In today’s Ethical Brand Directory interview we chat to Claire Couchman, the founder of Couchman Bespoke, a rather unique men’s tailoring brand from London. Couchman Bespoke has dared to do things differently and gone for an anything but the high-street aesthetic. Her pieces are designed for the modern man that wants to stand out – and be remembered for his quirky style.
Thank you being a valued member of our exclusive network. What were your reasons for joining the Ethical Brand Directory and community?
As a new brand in any industry, you have to find the best places to stand out in. I came across EBD and thought the ethos behind it resonated with my own values and what I believe the future of the industry needs. During the journey of being a sole trader in a vast industry, it is reassuring to know there is a community out there who can help at different stages and encourage you along the way.
Can you give our readers a brief overview of your brand and the type of products you currently sell?
We offer a collection of men’s clothing ranging from suit jackets, shirts and trousers that are made from remnant cloth or sustainably sourced cloth. Each item is carefully measured to fit and made to order making each item unique with no piece being identical and allows for minimal fabric waste. Services available include alteration, customerisation and bespoke services for the ultimate sustainable choice
What are the 3 most important things that your people should know about your brand?
Couchman Bespoke is dedicated to reducing the over usage of water and pollution in waterways from the production of garments made. The new cloth is sourced on the basis that little water is used throughout the production process, that the fibre growth is sustainable and from a neighbouring country to reduce our carbon footprint. These are naturally dyed by hand producing some unique colourways that change with every batch of dye made. Everything is made ethically in London.
What was your WHY? What inspired you to set up your business?
Why the clothing industry had to be so exclusive rather than inclusive of all who wish to try their hand.
Also why is had to use so many resources, water being the main issue for me.
What challenges do independent brands like yourself face?
There is a lot of green washing right now from larger companies jumping on the sustainable slogan. Also, there are a lot of smaller start ups wanting a piece of the pie, this worries me more because I feel the ethical clothing industry is becoming a fad. I would like to see more collaborations or jobs being created within the smaller brands to share the workload, we could really do with help more than extra competition.
Why do you think it’s important to be ethical and environmentally conscious in business?
To be ethical means you are aware of the larger picture. That you are conscious of every person who plays a part within the production of an item. Within clothing that means the people who plant the seeds to grow the plants that produce the fibres and so on to a garment. Everyone involved in any industry should be paid fairly for their work and labour with a wage that they can live on. To be fully ethical you also have to be conscious of the environmental and take steps to give back.
Based on the increasing rise in consumers wanting to understand your brand’s ethics, what content have you created that helps provide clarity on what ‘ethics’ means to you?
I have a sustainability page on my website www.couchman-bespoke.com/sustainability-values which outlines the brand ethos, inspiration, cloth sourcing , fibres used and the meanings and the future.
There is also a page showcasing everywhere I shop for cloth for full transparency www.Couchman-bespoke.com/cloth-sourcing and another with links to other ethical businesses or pages so customers can get inspiration for how to better their life. https://couchman-bespoke.com/eco-lifestyle-links
What steps are you taking to ensure your brand is transparent and acts with ethics and integrity?
By showcasing the stories behind each garment from cloth to manufacture. Including everyone involved.
How important is sustainability for businesses? What are you doing in your business to reduce your environmental impact?
All cloth is either sourced for a low water input and low pollution output. Always from neighbouring countries , unless from a holiday purchase. Lastly by reducing any wastage through manufacture, producing made to order garments and conducting alterations on anyone’s wardrobe for the ultimate sustainable choice.
Do you have a policy relating to your business sustainability policy on your website?
Yes, it is a paragraph from the sustainability page.
In 10 years from now, where would you like to see the fashion world?
That all business will be ethical and only using sustainable supply chains.
Do you have any favourite ethical and sustainable quotes, or any key influencers that inspire you?
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel
Why should the general public care about supporting ethical and environmentally responsible brands?
As with caring what goes inside their bodies, they should also take as much care about what is next to their body. As our skin is the biggest organ elements from our clothes get absorbed. Clothing can make you healthier from the outside in.
Interviewed by: Roberta Lee
Interviewee: Claire Couchman
Brand name: Couchman Bespoke
Check out their EBD listing here
Roberta is the founder of Ethical Brand Directory and Roberta Style Lee. She is a speaker, coach and sustainable stylist.