Inspired by diverse cultures and travel, using techniques gathered from around the world, Julia Smith brings the making process back to her home city of London. Her 'trade-fair' philosophy is about striving to ensure that all involved in the production process are benefitting and treated fairly.
She defined 'resourceful design' in her fully reversible MA collection 'In More Ways Than One...', by using unique forward-thinking design and production processes. This has been followed by a prize-winning fair-trade project collaborating with the women's co-operative 'Global Mamas' in Ghana, and UK high-street giant 'Topshop'.
Julia Smith believes in helping people to help themselves through fair-trade, working with traditional crafts and small businesses in developing countries wherever possible, and changing society's approach to fashion consumption.
Fashion with a conscience that does not compromise on design.
‘My Ethical Approach' by Julia:
Having completed an MA at the London College of Fashion, where I specialised in sustainability, I went to work for Alberta Ferretti in Italy as a designer on her Philosophy line. After this I headed straight to Ghana to work on a fair-trade design project, with women's co-operative Global Mamas and Topshop. My work in Ghana reconfirmed that I am a fashion designer who cares where clothes come from.
In May 2007 I launched the Julia smith label. My aim was to introduce designer fashion, with a conscience. As a creative thinker I have a responsibility to reach for new ideas and ideals and to make them accessible to the public. I wanted to encourage people to consider where their clothing comes from, and to prove that ethical fashion can be extremely luxurious whilst maintaining the ‘cool' aesthetics of fashion.
I am committed to working with small, community based businesses both at home in the UK and internationally. By producing my mainline in London I am supporting local jobs and the re-development of the clothing industry in the UK.
My work in Ghana provides a good income for a small business which often struggles to find work in a developing country. Working with Marian, Global Mamas and Topshop has helped introduce fashion made in developing communities in Africa, to the UK high street. In turn I have passed on some of my design skills and market awareness to the people I have worked with in Ghana.