that slip perfectly into every woman’s wardrobe. Cutting-edge, quick dry performance fabrics; pieces that drape and feel luxurious next to the skin in materials that remove moisture from clothing at speed so busy women can get on with their day (or night) without worrying about being crushed, hot and sweaty. All our collections are anti-crush, keeping the wearer confident and crease-free day and night.
We also wanted to launch a responsible brand. From the very start we knew we wanted to build a company that we could be proud of, one where there was nothing to hide away. We wanted to be as open and transparent as possible in everything from how we chose our 100% vegetable starch completely biodegradable and compostable bags and why we use Royal Mail, to our thinking on vegan clothes, sustainable washing (it’s a thing – and an important one) and why we expect our garments to be around for a very long time indeed.
The key thing we have learned on our start up journey is that sustainability is not a static creature. With each new fabric created, with each new piece of research, with each new creative attempt at circularity, the ‘how’ of sustainability morphs a bit, making it impossible to be ‘perfect’. So, if we put aside any attempt to be 100% sustainable (impossible anyway since we are creating new collections and creating anything uses energy and materials), we would call sustainable fashion, conscious, transparent and responsible fashion.
Conscious, since careful thought needs to be put into every level of the company and its practices, from packaging materials, working practices, transport, trim…the list is exhaustive and exhausting and there is always more to add to it.
Transparent, since it is much better for a company to say, ‘hands up, we hadn’t thought about that aspect of our chain, thank you for pointing it out and we will now investigate and see how we can improve’, rather than ignore dangerous, unethical and environmentally damaging practices with a view to trying to ‘protect’
Responsible, since we do only have one earth, and many people to share it with, including (hopefully!) many, many future generations who will not be amused to find that whatever the wealth and ingeniousness of their ancestors (we put a man on the moon! we wiped out polio!) they neglected to save the planet.
When we launched back in September 2017, ethical was not at the forefront of consumers’ minds, but it was very much on our minds. Since Covid, the world is rethinking how and what they buy and we feel we are in the right space to provide what women are looking for. With our five-mile radius and constant reviewing of our working practices, we are increasingly being asked to contribute to thoughts on what sustainable means in 2021 when so many brands are jumping on the bandwagon without much thought. Most recently, I was on a panel hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia as part of the UN Climate Change Conference 2021. This is no mean feat for a small brand to be showing how things can (and we believe should) be done. Small can mean agile and adaptable in this ever changing world and we are using this to our advantage.
At Cucumber Clothing we will never claim to be perfect, but we will always be trying to be better. That’s a promise.