Hello beautiful people and welcome back to Gossip Station where we are joined by a very close friend of ours! Please join us in welcoming the wonderful Franny aka Francessca Bea! The lovely Francessca Bea is the CEO of ACFD Designs which is a British sustainable fashion and textiles company creating one off luxury silk scarves. They are ALL lovingly made in Britain using an arduous natural rust dyeing method and are impossible to create identically meaning every piece is completely unique and individual. Cool or what?
So, lets get too it in finding out more about both Franny and about ACFD Designs! Fran, thank you so much for joining us on Gossip Station today, can you start off by telling us what your background! Why fashion?
I always loved fashion - particularly accessories and at the crucial time of deciding of what to study at university it was a toss-up between a fashion degree or my other passion which was International Development.
Wow such different areas! So what did you decide to study in the end?
After lots of thinking - International Development won and I spent three years studying global development! In my final year I took a module in women in the workforce which centred specifically on women in Asia in the ever expanding garment industry. I had long been concerned with the global consumption and throwaway culture we seemed to be engrossed in, but this course reaffirmed my desire to carve out a path within sustainable design.
So, what happened from there?
Within a few months of graduating I started the next big adventure which was a Master’s Degree in sustainable Textiles Design. By the end of the course I had put in place a start-up business whereby I could honestly say that I knew both how and where my products were being made and by who.
That’s incredible! Do you think that people take the ethics of fashion in to account when purchasing pieces?
I think we have all become more aware about where our clothes are made but I think we have only really scratched the surface in understanding how. We all know where we can find the information on our clothing labels but it would appear that very few of us go any further in asking whether our clothes were made in an environmentally friendly way and for a fair wage.
You’re completely right and it’s so important that we do take more care and interest in to it by asking more questions! So you've started you're own business following your masters! Talk to us about your brand…
ACFD Designs is a British sustainable fashion and textiles company creating one off luxury silk scarves.
Each lovingly made in Britain using an arduous natural rust dyeing method these luxurious pieces are impossible to create identically meaning every piece is completely unique and individual. I’m grounded in principals of high quality design, home grown British craftsmanship and a global responsibility from the fabric sourced to the natural dyeing process.
We think that it’s super cool that everyone has a different scarf and not one is the same! Unique or what? What does ACFD stand for?
ACFD stands for A Conscious Fashion Decision.
I wanted it to be obvious that by choosing ACFD products you were buying something that was designed and made consciously. I believe that we are all capable of making a more conscious decision when it comes to fashion and buying habits.
Wise words there Franny! Can you talk us through the making of a scarf?
The complete dyeing process can take up to four days per scarf with each one resulting in a different print placement and colour variation meaning each piece has a completely unique print! Although, I can control the overall colour that can be achieved by the dyeing process, the print placement is very much less predictable as it can affect the overall gradient and depth of the colour. It then takes a further day to complete the hand roll hemming of the raw edges.
Wow that’s unbelievable! What about the fabric?
The fabric used is just as important as the printing method, and a great amount of time was spent sourcing the most ethical fabrics. The silk used in the scarves is from a very small family run weaving collective in India. The silk is 100% natural containing no additives, bleaching or finishes and it also conforms to Organic Cultivation Standards.
India is such an incredible country! Where do you draw inspiration from?
I had spent a lot of time trying to determine what my inspiration was and to try and identify a colour palette that was personal to me and my designs. Initially, I did this by photography. I honed in on the unnoticed aspects of London which left me with a colour palette consisting of earthy tones and natural hues. I then wanted to mimic the colour and decided to experiment with natural dyeing. This was perfect as I was able to create the muted tones found in the photography such as cream, lavender and orange.
Once I had decided that I was going to use natural dyeing, I wanted to create a print that wasn’t contrived and was more organic. So I began looking at various printing methods online and came across rust dyeing that had been successfully done on paper with beautiful results. So, I decided to give it a go and thankfully the results turned out beautifully! I then spent the next few months just focusing and perfecting on rust dyeing and experimenting on different fabrics.
We love that you have drawn upon so many factors to create the final result! Where are you stocked ATM?
Currently I am stocked on my own website and the Ethical Box website. I have a few exciting things planned for a few small boutiques across London, so watch this space.
Woo exciting stuff! We are all over it! Do you have a dream stockist?
My dream stockist would have to be Liberty of London! I’m so proud to be a British brand and it would be fantastic to be part of a British institution which really showcases the best of British. Also, the scarf hall at Liberty is globally renowned as stocking some of the most beautiful and unique pieces and it would be great to see more independent ethical brands in there.
You’re right! Liberty’s is a beautiful store and the scarf hall is breath taking! What makes ACFD different?
I think what makes ACFD different is that it’s young, fresh and the fact that every piece is completely unique. In a world of similarity, having something that is totally bespoke to you is quite the luxury. It is this individuality and personalisation of the natural print that I hope will encourage the pieces to be cherished over time.
There is nothing better than having a ‘keepsake piece!’ AND what's coming up for 2015? Any secrets you can reveal?
I am currently in talks with a couple of brands to possibly enter another exciting area within the accessories market so keep your eyes peeled on the website for more hints.
Arghhh that’s incredible! Please keep us updated as we would LOVE to know! Keep on going gal as we think it’s fab what you are doing!
Fran, thank you so much for joining us today on Gossip Station! It has been so lovely having you and we can’t wait to see what’s coming up in the near future for ACFD!
Check out ACFD’s fab designs on their official website below: