Christopher Raeburn on 10 Years of Sustainable Fashion
For ten years, Christopher Raeburn has made it his mission to build a manifesto for change. Disrupting an industry that has traditionally been one of the green-movement’s biggest foes; and proving that fashion and sustainability can go hand in hand. Throughout his impressive career, Christopher has put the ethos of his Remade, Reduced, Recycled philosophy at the forefront of every collection. Each year, finding new and clever ways to transform surplus fabrics into high function designs for the fashion industry’s smart set. Today, after yet another successful menswear show at London fashion week Mens, Christopher Raeburn has a decade’s worth of milestones behind him, and nowhere to go but up.
We caught up with Christopher Raeburn in his beautiful East London REMADE Studio, and talk everything from the industrial textile heritage of his building, to where he goes for creative inspiration. In the world of sustainable fashion, awareness is the best tool; and so Christopher has turned his REMADE studio into a center of change. Inviting the local Hackney community to open days, off-cut animal workshops, and educational talks. Sparking the fire for the green revolution right at his own doorstep.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and the ethos of your brand? How do you feel about reaching this 10 year milestone with Christopher Raeburn?
I grew up in the countryside in a small village in Kent. My upbringing focused on the outdoors and inventing. From the age of 11 I joined the air cadets and learnt to fly. I therefore developed a fascination for military clothing and original functional fabrics from an early age. The truth is, I’m still not convinced that I’m a normal fashion designer. My interest is in the process, utility, and functionality — researching something and making something that’s worthwhile at the end.
We're very proud of our ten years in business, it's been a challenging journey but one that has allowed us to build a manifesto for change. Those ten years have finally seen our industry wake up to its responsibilities and we're very excited for the next chapter of the business and industry as a whole.
With your Remade, Reduced, Recycled philosophy you have been a strong supporter of the sustainable fashion movement. In what ways do you push the boundaries and try to be ‘less ordinary’ with what you do?
I’m quite open that I didn’t set out to start a sustainable company at all. Whilst our core values have developed naturally over time, it was actually a happy accident in the first place. It’s about the reworking of surplus fabrics and their functionality above anything else, that led to what we do now. As our activities and team at RÆBURN grow we put into writing our obligation to make good choices, to do the right thing, and to continue to challenge and disrupt.
Tell us a little bit more about your RÆBURN Lab and the kind of projects and events that you hold in this wonderful community space. Do you think that the spaces you work in help inform your creative processes?
We moved to the RÆBURN Lab two and a half years ago now and it's been a real catalyst for the business. The Lab is in a fantastic part of East London with a history of textile and garment manufacturing. It was previously home to the Burberry textile factory where the likes of Shackleton's exhibition were stored. We see it as a constantly evolving platform that allows for the atelier, REMADE archive, showroom, offices and retail to be in one open plan floor space.
Above and beyond this, it allows us to host open studio days and community workshops as part of our ongoing initiatives to engage with our audience and give something back to the community. It's therefore a highly experimental and creative space.
If you're visiting RAEBURN LAB, check out these nearby Restaurants
What trusted ‘Less Ordinary’ places in London do you find yourself going back to time and time again? Where does a designer like yourself go to find some head spaceI find that cycling to the studio twice a day 15 miles there and back allows for some valuable thinking time. I'll quite often think of an idea or get inspired whilst cycling through London. I also enjoy going to exhibitions. We're so fortunate with the amount of museums, arts galleries and local talent here in London that there is always something new to see.
Are there any particular ‘Less Ordinary’ hotels, B&Bs, or apartments you have discovered and fell in love with in other cities you travel to? Aside from London, are there any other creative cities that you draw inspiration from?
None in particular, I tend to find inspiration from anywhere. I'm very fortunate to have travelled to many cities around the world. Aside from London, New York is high on the list. I particular love the flea markets and regularly find inspiration there.
Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies
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