Meet The Maker: Stidston Studio

Our meet the maker series offers a chance to glimpse into the life of those who wish to make a forcible change in the fashion industry. This time we got to know both the people and the production behind the beautiful brand Stidston Studio.

Creating the epitome of all that British summertime is, Stidston Studio is all about sustainable clothing that has flair and personality. Founded by Claire in 2016, the brand has flourished from simple beginnings to a true representation of the exquisiteness that sustainable fashion can be. Bold patterns matched with classic silhouettes and sustainable fabrics signify the British love for mixing both tradition and modernity, for summers of Pimm’s and freshly cut grass.

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When was Stidston Studio created, and why?

Stidston Studio started life as a bespoke swimwear brand, born from one swimsuit that I designed for myself on a holiday in Myanmar in 2016. Initially, I just wanted to make myself a nice well-fitting swimsuit, however, after lots of encouragement from friends, I started to design and make more. Stidston Studio grew quite organically from one swimsuit ¬¬to a hobby, and then to a business. I really wanted to create a brand that was ethical and sustainable, but also fun, bold, and affordable.

As your inspiration comes from English summer, what do you associate with British summer time?

I love summer, there is nothing like that first hit of vitamin D on your skin after the long British winter, the smell of cut grass, or that first summer dip. I grew up in Devon, and English summertime for me is all about picnics down by the river, camping, and BBQs on the beach. In London, I love hanging out in the parks and swimming in the ponds and lidos. And of course, wherever you are in England, summertime is about the pub.

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Have you always been interested in eco-friendly fashion?

No, I didn’t really have a deep understanding of the fashion industry until the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013 where over 1000 people died. This was the first time that I understood the reality of fast fashion and the poor labour conditions faced by workers and started to take a real interest in the manufacturing process and environmental impact that the industry has.

I continue to learn alongside the evolution of the brand, ensuring I am constantly working to improve every aspect – from the fabric that I use – the latest collection is made using TENCEL™ fabric made from sustainable wood pulp, and a viscose and linen-blend twill – to the manufacturers that I work with – it’s important to me that my customers know that their clothing has been made with love and care and by people who are getting paid well.

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What is the key to encouraging people to shop sustainably?

I think there are two key things:

1. By creating better awareness of the various ways in which the clothing manufacturing process impacts the environment and the people involved, we can encourage people to shop more consciously. It’s equally important to understand what goes into the development of sustainably made clothing so that people can understand the price point of ethical fashion and why, that for something to be made ethically, it needs to cost more.

2. Developing products that people want and can afford. Previously the sustainable fashion market was targeted at an older demographic, but if we want the next generation to care about sustainability, we need to give them clothes that they want to wear. Sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be bland, and the more brands that create sustainable clothes that appeal to the younger generations, the bigger the driver for change.

Please could you talk us through the garment making process?

I normally come up with new style designs late at night, I sketch them out the next day and make up an initial prototype and pattern. Once I’m happy with the prototype I work with my design studio to sample the design until I’m happy with the fit. I then choose the fabrics. For patterned designs I work with my designer to collaborate on the design, normally starting with a mood board and concept and then a lot of back-and-forth finessing. We avoid print placements to reduce fabric wastage, and by using repeat prints each garment is unique as the placement is always different. Once I’m happy with the designs and fabric, the patterns are sized, and we go into production – each collection is made in small batches to ensure product waste is kept to a minimum.

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What is a typical day like at Stidston Studio?

No day is the same. I had my first baby at the end of 2021 and took a 6-month break, so I’m now just getting back into the rhythm of the business and learning how to balance business with baby. Stidston Studio is just me, so each day can include anything from designing to stock analysis, social media to marketing, and sewing to packaging, but it always involves coffee!

What would you like for Stidston Studio in the next 5 years?

Stidston Studio has grown very organically so far, it’s been a very exploratory process – starting as a custom swimwear brand and now making ready to wear clothing. This year I want to focus on reflecting back on what’s worked best and honing in on the best styles – keep a lookout for some revived best sellers!

Over the next 5 years, I would like to cement the brand as the go to for bold vibrant clothing in the ethical and sustainable fashion space.

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Click here to shop the full Stidston Studio collection at Wearth.