This week we are excited to have launched E.L.V Denim, a brand who take unwanted jeans destined for landfill and turn them into new pieces. Adhering to an ethos of zero waste, the fabric used has zero impact on the environment. Working with local ateliers in East London, Founder Anna Foster ensures that each jean has the lowest carbon footprint possible whilst supporting local businesses and communities. Being entirely transparent with their supply chain allows the consumer to find a consciously sourced jean which is as unique as the person who wears them.
We are excited to be partnering with E.L.V. Denim, an East London brand fronted by Stylist Anna Foster who use post-consumer jeans and turn them into new pieces using transparent, sustainable practices. Read more from Anna about her inspiration and their local community sourcing process.
Tell us about E.L.V Denim and who is behind the brand
Hi! I am Anna Foster and I founded E.L.V Denim in 2018. The brand was born from a ethos of using post-consumer and turning it into modern sophisticated pieces. Working with local ateliers in East London, each jean is designed and manufactured in East London ensuring that every product has the lowest carbon footprint possible while supporting local business and communities. At E.L.V Denim environmental and social sustainability are at the heart of the business, and we believe that being initially transparent with our supply chain allows a consumer to find a consciously sourced jean which is as unique as the person who wears them.
What and/or who inspires your designs?
Using waste simply makes you think more creatively about what can be made from it. I design from a starting point of waste. We live in a very aesthetic world so a successful brand has to marry very carefully design and sustainability. I look at what is in front of me and although this might seem limiting it is a really liberating process to take something that was discarded by someone and turn it into someone else’s treasure. Using my experience as a fashion stylist over the last 20 years has allowed me to understand what style suits ‘every body’ and truly believe that my three styles can do exactly that.
Can you tell us more about your sourcing process?
We source the unwanted jeans from around the UK. The jeans and jackets are discarded pieces so as a matter of course (and hygiene) they need washing. We work with an East London laundrette run by Korosh Morad. Korosh took us through his process of washing the post-waste denim and only 7 litres of water are used per jean. Unlike a brand-new pair which would use 7000 litres, which is the same amount of water that one person drinks in 13 years!
After Korosh drops off the Denim (in his electric car) back to the studio, it is processed and paired ready for the Atelier. Every jean, and jacket is paired by hand to ensure that the perfect new jean or jacket is created. When I met with Han and Anne at Blackhorse Lane Atelier, I knew instantly that it was the right place to make our jeans. All the jeans are cut by hand and made using traditional denim methods. Blackhorse Lane Atelier keep sustainability at the heart of the business and their social values are essential to how the company is run. All of their employees are given the opportunity to be shareholders in the company, working standards are assured, they are paid a fair living wage and are not subjected to zero contract hours. Blackhorse Lane Atelier is located in Walthamstow, East London and is a hub of creativity.
To further our zero waste policy we have collaborated with local East London leather company, Tura London. All our branded leather patches and backing of our belts are remnants or ‘off cuts’ found in their factory. The colour of the patches depends on what is available, once that colour is gone, we move onto another. Kind of cute really as it also helps our clients ‘date’ their jeans!
We source our branded buttons from YYK as they have developed an ECO FINISH. We work with local print makers and handprint our labels on 100% recycled board produced in East London. They also use vegetable ink which has a low carbon footprint. We are working with them on some new and exciting installations and being round the corner is rather helpful! Any scraps that are left are given to the renowned artist Ian Berry who creates ‘paintings’ using denim. We also work with local schools and universities providing fabric for textile classes as and when they need it.
If you could change anything about the denim industry what would it be? How do you see this industry evolving over the coming years?
Full transparency would be super helpful in a world of a lot of technical terms where sometimes the truth can be hidden! However, in this journey I have met some really great people such as Tony Tonnaer from Kings of Indigo and Jordan Nordarse from Boyish who also agree that collaboration can and must be key within any industry.
Are you able to share what's in store for E.L.V. Denim for the coming years?
We are always striving for more, trying new ways to work even more sustainably. Every day is a challenge, but … I love it!