The Acey Launches Their Second Sustainable In-house Collection
The Acey was founded in 2014 by Holly Allenby as a game-changing sustainable fashion online retailer that neither compromises on ethics nor aesthetics. After last year’s success of launching a first in-house collection, this spring The Acey presents the second chapter of their namesake brand.
Designed and locally produced in The Acey’s native London, the collection is made from natural fibres that are gentle on the environment, using linen (flax) and Tencel (eucalyptus). The result is a well-thought-out edition of chic yet effortless pieces that can be styled in versatile ways. We asked Holly to grant us some insights into her design process and to share her experiences from setting up her own supply chain.
Holly, what encouraged you to launch your own The Acey brand last year in addition to your multi-brand e-commerce store?
It was a combination of two things. I wanted to fully understand the supply chain from source to store and better educate myself on the impacts of the clothing industry, and it certainly did that. And secondly, I saw a need for contemporary, conscious pieces that women can wear comfortably in the city every day.
Could you share some insights into the design process and how it unfolded?
I knew I wanted to create timeless silhouettes, designed for the modern woman. So it started with a dreamy mood board of our favourite shapes and sustainable fabrics. I also looked at The Acey’s history of our best selling pieces and used this as a good additional basis. It was then a case of finding a designer and pattern cutter who could make my idea a reality. I quickly realised how important it was that the designer understood who the Acey woman was and shared our vision.
What is the inspiration behind your second in-house collection and the mood you wanted to convey through your designs?
Most importantly it was the women we aim to dress that were our inspiration. I want women to feel confident and comfortable in our clothing and therefore, I also looked at my own wardrobe to identify those hero pieces that I wear again and again and feel so effortless in. And since we used end-of-roll fabrics for the collection, it was also the fabrics available to us that guided the designs.
Could you tell me a bit about where your garments are produced and how you found your suppliers?
The Acey in-house collection is designed and produced in East London. I’m very proud of this fact and it’s proven as essential whilst we establish the inner workings of creating our own collection. Our producers are based in Bow and show a genuine interest in reducing their impact, from collecting fabric scraps to using solar-powered energy. Having our manufacturers as neighbours not only makes the production process so much easier, it means we can be present every step of the way.
And regarding the materials of the collection, where did you source them and what makes them a conscious choice?
We used ‘end-of-roll’ fabrics, a term that defines fabrics that already exist, but have not been put to use. I love the idea that we’re using something that already exists. The cons of this are that you can’t be sure of the origin of the fabric. And you have to work with what’s available, but I actually like that, I think it guides the design process.
Further to end-of-roll, it was really important to me to look at the fabric content. We decided to work with 100% Tencel and 100% linen — two of the most environmentally-friendly materials out there, both of which are biodegradable. Mixed fibre content materials are not yet easily recyclable. By working with a 100% blend, it means that the garments can be responsibly disposed of.
What is your personal definition of conscious fashion that you want to express through The Acey?
“Style with Purpose” is our tagline and something we live by. I think conscious fashion should be ethically and aesthetically relevant without compromise. I love the quote “a piece of clothing made sustainably isn’t sustainable if no one wants to wear it!”
How do you hope the fashion industry can change in a meaningful way?
In the bigger picture, the clothing industry needs to slow down, use what already exists and find a responsible way of disposing of clothing. I would also like to think fabric and clothing producers are respected and their work is their livelihood, not just a means to an end.
What are you currently working on, what are your future plans for The Acey?
We’re exploring an omnichannel marketing strategy and how we can have a bigger impact using “Style with Purpose” as our basis. Stay tuned!