When we walk into a shop to buy a new dress or jumper (or add it to our online basket), we rarely think of the long journey involved to make that garment. That cotton farm in India or Turkey, or merino wool farm in Australia or New Zealand, feels like a long way away, and is rarely thought about.
It’s why Tina and Piarvé Wetshi have launched a new journal, AGreenCulture, which shines a spotlight on fashion’s farmers in its first issue. The idea came about after the sisters, who also run Colèchi, a collective and research agency pushing for sustainable development in fashion, met Emma Hague, the founder of South West England Fibreshed, a community of fibre growers, processors and manufacturers in the southwest that promotes home-grown textiles.
“We found out how disconnected farmers were from the fashion industry,” Tina, who works in fashion PR, tells Vogue. “[Emma said], ‘I have so many farmers who want to work with designers; they want to know these people, but they just don’t.’ I was like, ‘I don’t actually know a farmer.’ In PR, we do so much around the brand and the collection, but we’re not briefed on so many aspects of it.”
To start off with, the pair went to visit some of the farms producing natural materials across the UK – many of which are featured in the journal. They include Fernhill Farm, a wool grower, and Eko Alpaka, an alpaca producer, both based in Somerset, as well as British Pasture Leather, a collective of farms producing leather regeneratively across the country. “We wanted to acknowledge that there are loads of farms that are producing textiles and also ones that are really pioneering regenerative products, specifically for the UK fashion industry,” Tina continues.