In this series of articles about inspiring sustainable brands, we’re putting a spotlight on one of them. When you come across so many inspiring sustainable initiatives and brands, you wish to show them all. So we’ve started with Gillian June. This is part two (show me the first part). About craftsmanship, keeping a story alive by wearing it and the hard work and enthusiasm of a founder…
How do you get from an idea
to an actual jacket?
Each season there are 2/3 different cuts of coat and a rough theme. For S/S 17 that was the beach where my mother lived. This meant lots of rough linens and textured cottons. Colours included sea green, grey, teal, tan. Anything with beach hut style stripes.
All the jackets are cut and sewn by hand in London. This ensures a very precise attention to detail. Pattern matching is something I am a bit of a stickler for. It also means that if something doesn’t look quite right as we go, it is easy to change and adapt designs during the process.
The more we respect the process,
the more likely it is we will take care of our clothes and stop treating them as disposable items.
I produce about 50 ready-to-wear jackets per season but the bulk of Gillian June’s business is Made-to-Measure orders. Clients are encouraged to pick the length/style of jacket they would like and then choose the sleeve and collar style, the fabric and all the trimmings.
The custom work is definitely the most interesting- each jacket comes with its own tale. My personal favourite was a woman who had bought a beautiful silk bedspread in India many moons ago. It had been partly destroyed over the year so we were talking about what could be done with it. I managed to use some clever patchworking to make her a beautiful evening jacket out of it.
About the founder:
Please tell a bit about yourself, Imogen. Originally I went to Edinburgh university to study Latin and Ancient Greek but found myself spending all my time sewing so during my second year I dropped out and moved to London to study bespoke tailoring at London College of Fashion.
Gillian June coats should last a life time.
I spent 2 years working as a Coat Makers apprentice on Savile Row followed by a very brief stint on Jermyn Street working for a shirtmaker before starting Gillian June in 2015. I want women to approach clothes in the same way the men in Savile Row do. With high standards and attention to detail, cut, and quality. Gillian June coats should last a life time. – Thanks Imogen!