Every week, we’re shining a spotlight on the best small brands we think are worth shouting about. We love our great British high street, but there are so many fantastic independent brands out there making products from a place of passion and love and we need to support them – now more than ever.
From fashion and beauty to homeware and accessories, we’ll be bringing you the best small businesses you need on your radar. This week, we chat to Lauren Lewis, CEO and founder of Glassworks…
How did Glassworks come about?
We launched in 2010 in a converted glassworks factory in Shoreditch, London (hence the name). We started as an online store but later that year, we hustled our way into the first Glassworks pop-up shop in Covent Garden. A particularly supportive landlord supported us with pop-up after pop-up until we finally opened our first permanent store in Shoreditch in 2014. During the midst of the pandemic, we re-launched our online store and Instagram.
What 3 words would you use to describe the Glassworks style?
Playful, edgy and luxurious.
Who is the Glassworks customer?
The Glassworks customer is someone who appreciates a little luxury, but also isn’t afraid to wear bold designs, like a checked grandpa vest or a hot pink cardigan adorned with mini zebras. All our collections are a unique mix of simple, high-quality pieces with a twist and more daring, trend-led styles.
Where do you get inspiration for designs?
It won’t come as a surprise that we’re inspired by London and especially east London, given where we started. We’re lucky to have stores in very cool parts of town so we see fashion, art and culture change in real-time. And it doesn’t hurt that our customers are daring and ahead of the curve.
We like to combine high end, finished design with raw, edgy elements that have an east London feel. We also never take any of it too seriously – fashion should be fun. So, there will always be playful, humorous elements in the collections and in-store.
Tell me a bit about how Glassworks strives to be sustainable.
As sustainability is becoming a non-negotiable for companies globally, the fashion industry has a huge opportunity and responsibility to make a positive impact here. We saw an opportunity to avoid mass production, instead of dropping limited-edition collections weekly. For years this has allowed us to bring constant newness to our customers with the added benefits of both avoiding end of season waste and using smaller scale supply chains that adhere to strict labour and environmental regulations.
We have a lot more in the works in this area and will publish a manifesto of sorts later this year to be transparent about our efforts and hold ourselves accountable. We believe that companies need to take the lead on sustainability initiatives and we are very much up for the cause.
Which Glassworks piece are you most looking forward to wearing this year?
It’s hard to pick a favourite when we have new drops every week, but one piece we are particularly looking forward to launching is our new Cloud Sweater Vest, inspired by our popular Blue and White Intarsia Cloud Wool Blend Jumper. It is dropping in bright pink and baby blue and we can’t wait to wear it this spring with our newly launched line of denim.
Anything exciting planned for the brand this year?
This year, we’re releasing a brand manifesto, focused on our efforts in sustainability and diversity. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to develop on existing programmes internally and are excited to communicate these efforts better to our customers, who we believe share many of our same values.