I enjoy surrounding myself by creative people and one of them is my good pal Frankie, the owner of Artful Sonder. Her sustainable fashion brand is a Leeds local worth supporting, particularly in an age when doing our bit for the sustainability effort for the planet is vital. I’ll get off my soapbox and let you read our chat…
RECORD WEEKLY’S INTERVIEW WITH ARTFUL SONDER
Hey Frankie, how are you?
I’m good thanks. So excited that the sun is coming out more!
Yessss, makes all the difference! Now, tell us a bit about Artful Sonder and how you established the brand.
Artful Sonder started out as a creative outlet for me; a place to create art and appreciate others’ too. After a while, I realised I wanted to turn Artful Sonder into a brand rather than just an outlet and, to be honest, lockdown gave me more time to focus on the marketing and general business logistics that came with that transition.
I based the brand on people, nature and art, as these were themes that would naturally come out when I created any art. I’ve always been intrigued by fashion, so I thought it would be great to make the art wearable in a way that was ethical and sustainable, which is something that isn’t prioritised in the fast fashion world.
When was it that you feel you became particularly consciously minded and what was it that changed for you?
I love nature, hiking and camping and just the natural landscape. When I go away, one of the things I love the most is discovering new landscapes, lakes, mountains, rivers, deserts. Ahhh, I miss going away!
I think when you see the devastating effects our way of life has on the natural world on the news or social media, you do feel guilty. The topic of sustainability is more prevalent now too. The climate crisis is real and people are realising there are better ways of doing things.
Absolutely! Sustainable clothing is massively important right now, not just in the threads used themselves but in the manufacturing and delivery processes, too. How crucial is it that artists use ethically sourced, maybe even recycled material for their merchandise?
I think it is crucial. I honestly believe sustainability will become a key consideration for consumers when deciding what to buy and I think there’s a responsibility on the artist to pave the way and set an example.
It’s not as difficult as it once was; there are sustainable suppliers out there! The company I work with use renewable wind to power their factory, and it has regular audits to ensure workers receive a fair living wage. It also uses organic cotton to ensure no nasty chemicals harm the people or environment.
That’s ace, and definitely how it should be! Do you personally feel that the impact of production on the planet has steered you away from physical CDs and vinyl into digital downloads, or do you mix it up a bit?
I do love vinyl and, to be honest, most of them have come from charity shops, so really I see it as saving them from landfill! I mostly listen to music digitally but I do think it’s nice to have a physical copy of music you just adore.
I completely agree! You can get some incredible vinyl for a bargain in charity shops, too.
A lot of artists are thinking sustainably about not just their merch but how their CDs, vinyl, etc, are pressed. Is this a positive step forward?
Definitely! It’s amazing to see people coming up with creative solutions to these issues and I think utilising these solutions for your own music definitely sends a strong, positive message to your audience. I saw on a random article that you can get your record pressed by recycled vinyl offsets and it comes out in a completely unique colour mix, looks cool and is more environmentally friendly – win, win!
What are your top tips for generally monitoring and improving your carbon footprint?
I recently wrote a blog post about my favourite sustainable products of 2021, as making small changes in your everyday routine can make a huge difference! The saying is reduce, reuse and recycle! Check out your local council’s recycling rules and look around the house for disposable items that can be replaced with a reusable alternative.
Can you let us in on any upcoming new projects or designs at Artful Sonder?
New products for the summer! I’m hoping to release new designs in April/May, which will be more vibrant than the first collection, playing on themes like freedom and expression, which I think are quite relevant at the moment.
Whenever there’s new products it means new content. I’ve missed collaborating with other artists in lockdown, so I can’t wait to go out (hopefully in the sun) and get some great photos and video content!