Another ethical designer showcasing for the first time, is Jan Townsend of Jacob James. From the unlikely beginnings of discarded fabrics, plastic bottles and weeds, Jacob James invests love and creates beautifully sustainable hats.


The inspiration for Jacob James A/W 2011 comes from transformation – taking the ugly, unsightly and unloved and fashioning it into beautifully tailored hats. The pallet of soft greys with an accent of beige/blue is a reference to dusk, a time when all things are transfigured by the change from day to night.

When I briefly caught up with Jan at LFW, here’s what she had to say:

Q. Tell me a little about yourself and your design background?

I actually have an engineering background, so that’s how I learnt to draw, and I then transferred the skills. The designs for the hats basically come from the fabrics, as that is what we’re all about – the stinging nettle fabrics, and the recycled bottle fabrics. There are certain designs of hats that you can go for with those fabrics, so you have to start with the fabrics, see what they’re capable of, and then take it from there.

Q. What was the inspiration behind doing ethical and sustainable fashion?

We wanted to create hats that you could wear when it’s cold, so a useful product, but with these interesting fabrics. Originally we started making bags out left over leather that we had access to, but we found the market was already quite full, and then someone asked us if we could make hats, so we went away and drafted some patterns, took them to her and she was our first hat customer. So we’ve just stuck with the hats since then.

Q. Have you encountered any challenges when trying to adhere to this ethical philosophy?

Actually no we haven’t.

Q. What do you think the future is for sustainable fashion?

I think it will go into the mainstream. I think people will just used to seeing it in the shops, and you won’t have to go to specific ethical outlets to get it.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring ethical fashion designers?

I don’t know…I wish somebody would give me some! I suppose just to be thick-skinned and keep going.

Q. If you had to choose one famous person to be your muse, who would it be?

Bertie Wooster!

Stockists include: Corina Corina, Warwick; Black Swan, Somerset; walford Mill, Dorest..

For more information on Jacob James and to view the collections, visit the online shop: