As many of you will know, Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform. Annoying algorithms aside, there is such a wonderful community spirit to be found there, and it’s a place where creativity flourishes. I love filling my feed with small businesses, fellow mums and monochrome delights, as I like to feel inspired as I scroll. So this month, I thought it would be great to do a little interview series, where I get to chat to the people behind some amazing Instagram accounts that inspire me.
This week, I’m introducing you to an amazing brand who not only sell incredibly stylish clothing, but also do an awful lot to help their local community. Introducing Mini Stitches, aka. @ministitchesldn
Tell us a bit about Mini Stitches and how it all started…
The charity, Stitches in Time has been providing community arts projects to the local community since 1993. The aim was to engage and connect local communities in the process of making large textile art pieces. Since then, the charity has grown from strength to strength, delivering art, education and employment opportunities to local women. Mini Stitches grew out of the social enterprise arm of the charity, FabricWorks London which provides free training in sewing and garment production. So, along with providing a sewing service to local brands and designers, we now also have our own, in-house ethical children’s wear brand, designed and made by women on the course.
Incredible! I love that your brand is giving something back into the community, I’d love to hear more about how you help unemployed women feel empowered.
The charity provides local women with many services, including free English classes, information, advice and guidance services and training in garment production. All of our services intend to increase vulnerable women’s confidence and empower them to build on skills with the aim to progressing them towards finding long-term employment, leading to personal/ financial independence.
The Mini Stitches range is designed as a group and everyone involved is encouraged to have a voice, to be creative and to get involved. Last season we supported 3 ladies into sewing production work, with Tazmun advancing on to teach the production element of the sewing course. Tazmun had been unemployed for around 5 years. With no previous sewing skills, within 12 months she has gone from student to trainee to sewing instructor. Her experience at Mini Stitches has provided her with the tools needed to build on her skills and confidence, empowering her to expand on future goals and life choices.
Your clothes are amazing – I’m a massive fan! What is the inspiration behind them?
We like to be aware of (but not strictly follow) the latest trends. It’s important for us that the clothes are contemporary, good value for money and made to a high standard. We love all things fun: spots, stripes, circus clowns and seaside kitsch. Our style is classic with a playful twist. We try also to be ‘non-seasonal’. Most styles are versatile and work throughout the year.
What is your vision for the future of Mini Stitches?
The creative director is currently on a research fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The trust funds global travel to research inspiring practice within any chosen field. So we are looking at pioneering, responsible business models within the fashion supply chain in the USA, India and Bangladesh. We’ve researched worker-owned models, Fair Trade and the sustainability strategies at retail giants GAP and Patagonia. There are some really interesting and exciting things happening within the area of sustainability so at the moment I would just say, watch this space! In whatever direction we take going forward, we aim to generate a lot more jobs for disadvantaged women whilst continuously looking at ways to improve working conditions for garment workers in the UK.
Just incredible, right? I LOVE it when small businesses are so passionate about making a change in their fields. Please do check out Mini Stitches and give them your support, and show them some love over on Instagram too!