After many seasons interning at London Fashion Week, Amy Ward decided it was time to break away from the relentless seasonal cycle. In 2015 she founded Bug Clothing, a sustainable womenswear brand where the clothes are made to last. All Amy’s designs are fabricated from linen at her studio in Hackney entirely from designer deadstock.
When and why did you found Bug Clothing?
I started in 2015, just under a year after I left uni and about 2 weeks after I left a job working for another designer. I decided that I wanted to make things that me and my friends wanted to wear, and to make them in a nice way. I got some free small business advice and with a small loan from my family I got a studio and started making.
I think linen might just be my thing. I adore silks and chiffons but in my day to day life, and that of my pals, we need more durable, wearable and breathable materials to do our jobs. Natural fibres wear a lot better than synthetic ones, they have more interesting textures and the stand the test of time.
Instead of following fashion’s unrelenting seasonal cycles, your clothes are timeless and made to last.
Do trends influence you at all?
It might be ignorant to say that they don’t, because although I don’t follow the seasons and latest trends, I do love to look at editorials in magazines such as Unconditional and Twin. That said, older shapes are probably more of an influence on me; at the moment I’m really interested in vintage day dresses. Mostly they are made of synthetic fibres, or really light weight cotton and I wonder what might translate into linen. I try to make garments that are flattering, easy to wear and not too fussy.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My friends. They are all wonderfully talented and all of my pieces are named after them. Many of my friends are makers who move around a lot at work and need to wear things that are practical and comfortable, but also make them feel good enough to wear as they leave the studio to meet friends after work.
Do you design with a woman in mind? Who is she?
She’s got imagination and grace and she’s curious. She’s most likely someone who is as comfortable in trainers and slouchy trousers as she is an ethereal, floaty dress.
The fabrics you use are sourced from designer deadstock. Can you tell us a bit more about this process, and what might happen to this fabric if it wasn’t used by brand like Bug?
To be honest I have no clue where it would all go! I considered buying ‘organic linen’ from the UK but many places send their materials abroad to be ‘washed’ which seems un-necessary. I purchase from a local business with good quality dead stock. It can be a challenge if the supply of a certain material runs out, but I usually find a good match.
All your clothes are made in your studio in Hackney. What’s the sustainable scene like in London today?
I think London and Londoners are becoming much more conscious and aware. I think a lot of us are choosing to buy less and shop more considerately. Spending a bit more on high quality things that are made with care, without a huge carbon footprint is becoming more and more appealing. We aren’t taught enough about how important this is, but I think we’re slowly getting there.
How can people build a more sustainable wardrobe?
I adore shopping at car boot sales and charity shops. For things I really want, I’ll buy from an independent brand or a company that produces considerately. We just don’t need loads of things! I also believe in exercising restraint and not buying things that you are a bit uncertain about – you won’t end up wearing it. Wait until you find something you adore.
How easy is it to repair clothes? Where can someone start who isn’t a seamstress?
You can literally learn anything online. There’s a youtube tutorial for everything! I use it for cutting patterns and it’s so useful. I love seeing amazing old jackets and coats that have been patched up and repaired, it just makes me happy because a hole is not worth throwing away a coat for! You can always take your items to a local tailor if you find it difficult or if something goes wrong.
And finally, what does 2018 hold for Bug Clothing?
I hope to keep growing my little business. I would love to employ some permanent sewers so that we can start producing more of the designs in my mind. I’ve got an exciting new collection of dressier shapes coming this spring and I’m also aiming to work on a winter collection to take things year-round.
Shop BUG here