Inside eco-aware label Ssōne’s crafty London boutique
Ssōne (pronounced, ‘sewn’) is the London-based ready-to-wear label with a social conscience
Organic buzzwords are thrown around the internet like confetti at an ill-fated wedding, yet finally, some authentic change is on its way in the shape of London-born circular fashion label Ssōne. Its founder, Caroline Smithson, spent two decades working for a host of luxury brands before setting up in 2017, aggravated by the endless samples destined for incineration.
Ssōne – pronounced ‘sewn’ – radiates a quiet, shrewd kind of political activism. It’s as much about radical transparency, authenticity, the artisanal, as it is about razor-sharp denim, roomy onion-dyed dresses and hand-done cocooning knits. ‘There’s an innate human desire to be part of something, to follow a trend, follow a tribe, to feel included. The industry could talk less about the fast and talk more about the slow so people understand that alternatives exist,’ she says. Attached to every Ssōne garment is a tag stating the origin of the fabric, the product lifecycle and the craft behind it. Smithson’s time is spent finding mills able to work around their crushing minimums and manufacturers willing to invest in new methods.
‘I can have avocado pits sitting on my windowsill for two weeks before I get the colour I need for dyeing! It’s that patience that I find rewarding,’ — Caroline Smithson, founder, Ssōne
The label’s bare, boho space on Chiltern Street designed by Frederique Barchelard is an incubator for craft – on display are handmade, low-impact timber stools by Tom Gallon and glasses by Jochen Holz. On show are four rugs produced in collaboration with ANOU – a community of Moroccan artisans working next to the Atlas Mountains. Two knot-pile styles have been botanically dyed in the season’s colours and two scrap rugs made using off-cuts from the production process. ‘Essentially, Ssōne is like this tree – the branches are all of the people involved in it. Everything is very slow. I can have avocado pits sitting on my windowsill for two weeks before I get the colour I need for dyeing! It’s that patience that I find rewarding.’ §