AUTONOMOUS – Meaning, having the freedom to act independently.
The Autonomous Collections is a directional young brand which takes an ethical approach to fabrication and design. We are womenswear, but we do have some statement pieces which are unisex. Our process is to design first, then find ways to create each step ethically. Our ethos is to appeal to a confident, young, old and young in spirit audience in order to promote ethics in production and consumption.
It is Our Mission to be as ethical as possible and to inspire other brands to follow.
Our focus is to use as many natural/organic fibers as possible with in the design. But it really does depend on our story behind the collections. It may be that we have created one off or limited pieces within the collection that have the use of up-cycling or found fabrics in them. We also have some fabrics from a factory in Spain that use the cabbage from the factory floor. After the garments have been cut they re-spin the fibers into new fabrics (therefore we are unsure of the exact fiber content). Some of our acrylic yarns used in the weaving process are from the Woman’s Institute. The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI celebrated its centenary in 2015 and currently has almost 220,000 members in approximately 6,300 WIs.
For individuals, you can ask questions when you purchase something. ‘Where are the clothes made’? ‘Who made them’? It is a knock on effect. If we continue to ask these questions, it will make retail staff ask the questions and so forth the education getting wider and higher. If you buy from companies who don’t support these rights, you are just contributing and supporting these vulnerable communities.
For designers, it is our job to be aware about our suppliers and if you can, visit the premises where the clothes, fabrics are made. Or if you can’t get there, research and ask questions to see if other companies have. If you care, they will care.