PIONEERING BRITISH LUXURY ETHICAL BRAND – A VOICE FOR ANIMALS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
During an encounter with an organic producer I discovered that farmers were burning and burying their wool in protest. The pittance they were paid didn’t even cover their shearing costs. One look around the High Street showed very little wool and no British wool at all. What there was, was being imported from Australasia where there is dubious animal welfare with the practice of mulesing commonplace and the live export of hundreds of thousands of animals to the Middle East. I decided I would start a British fashion label using wool.
However, as a vegetarian, I needed wool from sheep which would not be killed. I looked across the UK and I researched across the world, and save a few pet sheep, I realised there were none. My only way forward would be to have my own flock. I wouldn’t breed them I would rescue them - which is what I did. In a short space of time I rescued 600 hundred of them – ewes which had miscarried or missed a pregnancy, male lambs - if it was going to be killed I would take it. I though of course had to pay the market prices. I focused on Shetlands and Wensleydales for the quality of their wool. Needless to say I ended up with some other breeds too – some which I intercepted which were on their way to a halal abattoir
I pieced together the chain of processors I would need. It took a long time. There were weavers, spinners and dyers, shutting down on a daily basis. I found the last of 52 worsted spinners in Calderdale – now shut. I tried to find a button maker, there used to be hundreds in Birmingham, the only remaining one was a working museum. Eventually in 2007 I launched my brand Izzy Lane with two imperatives – to help save the British textile industry – and closer to my heart – to give animals a voice in the fashion industry, as they had none. Up until now, there had been no traceability whatsoever of animal fibre.
As well as creating a cool fashion label, Izzy Lane was also a powerful platform to raise awareness and campaign for animal rights. It went on to win RSPCA Awards in 2008 and 2012, New Designer of the Year at the RE Awards and were finalists in the Observer Awards, the Daily Mirror Animal Heroes Awards and the Global Sustainable Luxury Awards. It has received extensive national and international press and was featured in two series of ITV The Dales and other BBC TV and radio shows. Our collections have been exhibited at London Fashion Week and in Paris, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York and Las Vegas and in a catwalk for the Queen !
Izzy Lane uses the wool from our beautiful sheep which will live out their lives in peace here in the Yorkshire Dales. Your support will secure their future and ensure their voice is heard – that sheep can exist without being eaten. Animal welfare is at the core of Izzy Lane, the animals will always come first.
Many thanks for your interest,