Wyatt & Jack make sustainable bags and accessories from salvaged and upcycled deckchair canvas, broken bouncy castles and other beach fabrics. “So far, we have managed to swerve and use around 12 tonnes of fabric, that would otherwise be heading for landfill,” declares Georgia Lovell, who founded the business in 2010.
“We manufacture ALL our products here on the Isle of Wight. Either here in our Bembridge workshop or in Shanklin – just up the road! After lots of different trials of outsourcing the making, I’ve found that this is the only way to ensure quality control and that the fabrics travel as few miles as possible, to fit with our sustainable ethos.”
“I think the ethical practices we support, tie in with our production, tie in with the supply of our fabric, the REASON for using this fabric. I’m not sure its something we actively ‘support’ as such its more the foundations of Wyatt and Jack. I’m really quite strict on that! Whilst it means a slower, more organic growth, it allows us to make sure we are doing things in the ‘right’ way according to our values as a brand.”
As for the inspiration behind the latest collection, “TYPE! I LOVE different fonts! We are gradually incorporating them into the next season. Its funny being asked that question in a sense. At first, it always seemed that using these fabrics in this particular way was enough, but that was eight years ago! Now, there are a lot of companies’ upcycling fabrics, so the emphasis has changed and there is pressure on us to keep up to date with styles and colour predictions. I’ve always wanted people to buy the bags because the design speaks to them and let the fact its upcycled come as a surprise!”
“The inspiration always comes from the fabrics. We never know what we may be receiving next, so in that sense, we have to let the fabrics dictate. It’s quite cool, because it keeps things fresh and presents different opportunities that we have to work around/with. I like to problem solve, so I spend a lot of time looking at designs and seeing how they can be flipped or adjusted to create a solution to something.”
Wyatt & Jack enjoy working with other organisations that share their ethos, “When a collaboration comes as a result of sustainable interest. For example, Surfers Against Sewage, or previously, Friends of The Earth and knowing the proceeds will go towards supporting a cause we believe in. We have an ongoing partnership with tree planting initiative Mossy Earth, so every time one of our block totes is purchased from our site, a tree will be planted as part of a reforestation programme in Portugal.”
“Last year we also began working with a London based upcycled wallet company, who now takes our smaller scraps of fabric, so we can work towards our ultimate goal of becoming zero waste. We have a few exciting [secret!] collaborations coming up this year with other companies, so I’m interested to see what the results of those will be.”
As for career highlights, “I genuinely LOVE my job, so the highlight for me is always the fabric, the design process and – after doing 47 different jobs over the years! – doing something I enjoy on a daily basis, also knowing that every time a new product is made, less fabric goes to landfill… that sounds so cheesy, but as anyone who has had a job they hate will tell you- the beauty of working for yourself, never goes away! I feel very lucky… We were shortlisted last year for the Blue Patch Ethical Award for Sustainable Innovation, which was really cool.”
Georgia names Econyl as one of the companies she admires within the sustainable industries, “I love what Econyl are doing with ghost fishing nets. The technology and quality of fabrics, blows my mind.”
Anything exciting in the pipeline?
“ALWAYS something exciting in the pipeline! I just don’t always know what it is yet! Ha!”