Meet Alby, founder of Woven Store. Alby curates beautiful responsibly sourced garments and goods, selecting brands and makers that produce all its products as responsibly as possible
For those that don’t know you and your business please can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Woven Store?
I've spent my entire career working in fashion in some respect, managing stores, visual merchandising, buying, consultancy and also teaching fashion retail. Woven Store is predominantly online but works as a pop-up store alongside taking our edits across the UK. I only wanted to work with brands that were kind, responsible in their business as well as finding makers who handcrafted lifestyle products along the way.
How did the creation of Woven Store come about?
Having first started my wholesale business Woven the agency it seemed the natural progression to start up Woven Store but with a different thinking/ethos, to handpick garments and goods that are responsibly sourced and with a definite, easy style.
What sets Woven Store apart from other stores?
I think that we take the leg work out of customers searching and being drip fed the collection in small edits throughout the season. A style that spans a wide age/size group and the ease of building a wardrobe of clothing from us that all fits together. Quality, sustainability, cut and fit are paramount for us to ensure our customers have trust in us as a brand.
How do you go about selecting the brands you stock and the pieces you sell? You sell some beautiful small brands that I adore and are very special.
I'm always on the look out for something new that fits with my style and ethos. Often scrolling through social and visiting trade shows in Copenhagen, New York & Paris. I do buy a selection of brands that I represent in the wholesale side of the business too. It's so exciting when you come across a smaller independent brand that no one else has. Our colour palette is super important; we like to keep things on the neutral side but add a splash of something to keep it fresh. Research is key to ensure we only sell trusted brands. Timeless designs are a given.
There's been a huge surge of interest over the past year in curating a meaningful and conscious wardrobe. Why do you think this sort of philosophy is on the rise?
Fashion is one of the biggest pollutants not only with landfill but also production methods. I think most people now know the importance of not buying throw away fashion. Buy what you need and will wear, make it last. I do believe the pandemic has played a part in this change encouraging consumers to buy better quality and be mindful of how it was made.
Why was it important for you to create a store where sustainability is a focus?
Having worked in the industry all my life I was aware of how the business was having such a negative impact on our climate and decided that this had to be the way forward. Whilst not all our brands are certified sustainable we have put in the research to make sure they are responsibly crafted and will stand the test of time meaning making the clothing you buy last longer. We are working hard to find more brands that are sustainable and our goal if for that to be a given.
What is your favourite part about running Woven Store?
Definitely sourcing and buying the collections, it’s not easy with many considerations to be made. I also love our shoots, styling the clothes and bringing the whole look alive. Also, for me getting messages from our customers about how happy they are with their purchases or help that we've given them is just so rewarding.
What is next for Woven Store? What are you excited about?
The business is steadily growing and I would love to have a bricks and mortar store to really showcase our goods a beautiful surroundings, I'm always excited to be honest - it's what keeps my passion for what I do. Some new brands launching for high summer and autumn which I'm looking forward. Excited to start the buying for SS22 too.
And finally, any tips for starting a more sustainable/conscious
Look at your lifestyle and what you need your clothing for - this changes over time so be realistic. Buy well made key items and basics in neutrals so they fit with everything. Once you find your style it's much easier to only buy things you will wear. Have a good clear out and keep your wardrobe organised.