Established in 2015, independent womenswear brand Sarvin has been an early entrant to the sustainable fashion and occasionwear sector in the UK. Specialising in luxury occasionwear, Sarvin Clark - the head designer - is inspired by her Persian heritage and influenced by British design. Sarvin's main pillar is to encourage people to buy less and invest more in timeless pieces, thus banishing fast-fashion ideologies. Below, we meet the designer and entrepreneur to find out more about her story.
Can you introduce the Sarvin brand and give a brief background?
I launched in 2015 when I started sketching dress designs as a hobby whilst working a full-time job. I always admired luxury and high-end fashion and started working for myself, bringing my designs to life and posting images of myself in my creations on social media. I started to gain a small but loyal customer base which allowed me to launch the brand. As a result, Sarvin has been continuously growing. We are a sustainable label focusing on delivering pieces made from high-quality fabrics, with distinct attention to details whilst seeking ethical social and environmental solutions.
How do your Persian background and British lifestyle influence your design?
I design garments that have an element of Eastern culture with a twist of classic western aesthetics. Persian culture is incredibly rich - the colours, patterns, architecture and textiles... all inspire my designs. With every single one of my collections, I aim to bridge aspects of different cultures together and demonstrate versatility.
Why was sustainability important to you?
It's hard to ignore the impact of the textile and fashion industry on the environment as well as the consequences of mass production. As a luxury brand owner and designer, I strongly believe that modern luxury fashion should be socially and environmentally responsible. Small brands such as Sarvin need to lead when it comes to finding solutions to global problems, which is why we are serious about considering where our fabrics and materials come from and who makes them. We ensure our customers that we deliver highly ethically sustainable garments and educate them on the sustainable options they have in order to make responsible purchasing decisions.
What sustainable methods are you adopting?
There are several ways that we are taking responsibility as a brand: We consider where our collections are made. The majority of our collections are designed and produced by a close-knit team. We see our pieces through from design to distribution from our Manchester-based studio. We reduce carbon emissions emitted from heavy shipping from overseas and long distances;
We support artisans and local craft makers. Referring back to my Persian roots, on my latest collection, I worked with Persian artist Ali Fani Salek on an exclusive hand-drawn print that was then digitally printed onto our silk-like recycled fabric; We also deeply consider materials and processes to ensure that they are sustainable both environmentally and socially. For our Eco-Friendly collection, I searched high and low for the best silk-like fabric that did not compromise our mission of producing a fully ethically and sustainably conscious collection.
Finally, we're in the process of finding a solution for fabric waste during garment production. We're designing and testing a range of accessories that would be of a limited run.
What processes and technologies do you use to ensure you stay as sustainable as possible?
As I mentioned before, I was on the hunt for a sustainable silk-like fabric that had the same luxurious feel as traditional silk. I came across a completely vegan fabric that was made from recycled cotton linters which is a waste product from the textile industry. It is the core fabric used in our 'Eco-Friendly' Collection. The process used to produce the fibre is a 'closed-loop', which means the chemicals can be extracted and reused. The fabric is known for its silk-like properties - it is incredibly soft with a beautiful fluid-like drape and provides temperature control. This fabric was produced in Turkey, where our partnered fabric company is the first V-labelled textile producer in the world. The European Vegetarian Union certifies its yarns to correspond with the guidelines of the European Vegetarian Label and categorised in the Vegan V-Label.
Are you open to exploring new technologies, methods and processes?
Yes, of course. We are always looking for solutions to ensure we stay sustainable and ethically sound. This may mean searching out for innovative materials and fabric manufacturers that are creating fabrics that are less impactful to the environment and keeping on top of legislation in regards to fair trade and ensuring we keep our workspaces a safe and healthy place to work. The fashion industry needs to make sure it is at the forefront of tackling environmental issues - this is the responsibility of both designers and consumers.
You mentioned that you had launched an Eco-Friendly collection that was produced using a 'vegan' fabric, how was this received by your audience?
The words associated with the phrase 'eco-friendly'; 'vegan'; 'recycled'; 'reused'; 'reduced' can confuse consumers. We realised this is because there is a lack of knowledge and education about sustainable fabrics, what they mean or how they're made. We have a lot of customers assuming that we're a vintage or secondhand label, which is not the case. Our fabrics have been produced to the highest standard using recycled fibres, we have not made garments using recycled fabric. To overcome this, we started a weekly segment on social media discussing topics around sustainability and what it means to be a sustainable brand. We noticed that these were being received well and people were engaging with our content. It is great that we can provide a place where these topics can be discussed and create a connection between the brand and our customers.
What advice could you give to someone wanting to launch a sustainable fashion label?
Research, research, and research! There are many aspects to being a sustainable brand. Find your niche and learn by implementing more eco-friendly ways to do business. Always be open to learning new processes, technologies, business strategies… the list goes on. Stay open-minded to different perspectives.
Finally, what is the future looking like for Sarvin?
We are continuing to grow in all aspects of the business. In terms of sustainability, we're currently in the process of developing and testing out solutions to reduce fabric wastage during the manufacture of our products. Our goal is to become a completely zero-wastage label. We're looking and producing a limited range of accessories such as neck scarves, hair ties, ribbons and lingerie/swimwear made from the off-cuts of our collections.
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