The Archie Foal Ethos
Coco Chanel advocated that ‘in order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different’. Often, values and principles have a simple meaning whilst holding the greatest value. Here at Archie Foal, there is one central, underpinning ethos which informs everything that we do.
Buy better, buy less
Buy better, buy less. It sounds simple enough: the idea of investing in items that have an enduring quality. But for us, this straightforward ethos is more than buying higher-quality clothing. It’s what Archie Foal is known for.
Remember when you were told not to settle? Whether this advice was talking about that job you hated, a frog you kissed, or piece of clothing which was almost right but not quite. Wherever it can be avoided, convenience should never a substitute for well-being, love or style. Aim for the Goldilocks’ philosophy, that things are just right and nothing less.
As a general rule, when it comes to clothes, you get what you pay for. For the high-street fashion addicts out there who wonder why their wardrobe barely outlives a season, the answer can be found in the quality and lack of transparency of their manufacturing process. Stylish clothes that are well-made last longer, don’t lose their shape over time and won’t in the long term cost the earth.
To us, true luxury unfolds over time, like our Gia wax cotton coat, designed to fit like a glove, gets better with age, is warm and useful and is made from quality fabrications to last at least a decade.
What goes around comes around. Much like karma, fashion is cyclical in nature. In the words of Tessa, our Managing Director, “a classic design that has a twist or small but interesting details is not going to look out of place in 20 years time”. Tessa still wears her grandmother’s cashmere sweater, which still looks as good as it did 30 years ago – because its made from the finest long-staple cashmere, it hasn’t pilled or lost its shape. Tessa explains, “that’s the sort of product that we strive to create, good looking durable and timeless.”
Can’t you just buy better, buy more?
A capsule wardrobe, a minimalist ideal that many, like the best-selling Japanese organising consultant and author Marie Kondo states “is good for your well-being, state of mind and the planet.” We are beginning to see the era of slow living. There is something that all of these types of lifestyles hinge on – a move towards buying and owning less. Many of us are guilty hoarders of an inexcusable quantity of things we never use or wear. Too much in fact, that the planet is drowning in the profligacy of overproduction and waste.
Although many of us would love a walk-in-wardrobe, the reality is most of us wear less than 50% of our clothes and 40% of all clothes are never worn. On top of this, a lot of these unworn items end up unrecycled. Around 300,000 tonnes of textiles were sent to landfills in 2017 in Britain alone, as the throw-away, fast fashion culture continues to be the norm. While doubling the life of clothing from one year to two years would reduce emissions over the year by 24%.
After all, life with less stuff is not necessarily a frugal life. Today, many associate luxuries with opulence, but true luxury is more than sheer extravagance. Throughout history, exquisite items weren’t defined by their quantity, but by their quality. To us, this idea of luxury still stands. We value creating clothing that suits a lifestyle which incorporates limiting unnecessary consumption and buying items that are of higher quality and of personal value that become your enduring wardrobe classics.
Walk the walk
Unfortunately, a well-known name does not always equate with enduring quality. As Julian explains, “overproduction doesn’t just go on along the high street”. His extensive experience working in luxury fashion showed him the difference between well-made clothing and empty labels. It’s shocking that many brands which are considered high-end names create their mass-produced ‘luxury fashion’ in the same factories as their high street counterparts.
What is even more shocking is how much of the fashion industry is wasteful by design. Around 15% of all fabric that was intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor and eventually thrown away. This waste is tolerated industry-wide, with many notable fashion labels planning their production around this accepted waste.
Our founders, Julian and Tessa, knew what they wanted the Archie Foal name to represent from the start. Archie Foal is founded on the premise of integrating traditional methods of clothing manufacturing with contemporary styling, known for its modern yet long-lasting clothes, blending heritage designs with a contemporary, individual edge. Fleeting fashion trends and disposable clothing are not part of the Archie Foal brand values. “As a company, we’re very tight with our production, nearly to the point where we sell out and we have people on waiting lists for certain items”, Tessa explains. As waiting lists are better than waste, it’s rare to find leftover stock in either of the Archie Foal shops by the end of the season.
Regardless of where you decide to wear our clothes – be it in London or a lakeland fell – be assured that your Archie Foal clothes will combine beauty and utility that embodies the ‘buy better, buy less’ ethos.