At Glasshouse we have always been supporters of likeminded local, independent brands and makers, and at the end of this month we are excited to be teaming up with some of our favourite brands to launch Edition #1 of A Sustainable Department Store. Bringing together consciously made goods from a selection of independent makers under one roof, the Store will be popping up for just one week from 29th May – 4th June on Redchurch Street in the heart of Shoreditch. We at Glasshouse Shop will be stocking our range of natural and organic beauty and lifestyle essentials, alongside clothing, homeware and jewellery from four other East London independent brands; Eesome, Karina Banks, Kana London and Bug Clothing, some of which you may have seen through our Local Loves series or one of our Q&As.
Throughout the week we will be hosting a series of small panels, events and exclusive launches, each thoughtfully designed and unique in content, all of which you can stay up to date with over on the A Sustainable Department Store Instagram.
Behind the pop-up are five very real business women and friends including our very own Olivia Crighton, who are united by their shared philosophies, prioritising natural materials and focusing on timeless, quality goods. We chatted to each of the brands that Glasshouse will be sitting alongside to get a line on their thoughts on sustainable consumerism and why they do what they do.
Selling a curated selection of vintage ceramics and homeware smalls, Eesome provides truly unique pieces for the home whilst putting minimal strain on the world’s resources by reusing and repurposing items that already exist. “A massive problem today is we are producing so much more then we need. It is putting unnecessary strain on the worlds natural resources and it feeds excessive consumerism. Shopping second-hand rather than from the high street allows us to reinvest in an item that’s already been through a life cycle, it’s a circular economy.” Where second-hand shopping can often be associated with low quality, Founder Hana ensures that every Eesome makes a beautiful addition to the home. “People often associate shopping second-hand with musty vintage shops and rummaging through piles of junk. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to shop second-hand and show off the incredible quality and beauty of the pieces we find.”
Each item sold be Eesome has been researched and hand-sourced by Hana from locations across the UK and Europe. “Our sourcing trips always start and end with masses of research. We start by researching areas and markets that will have interesting items, usually based on which areas have a long history of ceramics or design. I will then spend days researching the pieces I have found. People love to know about the items they are buying, and it’s important to me to be able to tell them as much as possible.”
More than just jewellery, Karina’s collections are designed to celebrate the beauty of women in both form and strength. “My work aims to question what it is to be a woman right now and challenges the unobtainable expectations of beauty that’s rife in our culture. Each piece is ‘imperfectly’ hand-made and varies in form; my own personal celebration of non-conformity. It was important to me at the time I designed the collection to regain some control over my womanhood”
Karina lovingly hand crafts her jewellery in her Seven Sisters studio and whilst there is more to be done, this small-scale production and local approach creates much less environmental output than large or mass-produced brands. Overall, Karina is seeing a positive change in shopping habits when it comes to buying from small businesses like hers. “Increasingly, customers want to invest in one-off pieces or support small local designers like ourselves. Sadly, many people will buy knock-off designs to save themselves a few pounds but on the whole I think our customers are seeing the sacrifices we’ve made to learn our craft and build our business up from the ground. Hopefully it means more people might think twice about where they spend their money and support the little guy again instead.”
One of our favourite ceramicists, Ana of KANA London is a regular interviewee at Glasshouse and we even use bespoke KANA mugs in our Salon. Whilst she is often known for her beautiful hand thrown tableware series, we are excited to see the new collection of small figurine sculptures that Ana is going to be launching exclusively at the pop-up. “I’ve been working on this all the way along but never really put it out there. Recently however there have been more and more requests coming through for this kind of work. So I decided to create a collection, that to me is what KANA truly is.”
When it comes to sustainability, Ana has been supporting artisan crafts and local business since she launched KANA in 2012, with a belief in investing in high quality, handmade items instead of contributing to the throw-away society we live in. “I believe that if you buy from the makers, you’re already buying more consciously and when you’re buying things that were made with love and were designed to be kept forever, you’re naturally going to hold onto them and cherish them longer.”
Another Glasshouse regular, we have been worked with Amy of Bug Clothing on numerous occasions and the brand has been sustainability focused since the get-go. Using designer factory waste, Amy makes each and every piece by hand on a small production scale. “I really love to make and having a small brand means I can do the designing, the pattern cutting and the sewing. I didn’t consciously start a brand that was going to be considered sustainable, but I’ve never been a big consumer and I’ve always been conscious of not being wasteful”
Although sustainability is becoming normalised across the board, Amy hopes that through transparent messaging we can bring eco-friendly and ethical items to more people. “Buying consciously shouldn’t be a luxury. I hate the thought of being considered an ‘expensive’ brand and try to be transparent with every part of my business. I think the problem is ultimately consumerism and the sheer amount we’re all accustomed to consuming, but even the big high street brands who produce ‘sustainable’ collections makes the conversation more every day which is important!”
You can visit A Sustainable Department Store from 29th May – 4th June at 81 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ to shop from each of these brands and from Glasshouse.
To stay up to date with announcements and events from A Sustainable Department Store you can follow their Instagram here.