Because the Carnival Collection is made from recycled offcut leather every bag is a unique set of colours. This means that there are hundreds of colour combinations to choose from!
That is where the colour request form comes in....
Ever wondered the process we go through when you send us a Colour Request form for The Carnival Collection?
We go behind the scenes to show you what happens.
1- The Colour Request is received at our office.
2. We go through the bags in stock and pick out six bags of various colours, taking into account any specifications that have been made on the form eg bright colours, no pinks.
3. We take a photo of the front and back of the chosen bags to send to you.
4. The bags then go on a separate shelf with a note with your name on while we wait for you to choose your preferred bag.
We get lots of these requests each day and it can be very time consuming but we feel this is the best way to be able to let you, our customers choose their very own unique What Daisy Did bag!
If we don't hear back from you within 48 hours you will receive a reminder email from us that you have requested colours, we don't mean to bug you but the shelves fill up very quickly and we need to keep on top of the requests to make things run smoothly here at What Daisy Did HQ!
The creative juices have been flowing in the studio lately. Here is what we have been up to.
There is a boat sail manufacturer over the road from our studio, and on a whim we went and visited them to see what they do with their waste. It turns out that they waste quite a bit of materials and so we took a variety of materials back with us. They told us that each boat uses 3 different materials on their sails, and so we had a nice variety of textures, colours, and thicknesses to experiment with. The materials are very durable and waterproof making it perfect for bag making. The only annoyance is the rustling sound the thinner materials make. This material is made specifically to make a noise so that the sailor can tell how much wind they have. Amazing right!? We made these camera strap prototypes for a client, which was a great way of testing the materials on our sewing machines. Depending on the availability of the material we hope to make a limited collection of colourful bags and purses, with some colourful zips incorporated.
We recently teamed up with Bala Sport, a fairtrade football manufacturer and official partners of the Homeless World Cup. Bala Sport were interested in the way we have been tackling homelessness through our unique recruitment process and asked us if we could do anything with the promotional banners left over from this years tournament. We came up with this simple sport bag design that's spacious enough to carry a football and sports kit. All proceeds will go to The Homeless World Cup; a unique, pioneering social movement which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their lives. The bags retail at £24.99 and are available to pre order directly from Bala Sport.
We have previously worked with Festival Republic making draw string bags out of tents discarded at Reading, Leeds and Latitude Festival. They recently contacted us to see if we would be up for the challenge of designing a 6ft lamp to stand 16ft tall at music festival entrances. This was the prototype we came up with. We have used polyester from discarded tents which glows when illuminated. We spaced each strip so as to create the effect of diffraction around the lamps. The circular parts of the lamp are also recycled 26" bicycle wheels.
UK MADE . 90% RECYCLED MATERIALS . CREATING EMPLOYMENT FOR THE HOMELESS
MILITARY GRADE MATERIALS
'What Daisy Did' have been hibernating for the last few months, working on our new collection of bags.
We have achieved our ambition of creating our most durable bags yet, whilst still maintaining our values of sustainability and high ethical standards.
We introduce to you the first of ten designs. We are calling this the Brooklyn backpack, and each bag will be named after Cities of the world.
These bags are made from over 99% locally sourced materials with approximately 95% being recycled.
We have found a huge ongoing local supply of broken military canvas tents that come from the Ministry of Defense. Some of these tents are large enough to land small planes in! The canvas is very thick and durable, In fact much of it has already survived 30 years, and we expect it to survive another 30! Even the straps, webbing features and plastic hardware are surplus military grade materials. The creation of these bags have a very small carbon footprint.
The only new materials on this bag are the zips and the thread. We have sourced our zips locally from a factory in Leicester, which is the last remaining zip factory in the UK, with the next nearest being in Poland. We spent an afternoon looking around the factory and made this short video of our zips being made.
Strength has been our main priority with this collection and every design detail reflects this. We aren't using seams in areas of heavy strain. Large compartments are double lined and every seam edge is sealed. We are using the strongest available thread (normally used for heavy duty leather work). In fact we are so confident of their strength that we are offering a 3 year guarantee with every bag.
We have been working with a lady called Angela who has retired from a 45 year long career as machinist and clicker (cutting materials). Angela started her career as a dress maker at the age of 15 and has since worked on making shoes, leather jackets and other garments. For the last 20 years Angela has made bags in her spare time as a hobby, she contacted us to see if we could challenger her with the task of making some of our designs. Angela has a very technical mind when it comes to design and has helped us find the perfect balance between strength, functionality and simplicity.
We have also employed our first UK based machinist called Dawn. Dawn has an extensive career history having worked on sewing machines for 49 years. She has a portfolio of work which covers everything from dresses to underwear. For the last 20 years Dawn has taught fashion at the university of Northampton. For 10 years Dawn has worked as a sample maker which has given her the ability to work with incredible precision.
We recently teamed up with The Northampton Hope Center, a local homeless charity. Together we are piloting a scheme to offer employment to vulnerable and homeless people. A new Lottery funded project will allow for a liaison officer to support the candidates transition into the role. Angela and Chris are our first two employees and will be given the opportunity to learn from Dawn and gain invaluable skills and experience that they can carry with them throughout the rest of their life. As our business grows we will continue to work with the hope centre to find new employees.
We believe this scheme will be a huge success and hope to set an example to other employers. We will be writing future blogs on the progress of this scheme. A portion of each sale will be donated to the Hope centre. More about my thoughts on homelessness can be read here.
Angela cutting patterns (left), Dawn sewing the bags together (centre), Chris cutting up the tents (right).
Northampton is famed for its history of manufacturing (predominantly shoes), and much of Northampton is built upon the industrial revolution. For decades now we have seen a decline in production as we have shifted towards industries such as distribution and finance. We are lucky enough to work with two people that still hold the incredible skills that Northampton no longer practices, and we hope that they can be revived. We want to get Northampton creating and exporting again!
Angela (left) and Dawn (right) working out technical details on our first prototypes.
Our Brooklyn Backpack is expected to go on sale in the next couple of weeks with a new design being launched each month for ten months.
RRP for this design will be approximately £89, if you are interested in purchasing, stocking or reviewing any of our new products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Ozric Vondervelden,
Co-owner of 'What Daisy Did'.
We recently bought some new equipment for our studio/offices. Like with most things that we buy, we spent some time researching different manufacturers ethics, sustainability and value for money. We decided to buy second hand equipment both more than 40 years old, and here's why.
Not made like they used to be
I believe it to be true that things aren't made like they used to be. These items are made from chunky hard wearing materials with not a piece of plastic on them. They have stood the test of time with the scales being over 60 years old. Made from cast iron they weigh 150KG, a quarter of the weight of my small car! When I looked for scales of a comparable price on Amazon I found these --->
I would love to see how these are fairing in 60 years time.
Businesses used to pride themselves on their reputation, and the brands with the best reputation would lead the market. Competition wasn't so much about driving prices down and cutting corners, but about making better products. We all get caught out and forget to consider who is profiting, in fact I just confessed that I was browsing Amazon! A company that we all know avoids Tax and treats its staff terribly!
Modern scales and sewing machines are made of brittle plastics, a material that has drastic effects on our environment. We accept this sacrifice in exchange for cheaper products and subsequently lesser quality. Manufacturing is outsourced to countries with lax or non-existent labour laws in order to cut costs, but at what cost? There are an estimated 150 million child labour workers worldwide and nearly 21 million people, thats 3 in every 1000 that are victims of forced labour. A lot of these will be found making the products that I speak of.
Capitalism has created a world of disposability. Whether it.s electrics, clothes or homewares, businesses have made conscious decisions to make their products disposable so that you keep coming back for more. This tactic is often known as planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence. Fashion is a great example of this with leaders of the industry pushing for micro-trends in order to phase out our traditional four seasons, which to some people will limit the use of their clothes.
When considering a products sustainability you should consider how far the finished product and its components have had to travel to get to you. Our scales were made in Birmingham and the sewing machines most likely in the Brothers Factory in Manchester. To get something sent from China it takes approximately 5000 air miles. Buying locally also helps the local economy.
Second hand holds value
When calculating value for money we forget to consider the longevity of the products life. Buying a T-shirt for £3.50 from Primark might seem like a bargain at first glance. But not if you can spend twice as much for a product that will last ten times longer.
Resale price is also something to think about. If in the future you no longer need an item, will you be able to get any of your money back? With these sewing machines and scales, I know that I will be able to resell them at the price I paid for them and I haven't contributed to more production. The moment you take a new car off the forecourt you have instantly lost hundreds or thousands of pounds. Buying second hand can be a great way of maintaining a products value. It's also a great way of buying for less in the first place. We have been brainwashed into believing that we need to constantly buy new things when most second hand products are as good if not better. You may also be saving them from landfill!
To celebrate Fashion Revolution Day I have decided to do this blog post giving you a sneak peek at some footage that is soon going to be included in our Documentary telling the story of how are bags are made and the new designs from our Forest Collection.
In the video below you will see 2 of the master tailors that work for Pinu and Manish (the brothers who co-ordinate the India side of things for us) drawing and cutting out the patterns for one of our new designs. The tailors names are Babu and Raju and they live in a village 1 hour from Pinu and Manish's house. They are best friends who are also studying art at the same university together.
In the video they are discussing the patterns with Pinu (far right) and then you hear our voices in the background agreeing to chai (we drank so much chai while in India!)
follow the hashtags #whomademyclothes #fashionrevolution on twitter to find out more.
Having spent several years working at most of the UK's major music festivals, working various roles associated with managing the sites waste and recycling, an experience that really opened us up to the reality of our disposable lifestyles. We (me, Daisy and my partner Ozric) decided to spend 3 months from the 07/01/2013 travelling in India, it was here that we met Pinu and Manish who were already creating amazing things out of recycled materials and where the idea for our recycled leather bag range became a reality.
We then headed to Goa to spend some time relaxing on the beach, drinking cocktails and swimming in the sea every day!
The most famous market in Goa is the Anjuna flea market which was jammed full of textiles and jewellery of every kind imaginable, the smell of spices mingling with the sea breeze.
From Goa we travelled to Hampi, known for its strange rock formations and beautiful temples.
From Jaisalmer just 200km from the border with Pakistan we went on an overnight Camel Trek into the Thar Desert where our guides cooked us a simple, traditional rice meal and we slept on blankets on the sand dunes.
Having spent time in some rather rural settings, it was really nice to be away from western consumerism pressures. Everything we spent money on had a direct impact on the local community.
We started our travels on the South West Coast with the plan to travel up the whole of the West Coast and then on to Nepal. The first place we visited was Kerala, known for its beautiful greenery and houseboats where we took a tour in a little rowing boat and had lunch at the house of the friend of our driver which was served on a banana leaf, eaten with your hand and grown only a few metres away from the table from which we were eating, it was really good to be able to have that sort of connection with the food you were eating, knowing everything about how it got from the ground to you.
In Mysore we met a Tuk Tuk driver who heard about our interest in local crafts and showed us all the different crafts that the city is famous for, the handrolled Bidi cigarettes that all Indians smoke, I got taught how to make incense sticks and we saw traditional wedding bed headboards being intricately hand carved. Each person who makes each of these things is so skilled at their craft and there is a whole community spirit around each one. Everyone was more than happy to tell us about their work and they all clearly loved what they do. It was refreshing to see someone making the thing that we were buying (incense) as when you buy from a shop in England you forget that it is someones livelihood! He also taught us both to drive his Tuk Tuk but with the crazy traffic in the cities I think we will leave the driving to him!
Daisy and Ozric at Latitude Festival
Learning to make incense sticks
One of the camels we rode and the desert sunset.
Since leaving Tibet, the Dalai Lama has taken up residence in Dharamsala, Northern India in the Himalayas and we visited the temple where he lives.
After submerging ourselves in the modest lifestyles of the Tibetan Buddhist community, we were really drawn in by their pacifistic, minimalist honest and natural lifestyles. So of course we found it very ironic that we caught a monk slipping on a pair of Ugg boots around the time that Ugg where being scrutinized for their mistreatment of animals.
It was in Rajasthan that we met Pinu and Manish, With the shock of the festivals still in our mind we came across their shop where they were already creating incredible things from recycled materials and we were completely blown away by their work. We soon began on our own range of recycled leather bags. The idea behind the range was to create something that wouldn't cost the earth, and also live a long life. We brought them back expecting to just sell them to friends and family but word soon spread and we set up our first retail outlet in Vintage Retreat selling not just the bags but other goodies that we had brought home with us.
Mcleod Ganj and a Monk putting on his uggs.