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Behind the brand with Saywood

Published: 28-09-2022

This Secondhand September, we’re thrilled to be growing our community of brand partners by welcoming Saywood to OWNI’s resale collective. Saywood is a contemporary London womenswear label that was born out of a love for colour and unique designs that last. If you’re already a Saywood customer, your past purchases are waiting in your digital wardrobe to be reworn or resold.

We caught up with founder Harriet to go behind the brand…

Meet Harriet, the founder of Saywood

When did you start Saywood?

I launched Saywood in October 2020, having started work on the brand and the pattern blocks about 4 years before, alongside working full time as a designer. Having worked at different companies, I’d really started to think about what people really wanted from their clothes, and I had a lot of conversations with friends, family and colleagues, and felt like there was a bit of an untapped area in colourful, wearable everyday essentials; those that just felt that little bit more special. And when it came to sustainability, the industry was still so slow to get moving. I think anything we create and put into the world should always come from a base of true responsibility to people and planet; I wanted to prove that it was possible to work responsibly and fairly with the supply chain, creating beautiful pieces without an excessive price tag.

What makes Saywood different from other fashion brands?

Saywood starts from a place of responsibility and ethics; every part of the process is considered. The collections are small and made in small batches, with each collection slowly added to over time, just as we build our own wardrobes over time. The pieces are designed to be timeless; Saywood is not trend-led.

Saywood uses natural fibres and responsibly produced cellulose. I have a deadstock first approach, or using available stock, so no new fabric is produced, using recycled cotton and Supima cotton as much as possible. And everything down to the trims is considered, so for example, the buttons are from Cotswolds based button maker Courtney & Co, who use corozo or Codelite, from milk casein, both eco-friendly and biodegradable. .

The partnerships are really important, as they are as much a part of keeping sustainability at the heart of the brand. I work with factories that are doing things fairly, paying well above the living wage, and who are working to manufacture in a more environmentally friendly way. And that goes for the rest of the supply chain. I work with just a handful of fabric mills, all of which I have a long standing and trusted relationship with. They all have committed policies of fair wages and high social standards, and are taking steps to reduce their impact.

What does circularity mean to you?

To me, circularity means going full circle on the product’s lifecycle. There is effectively no finite ‘end of life’, everything can be repurposed, redesigned, reused, recycled and reformed in some way. That needs to be the goal, but ultimately, prolonging the lifetime of which the product is in use is really important to this; we want to be making big circular loops rather than small ones, because we should be designing and creating for purpose.

Why is Saywood joining OWNI?

Resale is the next stage in the plan for circularity at Saywood; I think it’s really important to offer customers a trusted and easy route to resale, to keep their Saywood pieces in circulation for longer. Passing our much treasured items on helps us know that those pieces will continue their story; I love knowing that something that has been pre-owned has come with its own story, it always makes me wonder what that might have been. When you buy something, the aim should always be to love it forever. But in reality, our style evolves, our bodies change; the pieces we love often have to be passed on at some stage. I’m always gutted when a piece I love no longer fits me. OWNI is a great platform to be able to sell on those pieces to someone that’s going to love it after you.

What are you selling on OWNI?

Customers can sell any of their Saywood pieces they’ve previously purchased. In the future we will also have archival pieces and samples available to purchase on OWNI, but at the moment, being only almost two years old, these sorts of pieces aren’t available yet directly from Saywood. I only design and make what is needed for the collections to keep waste to a minimum, keeping the samples made minimal. So whilst it’s an early stage for the brand, I think it’s really important that customers have a trusted resale option available to them for when they want it.

You can shop and sell pre-loved Saywood here.