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Artisanal Lab: a platform dedicated to showcasing craftsmanship of global artisans, from students to recent graduates, Bav Taylor
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Producing with scraps: having certifications doesn’t grant for real ethical practices

«If I can create a luxury brand that has a strong message and gets on the catwalk, it can inspire the industry to become more conscious». In conversation with Bav Tailor

Bav Tailor – the brand

Bav Tailor, London born and Indian by origin, founded her eponymous fashion brand in 2013, releasing her first collection in 2015. A big part of the brand’s identity is among the materials used, choosing ethical and certified suppliers — although not always the case — with innovative textiles and fabrics. Within her brand, there is a space entitled Artisanal Lab; a platform dedicated to showcasing work from students and recent graduates who were seeking visibility with their creations. «Now it’s developed into a platform for artisans around the world like communities that are in need; in hope that bigger brands could see and provide them with larger productions». Considering this, her aim encompasses a broader topic: to demonstrate that ethical artisanal fashion can share a common place in high-end luxury. «It’s something that is still high quality so the price is going to be the equivalent of that. Just because it’s made in Beirut or India or Africa, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to have a cheap price on it»

Lampoon review: Projects featured in the Artisanal Lab capsule

Picking which artisans to work with isn’t a complicated process for her. At the moment, she is focusing on three artisanal projects, all varying in their location and production type. In Beirut, she is working with Studio Kunukku, a design studio dedicated to telling stories of communities through lost crafts. For Tailor, she was most interested in the block printing technique to tell the story. «It’s a lost tradition and people think that it’s a cheap process. I didn’t want them to create new blocks, I wanted them to use existing blocks so the whole story telling would be about the preexisting block». She is also working with a UK-based brand called Kapdaa, in which they focus on producing with scraps of waste fabric, and Afrikiko, a project with artisans based in Kenya in which she collaborated to create incense and candle stick holders using local materials. 

Her manifesto – tackling with the broadness of sustainability 

To help her circumnavigate the world of sustainable and ethical luxury fashion, Tailor explains her 360° manifesto. As she was developing them, the UN sustainability goals were launched which further helped her to integrate some key points. «I will never say that I’m one hundred percent sustainable. There is always a way to improve». Although she understands that there will always be non-sustainable elements in any production, she describes her process and herself as a minimalistic designer. She doesn’t have moodboards or paper drawings: «everything is in my head or my MacBook». Her digital design process encourages little to no waste, further being tested by the practice of creating multiple prototypes for one garment. «In the beginning I would create only one prototype. Now, seventy percent of my new collections don’t have a prototype. From my digital design, I create the paper pattern and what you see on the catwalk is the first and final piece». In her manifesto, she includes the area on social contribution to help organizations and agencies, describing it as «more of a personal endeavor to generate money to support these charities». 

Materials and textiles – the essence of her brand 

Tailor remains connected to her Indian heritage in a number of ways. It was a trip back to India with her family which gave her the push to start this realm of her brand. It showed her where her ancestors came from and what luxury brands meant to the people living there: low paying with minimal social commitment. This is what makes the rose petal fabric, «the most precious. We use a lot of it in India for prayers. It gave me the opportunity to connect with my roots». Regarding one of the most sustainable fabrics she uses, it is one of the very first materials which she sourced: nettle fabric. It’s lightweight and durability is what defines this customer retention. «I had used it in my first collection and I re-launched it in the new Spring/Summer ’22 Chandra collection», explains Tailor. Apart from recycling waste textile in the fashion industry, innovation lies within recycling waste from other industries. The marble industry produces a lot of waste from production and carving, creating a lot of excess. At a showroom in Italy, Tailor met the girls who «use that excess to make this marble powder which is then pasted with sustainable fabric». Describing it as an «interesting fabric», Tailor mentions that her marble extract pants are the only ones who don’t need ironing when taken out of her baggage. The significance of R&D in the field of innovative materials is demonstrated by the extent in which the marble extract fabric has progressed. Initially a much rougher material, resembling that of a «trench coat», the fabric is now part of the new Bentley homeware collection acting as a much more soft and luscious fabric. Tailor has around twenty different suppliers from all over the world, give or take. Always adding new ones and seeking for the next innovative and sustainable material. Her designs are inspired by these materials, not the other way around: «I don’t have an aesthetic idea of my collection until I have the materials. It’s what I want to communicate about what that fabric does». In the case of this year’s collection, her focus is to showcase flow and softness through the materials she uses. The previous trench-like texture of the marble extract fabric has developed into a much softer feel, inspiring Tailor to add it to her collection in the design of a hoodie; a piece which mirrors comfort and warmth. 

All are no-cruelty, recycled or post-waste materials and details acquired through trusted quality suppliers, Bav Taylor

Certifications don’t guarantee a shared philosophy 

Rather than sourcing fibers and production processes, Tailor directly aims to support those already in the market who need exposure. «My brand is more of a bridge to shed light on the fabrics that are already available» and by doing so, people have the opportunity to develop materials which encompass their beliefs and culture, without having outside influence controlling the process. She had sourced a supplier in Peru who produced eco-cotton fabric laced with copper fiber; copper holds healing and antibacterial qualities. During the pandemic, the supplier distributed his fabrics to hospitals, not only helping the fight against the virus but getting his material known in the market. From elephant ear leaves to marble extract to fish skin, Tailor has accumulated suppliers which fit into her philosophy. She is adamant about keeping to her holistic sphere and mantra ‘respect your body and your sphere’; something which she hopes her suppliers respect. This concept falls under her reasoning for why she doesn’t base her decision in choosing a supplier solely on certifications. «Certifications cost money», she admits. If they don’t have a certification but share the ethical and sustainable intentions, nothing more is needed. On the other hand, Tailor also mentions that a supplier could have all the certifications in the world «but don’t fall under my philosophy of being ethical on a daily basis»

Natural vs synthetic fibers

Seventy percent of the materials she uses is made up of natural fibers, making «the product much more circular in terms of being biodegradable». Tailor understands the complexity of recycling a blended textile, especially synthetic ones. This is why she is determined to only blend her fabrics with natural fibers. «The less mixed the fibers, the easier it is to recycle». If her pieces are made from synthetic fibers, «they aren’t mixed» and they are made like that «for a purpose»; much of her athflow wear collection is created by using Tencel, a cellulosic fabric extracted from wood through a pulp-to-fiber process.

The dyeing process for Bav Tailor

In terms of how sustainable the entire process is, her Artisanal Lab capsule collections are produced through the support of local craftsmen from all over the world. Regarding her collections, the production team is small who «either produce the pieces in house or they discuss with their suppliers who they’ve had a relationship with for many years». Keeping up with the traditions of sustainability, Tailor requests that all textile waste from the production be collected to donate to young creatives to create new collections. For many fashion brands who aim to be environmentally-friendly, one of the challenges to work around is the dyeing process. For Tailor, many of her pieces are either naturally dyed or not dyed at all. Some of her Biellese wool which comes from the alps of Biella, for example, is certified for not containing any dye. «I am experimenting with this new technique called Green Drop which is a printing technique that uses dyed pigmentation. They print it on paper and the paper is transferred onto the fabric. There is minimal wastage in terms of water and energy used». Tailor is currently working on new projects and seeking new suppliers who hold innovative materials. A newly integrated material which will be seen in her upcoming collections derives from cactus.

Bav Tailor

Born in London and with Indian heritage, designer Bav Tailor started designing collections for her eponymous fashion label in 2015 with the aim to encourage young creatives starting out in the industry. Since then, she has developed a sphere with a mantra dedicated to researching the materials and textiles she uses. Her suppliers are international and all vary in their innovative materials — marble extract, fish skin, eco-cotton and so much more.

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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