Mini Stitches are our first Pirouette One to Watch winners in the fashion category. A part from producing a wonderful clothing line they are in fact a social enterprise kidswear label with strong ethical roots. We both found their enthusiasm and commitment to what they are attempting to achieve both infectious and inspiring.
The collection is made from start to finish in East London, and provides local long-term unemployed women with support towards employment. It is great to see a new label that not only has strong ethical and social credentials but is also looking to produce design led and wearable pieces. This is an exciting brand with ambitious goals.
To explain Mini Stitches is part of the community charity Stitches in Time based in East London. They have been running projects now for over 20 years that focus on education and community well being through art and education. Mini stitches is their children’s fashion label born from Fabric Works – a key project of Stitches in Time – the social enterprise arm that supplies ethical professional manufacturing services for designers and companies, including sampling or small label production runs. Along with this they also provide textile training and development programmes for local unemployed women. The training scheme is funded for 3 years after which how do these skilled ladies enter the workplace? Mini Stitches could be their answer…
We find out what Paul Garayo, Director of Projects & Partnerships and Katie Adkins, Director of Enterprise & Outreach at Stitches in Time think.
We are tremendously excited that our FabricWorks social enterprise is going from strength to strength, and now resulting in paid positions being made for the Mini Stitches kidswear brand. The training programme support and enterprise opportunities have grown organically and importantly been driven by our community’s needs, mirroring a person-centred approach that has embodied our charity’s work for the last 20 years.
Paul Garayo, Director of Projects & Partnerships
The sheer dedication of the women involved has resulted in the growing success of Mini Stitches. As trends change, and ‘ethical’ fashion and community arts go through cycles of popularity, our charity has proven that by providing space for people to meet and create has an invaluable, timeless need.
Katie Adkins, Director of Enterprise & Outreach
What’s been happening since their first trade show
- The brand new label had confirmed enough orders to go into their first production run.
- From the orders they have been able to create paid positions for production
- Clothing giant Monsoon are kindly funding the grading process for production plus Mini Stitches own stock run to sell in their on-line store.
- Tutor and designer Kelly Shaw has been awarded the Winston Churchill fellowship grant allowing her to travel to visit a womens co-op in India and to L.A to visits the HQ of ethical fashion label Toms. A kill and experience enriching journey that she will share the ladies of Mini Stitches.
What’s in the future for Mini Stitches
Short term – introduction of unisex pieces and to adopt increasingly sustainable processes by exploring additional sustainable materials and designs.
Long term – To become a leader in producing responsibly made fashion in the UK. To increase the number of women we support into long-term employment and to create an internationally recognized, socially-minded brand.
Kelly Shaw – Tutor & Designer
Modern silhouettes with playful spots and nautical stripes in cool navy, rose and oatmeal tones. Ditching the established “fashion season”, their range can be worn come rain or shine… and it’s pretty cute !