For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Julia Brown from Tattymoo. Committed to reducing fabric waste, Julia shows that sustainability and ethical working practices are a way of life rather than simply buzz words for her brand.
How has working sustainably impacted your non-business life?
I work from home, so sustainability is pretty much engraved into my lifestyle. From reusing any packaging that comes in (that includes cereal boxes!) to taking over my dining room with my studio space! I have so much fabric that has been donated it’s taking over my home!
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of taking in over a tonne of fabric waste, and saving it from landfill. I’ve not been able to take stock of that figure – or how much it has increased since I calculated that two years ago. All I know is that it is a whole lot more!
Have you got a particular cause or issue that you would like to raise awareness of?
I hold people and the planet as two of my core values for my business, and I use my platform to raise awareness for Extinction Rebellion and Labour Behind the Label – I have a few styles that raise money for these, as well as clothing patches that you can get for 5p plus postage, so that you can wear your values!
What is the most challenging thing about the work that you do?
I have such a bubbling brain full of ideas, it’s trying to contain them all!
Take me on an imaginary tour of your workspace.My workspace is full of sewing machines, bookshelves filled with fabric, printing inks and screens. I have a huge pinboard above one of my sewing machines that is full of ideas, reminders and quotes. Next to that sits a shelf full of my late nana’s thimbles. I have baskets and baskets full of buttons, trims and fabric scraps. And that is just in one room...
Do you have a motto or quote that defines your practice?
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Rewear. Rework
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop or live more ethically?A lot of people think that shopping or living sustainably is expensive and hard, but you can get second-hand from charity shops, swapping with your friends or even renting.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I walk my son to school, pop to the post office on the way back to send off any orders. Go home, have a coffee and start sewing! I walk my dog after lunch and pick up litter (we have a local clean up group on Facebook that I’m a part of). Maybe do a bit of admin and then walk to meet my son for 3pm. We like to craft in the afternoons together, whether that be painting or sewing. I love that he’s so crafty too.
What’s your favourite thing to do with your free time and why?I really love crafting in my free time. Drawing or embroidery. Anything that I can do sat down is super relaxing to me. I get my best ideas when I’m fully relaxed.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
I really doubted my creativity when I was at school, and didn’t push myself after Uni either, keeping my crafty side as more of a hobby. I would tell myself to be true to who you are – and that you can be a designer. You can do it!
What would be the top thing that you would change about the way we treat the planet if you could?PICK UP YOUR TRASH! Honestly, if everyone could pick up at least two pieces of litter a day our wildlife would be in a much better position.
What are your plans for the future?
I have been really focusing on DIY’s during the pandemic, with a long craft challenge that I am doing – to raise money for Friends of the Earth. I have been inspired by some of the tutorials I’ve done - to want to bring them to a live space, or online workshops.
Can you recommend any other makers or businesses that work in an ethical or sustainable way?
There are so many great indie sustainable and ethical businesses, but two of my favourites are Readorn London, who recycles and reworks jewellery, and Make do and Mend, a (now) online boutique for preloved clothing and accessories.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I hate that so much fabric and clothing gets binned. I mean why throw a perfectly good piece of clothing in the bin? It’s like throwing away money. I just don’t get it. If you really hate it? Cut it up and turn it into dishcloths!
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