Brand Focus: Been London
We are delighted to have BEEN London's beautiful handbags now in store. Not only are the bags super stylish and fantastic quality, but we believe the brand is setting the precedent for how the fashion industry should look as we face the climate catastrophe.
BEEN London are passionate about ensuring they have a real impact on the fashion industry by proving waste can become beautiful, using what is normally discarded to make things people want to use every day.
Their all-female team is based a stone's throw away from our store in East London, and they name each of their bags after special places in the area.
Question the Status Quo
The brand continuously questions the traditional processes of the fashion industry, working to ensure they are making products with the smallest possible environmental footprint without creating more waste; that they can make beautiful, affordable things that last; that they employ people fairly, and use the most environmentally friendly methods to ship products to customers.
The key ethos of the the brand is a commitment to the use of materials that would otherwise end up in landfill, and they use a range of innovative materials including:
Traditionally the leather process is extremely damaging to the planet, from the rearing of cattle to the chemicals used within the tanning processes. BEEN London only use leather offcuts and trimmings which would otherwise have gone to landfill.
This is sourced from ghost fishing nets in the sea and discarded carpets. The nylon is sorted, purified, cleaned and woven into textiles, keeping nylon out of landfill and the sea.
Cotton is the most common non-food crop in the world, demanding large amounts of water to grow often with the excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides which has disastrous consequences for the soil. It has also been linked to modern day slavery in many countries. The brand only uses recycled cotton which is sorted by colour and mechanically shredded before being spun into yarns and rewoven.
Apple and Pineapple Leather
Apple and pineapple leather are both by-products of manufacturing industries. Apple leather is sourced from apple cores which are ground, laid down on large canvas sheets and dried to create sheets of fabric. Pineapple leather is made from the leaves of the pineapple fruit. The fibres are extracted, cleaned and purified and this is then mixed with a corn-based solution and put through a mechanical process to create a non-woven mesh.
We think this bit is particularly cool - BEEN London source felt from old staff uniforms from KLM air staff and Ikea uniforms, which are shredded into a fine fibre and then mixed with recycled PET from plastic bottles and needled into polyester core. This wonderfully soft fabric is used for lining laptop bags.
People and Planet
The brand use the last remaining bag maker in East London to make their beautiful products. This provides jobs for skilled makers locally and significantly reduces their carbon footprint.
The collections are not trend led, making their innovative and timeless styles relevant for many years. Not only does the brand set out to create future-proof styles, but they have also committed to planting an entire forest in Peru - not simply to mitigate their carbon footprint but also to plant trees in places where it is needed most. This includes finding a balance of planting trees throughout the Amazon Rainforest without severely affecting people’s livelihoods.