Non-organic cotton has been dubbed the ‘world’s dirtiest crop’ by the Soil Association, due to the enormous impact conventional farming methods have on the air, water, soil and communities close to cotton growing areas.
Many of us don’t realise that what we wear started life in the soil. Cotton is grown in a field, with the fluffy fibre then picked and spun into thread. Once woven, the resulting material is light, breathable, easy to work with and easy to wear, which is why more than half the clothes sold in the UK are made from cotton. Now more than ever it is important to be seeking out fashion brands that use only organic materials in their collections, since organic farming is the only system which eliminates highly toxic substances from the environment and instead works holistically, for the long-term benefit of people and the planet.
Organic cotton sits at the heart of every Beaumont Organic collection. “It’s an incredibly versatile material,” says Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia, founder of the sustainable Manchester-based fashion brand. “One of our staple organic cotton fabrics is Felpe, which we use a lot in our new Autumn and Winter collections, because it lends itself so well to sweatshirts, loungewear and daywear.”
We have focused our energies on our core fabrics, ensuring they are meeting our 2020 Vision for transparency
The beautiful imagery from the new A/W collection was photographed on location last year in the Portuguese countryside of Alentejo, at the beautiful Sao Lourenco do Barrocal. “Portugal is a place very dear in my heart,” says Hannah. “We have holidayed there as a family for over 20 years. It was there I met my now-husband, got married and, perhaps most pertinently, established my business in 2008, with one little family-run factory in Braga. The country is without doubt my second home, which made it the perfect location to shoot our A/W20 campaign.”
The collection is a harmonious edit of natural hues and soft fabrics, which lend themselves perfectly to the rugged nature of the Alentejo landscape. “As a team we have consciously chosen not to introduce any new fabric categories this season,” says Hannah, “and instead have focused our energies on our core fabrics, ensuring they are meeting our 2020 Vision for transparency, which builds upon the ethos we established when the brand first launched.”
It’s certainly been an impressive 12 year evolution. “Beaumont Organic has evolved from 8 organic cotton T-shirts back in 2008,” Hannah says, “with me selling the collection from the boot of my car. We now have a collection of 90 styles a season across three colourways, a database of over 65,000 customers and stockists in 12 countries around the world. We also have our flagship store in Manchester, and a global website. It’s been quite a journey!”
The consistency of quality across the Beaumont Organic collections is one of Hannah’s proudest achievements, ensuring that pieces launder well and stand the test of time, remaining in customers’ wardrobes season after season. “The focus through the years has been more staying true to our original values and honouring them,” she tells me. “We are committed to being the destination for sustainable products globally and being a brand people can trust. That means we have to do all the homework and ensure everything we do in the business has a purpose and is transparent.”
“This high quality is something we could only achieve by partnering with the best suppliers and producers. Finding and working with the perfect production team is based on three things: craftsmanship, quality and trust. Our long-standing relationships with our factories in Portugal have made them the perfect partner for this, and we feel like they are part of the Beaumont Organic family.”
Hannah believes it is Beaumont Organic’s responsibility, in line with their ethos, to support small, independent factories. “The mills, dye-houses, pattern-cutters and sewing rooms we work with sit within a stone’s throw of each other on the outskirts of Porto,” she says, “with family-run teams selected for their secure and safe environments, fair wages and good working conditions. They take their craft seriously, and that’s why we trust them to understand and deliver on our mission of Contemporary Conscious Clothing. We have built a strong level of trust with our suppliers over the years, which in turn is passed to our customers, who trust that the finished Beaumont Organic product matches the ethos on which we pride ourselves.”
“Over the last 12 months I am delighted to say I have begun to see the start of a new era of change in the more mindful way that we are shopping and the lives we want to live,” she says. “Our message is being heard, and our community of followers is growing by the day. Ultimately, I want the brand to be the global destination for organic and ethical living, offering everything you need for a sustainable lifestyle. I want Beaumont Organic to make a difference in the way we live and consume.”
All photography © Emma Pilkington for Beaumont Organic, used with permission.