November 25, 2021
We have been doing some research into this: there are certainly some in-depth articles, online debates, academic research and books which look into the idea of the statement piece at length and they offer various definitions including:
We also know from the amazing exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Bags: Inside Out, that Statement Pieces have been around for a very long time. One of the earliest examples in the exhibition is a ‘burse’, a pouch used to carry Elizabeth I’s Great Seal of England; its detailed embroidery designed to convey her personal power as a monarch. Imagine how this feels for us, that our Weekend Bag is in the same exhibition and now part of the V&A’s permanent collection!
Over the years we have been gathering lovely stories from the people who carry our bags, wear our belts or rely on our wallets and purses. Our pieces might be gifts, considered purchases, ways to propose (at least twice now!), and also conversation starters. What we tend to hear, again and again, is that people love what our pieces say about them.
You may have noticed that our branding is pretty subtle, there are no big logos. So we think that our pieces might whisper rather than shout, but this is what we think they are saying:
- That you care for resources; that you would rather help to rescue and reuse materials than opt for something new.
- That you care about makers; that you understand how much time and skill it takes to make a high quality piece and that you are really happy to support a company which pays real Living Wages as a minimum.
- That you want something unique. No two fire-hoses have had the same life, or bear the same scars or are precisely the same shade of red.
- That you want to give back; that sharing is a fundamentally awesome thing to do. The best day of our year is the day we make our annual donations to our charity partners. I can promise you that the joy of giving outweighs any other high we have had as a company.
- That you love the fire service; 50% of our profits from the Fire-hose Collection is donated to the Fire Fighters Charity and fund (among many other things) exercise therapy sessions, hydrotherapy sessions, physio sessions, psychological support sessions, family counselling, food boxes, and a help line.
- That you make slow, considered purchases. You would celebrate our focus on utility, durability, classic design and refusal to produce seasonal collections. You want to know we are here to repair your piece over time and make your belt shorter or longer as required. Your bag is not just for Christmas, it is a long-term commitment.
- That you think women will make amazing solar engineers; 50% of the profits from our rescued leather (Fire & Hide Collection) go to Barefoot College, an incredible charity that tackles almost every single Sustainable Development Goal by design. It educates and empowers women, tackles poverty and ensures a renewable energy future for their communities.
- That you can spot the difference between a business who is making a small proportion of their goods in an innovative way, let's say ‘consciously’, while making the bulk of their goods unconsciously. Intent is important, it is wonderful that some companies are on a genuine transition, but it is always better to invest in action.
Is this your image? We found it on eco_alyn’s insta… Love it!
- That you appreciate ingenuity. Transforming fire-hoses into a usable textile, developing an entirely novel multi-stage process. Creating a circular system for leather scrap to ensure that our pieces can be deconstructed and reconstructed through time. And now, with Queen Mary University, we are designing an open-source, safe, and inexpensive solar forge to rescue littered aluminium!
- That you are a story-teller. We met someone who has proudly been carrying our first ever purse. We only made 200 of these, and they were all sold around 9 years ago. She was so proud to still be using it as an ice-breaker and telling the story of rescued hoses, ingenious design and donations. Almost ten years of narrative makes this a timeless source of statements!
- That you just love red.
We aren’t saying that statement pieces shouldn’t also be bold, stylish, beautiful and well made, but we should also demand that what we wear reflects our values and vision for the future. At a time where it very much matters that everyone does everything they can for the planet and people, your clothing and accessories need to work just as hard.