Izzy Lane has one of the iconic stories in the world of eco fashion, where connecting consumers with those that make their clothing is of paramount importance. One of the by products of fast fashion is a complete disconnect with our clothing; where it comes from, who grew the fiber, wove, knitted or sewed the garment, and under what conditions? One of the important roles of eco fashion is the reconnection of those places, peoples and task, and the sharing of the rich stories that accompany them, for good or for bad. Exposing the hidden price tag of fast fashion, and celebrating the journeys of those that make a difference. When we talk about the inspiring stories surrounding our clothing, from farm to fashion, Izzy Lane’s story is iconic.
A widely held belief is that if fast fashion consumers knew the real cost of the cheap fashion they consume, then, they would stop purchasing it. If labels were required to state on the label that the Indian farmer that cultivated to cotton crop committed suicide because he wasn’t able to provide for his family, or the underage female seamstress that lives in factory housing, thousands of miles from her family was sexually abused by the factory manager, or that the Chinese textile plant responsible for the fabric production wastes thousands of gallons of clean water, while it pollutes the surrounding waterways, that the local population rely on as their only source of water. Would people think that $15 dollar top was worth the price? I think not. The reverse of exposing the real cost of fast fashion, is the celebration of those that produce ethically and responsibly. The telling of stories that surround our clothing and the celebration of their journeys.
The story of Izzy Lane starts with Isobel Davies founding Farmaround, a company that brought organic produce from the country the city, to provide environmentally conscious urban dwellers with fresh organic produce straight from the farm. A lifelong vegetarian and animal lover, Isobel discovered that sheep were sent to slaughter for a myriad of minor reasons that had no impact on their ability to live happy, healthy and productive lives, leading to her first purchase of four rare breed sheep, to the building of what is now a herd of 600 Wensleydale and Shetland sheep, both endangered species. It turned out that sheep were sent to slaughter when they became lame, or missed a pregnancy, so Izzy systematically set about saving these sheep. Another nugget of information that helped the formation of the company, was finding out that British farmers were destroying the wool from their sheep, due to poor prices and an inability to compete with subsidized imports. All this at the same time as the British wool industry was in its death throws, as it buckled under the weight of cheap imports. Leading Isobel Davies to found the label Izzy Lane, where the fiber is a natural byproduct of her healthy, happy Wensleydale and Shetland sheep, and where the yarn is cleaned, spun, woven and knitted all within a 120 mile radius; thereby supporting the British wool industry, artisanal skills and saving sheep.
Isobel Davies connects her customers with every single stage of production, from the sheep that grew the wool, to the knitters that knit the sweater. Her website and blog celebrate the production of her materials and all those involved in producing them, through photographs of her sheep, a blog from her shepherd and bio’s on her knitters. Each sweater or suit you buy from Izzy Lane supports the local economy, the greater British wood producing industry and animal welfare. Isobel Davies is a two-time winner of the RSPCA’s Good Business Award, and is one of the UK’s foremost animal welfare proponents. The Izzy Lane collection has a sort of gentrified country in the city style. She creates wholesome and comforting classic designs with a small design twist, a sort of Miss Marple meets Mary Quant sensibility, with the same retro focus on quality and timeless styling.