We featured in the Evening Herald online and in the weekend supplement!
Designer for Puma and Fred Perry returns from London to Plymouth to launch ethical fashion label
By CarlyHerald | Posted: March 16, 2016
AFTER working for the likes of Puma, Radley and Fred Perry in London, you'd think that Amy Whybrow would be in the perfect city to launch her own label.
Think again. After seventeen years of success as an accessories designer in the big smoke, the 39-year-old decided to move back to Plymouth five years ago to pursue her own business.
Hawthorn was born in 2013, an ethical clothing brand based in Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard.
For the seaside-loving designer, Plymouth was the perfect place to launch her brand.
"I was commuting two hours each way every day and I just felt fed up.
"I wanted to come back to Plymouth to be back by the sea, I need my sea fix. I think this city just takes a bit of a hold on you.
"It is important for me to be in the right environment. Plymouth has helped to shape what Hawthorn has become."
Amy's clothing reflects a theme of nature, inspired by walks on beaches and Dartmoor with her husband and their pet dog.
"I take photos of random things all of the time, like patterns on a rock," she laughs, "sometimes I'll look a bit crazy when I'm calling after my other half to look at the colours!
Fabric prints include patterns taken from a shell, sand patterns after the tide goes out and leave prints.
"The coast is my biggest inspiration, that's where I spend most of my time and it really draws me in."
Although she is unable to make her products 100% ethical, all of her clothing meets the Fair Wear Foundation standards.
Not only does she use organic cotton, which avoids nasty chemicals polluting water which villages would use, but she also uses bamboo and linen which are sustainable sources.
"I'm a vegetarian and a nature lover and I want to help conserve the environment for the future. I do worry about these sorts of things.
"I can't claim to have a halo, because it's not 100% organic but wherever I can I do."
The entrepreneur, who was born in Wiltshire but moved to Plymouth at the age of two, discovered her love for fashion early in life.
She explains: "Fashion is a part of me, my Great-Gran's family used to own a wool mill in Lancashire and my Grand-dad used to work for Nottingham Lace.
"From my early teens I knew it was what I wanted to do, my dad is an accountant and suggested I become one too, and I new couldn't do it – I'd be too bored!"
After studying a BTEC in Fashion at Plymouth College of Art, Amy moved to London at the age of 18 to study Fashion at the Surrey Institute.
However, despite being involved with the industry for over twenty years, the designer cannot see herself doing anything else.
"It makes me happy," She smiles, "I think it's really nice when you create stuff and you see people wearing it or using it. Even with Hawthorn which is relatively small brand I've seen people carrying around one of my bags and it just makes me think 'wow!' Obviously I have been through that with PUMA more often, but when it's your own baby it feels even more special and that gives me a buzz.
"I am about to launch a womenswear collection and the big dream is to eventually take the brand to America, I've already had people from the States visiting my website."
See the online version Read more: