Meet the couple behind cult fashion brand Paynter Jacket Co

“It all started as some sort of experiment,” says Huw Thomas, co-founder of now cult fashion brand Paynter Jacket Co. “Our starting point was overproduction and overconsumption in the fashion industry. Could we take our business model in the completely opposite direction and make it work? “

If Huw had his doubts, surely they were allayed the day Paynter’s newly launched jackets sold out online in 86 seconds.

The idea of ​​starting a jacket business came up on Huw and his fiancée Becky Okell’s first date. Forged by their experiences working in fashion – Huw for Welsh label Hiut Denim Co and Becky for Nike in London – the two young people in their twenties wanted to start a business that would eliminate the gross volumes of waste that the fashion industry uses. fast has become. defined.

Huw and Becky

/ Sam wright

Enter Paynter, who makes limited edition jackets in batches, to order, making sure that by the time the fabric is cut in the factory, it already has someone’s name on it.

“We’re the opposite of an impulse buy,” says Becky, sitting next to Huw in Paynter’s light-up studio at Hackney Downs. “Of the roughly 100 billion garments made each year in the world, a fifth may never see the light of day. This system continues because it is the most profitable. It is also the most harmful. In contrast, we sell one style of jacket quarterly to a few hundred people at a time, knowing the exact size and color each customer wants before they start manufacturing. ‘

Mark without a face this is not the case. Indeed, the people who will wear and care for Paynter jackets are so essential to the identity of the company that they digitally take their customers behind the scenes at every step of the manufacturing process.

“It takes about eight weeks to build to order,” says Huw. “By working with a local videographer at our factory, we realized we had a great opportunity to show everyone who has purchased one of our jackets what is really going on during this time. Normally, you never see how a product is made, by whom, under what conditions. But if you can get someone to really invest in a product, they’re more likely to care. ‘

Becky at work

/ Sam wright

Becky and Huw take great pride in creating a model for a better way of producing clothes. But they are keenly aware that the big picture will only get better when more and more businesses start to take it for granted that doing things the right way, and not just as a marketing stunt.

“There’s no question that something needs to change across the industry,” says Becky.

“If we can achieve what we have as a small brand of two people, we can show others that it is possible.”

What are the benefits of going greener?

“The way we do things has a huge impact on the way our customers appreciate clothing and shows that there is another, less expensive way of doing things in the fashion industry.”

Why is sustainability important?

“It is not uncommon for excess clothing to be incinerated, contributing to climate change. The results of unsustainable practices are all around us, no matter what industry you look at. We can all make changes if we think about it.

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