Please explain to us the concept behind Brothers We Stand?
I set up Brothers We Stand to create a menswear retailer that provided me and others with the kind of clothes I want to wear. I want to wear nice looking and good quality clothes that are made in a fair and sustainable manner and sold at a price I can afford. The big boys in the fashion retail industry aren’t currently providing that.
I search out my favourite menswear pieces from a range of progressive designers and share them on the site.
Who is the Brothers We Stand customer?
We’ve got quite a range of customers which I really enjoy. I can bring to mind a forty year old branding dude who buys from us, a politics student, a social worker and lot of women which I didn’t necessarily expect as we deal in menswear!
I guess the core things that tie our customers together are that they love great products and they give a **** about the environment and people.
How did you go about setting up the business and what challenges have you faced along the way?
I started the business with a loan from the Princes Trust. It’s been a massive learning curve and there have been a lot of challenges! It’s definitely a challenge to set up a business with social impact at its core as you need to have a really good understanding of both the social impact aspects of your business and the ‘businessy’ side of things. For me there’s been so much to learn but I’m really enjoying seeing the business develop step by step.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
It’s amazing to create something from scratch and see an idea develop into a reality. That’s really special.
I also enjoy working with others and I think a key part of the business founder’s role is to build a team and work collaboratively with others.
Why is ethical fashion so important?
If you think people matter then it matters how the people who make our clothes are treated.
I think people matter.
Can you tell us about a couple of brands you are excited about for SS16?
At the moment I tend to work a bit reactively (I’m working on it) so I can tell you what we’ve got now that I’m really excited about!
We’ve got some really interesting pieces from Alec Bizby. Using end of line and locally milled fabrics he makes his entire collection in his London studio and the pieces are beautiful!
Another top seller is our jeans by Dutch denim brand Mud. They’re working towards a circular economy denim system and it’s pretty cool what they’re doing.
We Do Nothing have got some great tees which are almost gone but we’ve got a new drop coming soon.
Also the board shorts by Riz are beautiful and they’re made with recycled plastic bottles. Today I read that the Marine Society have released figures showing that more than 8,000 bottles were picked up during its Great British Beach Clean Up in September, up 43% on 2014. So it’s cool how Riz are showing that it’s worth while recycling our bottles as they can be made into something as fine looking as their shorts.
Really I’m excited about all the products on the site and that’s why they’re there!
Lastly, what lies ahead for Brothers We Stand - what are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I have a big vision and I want Brothers We Stand to continue to grow and provide more people with great menswear that is sustainably and ethically made. I believe we must transition to a sustainable economy and I hope my business can be an example of what is possible and inspire people to create sustainable alternatives to the ‘business as usual’ laggards in all sorts of industries.
At the same time I just want to provide people with beautiful products and have some fun working with others on the project!
Check out Brother We Stand