Quarterly Review

Quarterly Review—Summer

A look back at some of our favourite moments from this Summer.


Collaborations

Ashley Perkins, the creative behind Motified, explored the importance of moving away from disposable toiletries in her post What's in my Bag, which featured the #033 make-up bag. She tells us why sustainable fashion is important to her below:

I believe that we can use the clothing we wear everyday to let our voices be heard and encourage positive change, whether it be to improve the lives of other human beings or the life of the planet we inhabit. Sustainable fashion is important to me because it has opened my eyes to the possibility of a world in which we don’t have to sacrifice our future—or that of future generations—just to be “fashionable.”
— Ashley Perkins, founder of Motified
A snapshot from Ashley's recent What's in my Bag post for Motified featuring the #033 make-up bag in linen.

A snapshot from Ashley's recent What's in my Bag post for Motified featuring the #033 make-up bag in linen.


Interviewees

Over the Summer we interviewed two women who embody a mindful and conscious approach to living—Besma Whayeb, who documents her sustainable lifestyle on her blog, Curiously Conscious, and Lena Aisha, a poet and the founder of NEO by Lena who built her company on the principle of minimalism.

 

We asked Besma to share her advice for those who want to live more sustainably in our August Interview:

I would say look at your own life first, and see what little changes you can make. Not all changes suit everyone—I still buy more plastic than I care to admit—but the little things will keep you feeling inspired. The eco-friendly toothbrush you clean your teeth with, or the ethically-made handbag that you wear—they become reminders of living sustainably and can lead to even bigger, better things.
— The August Interview with Besma Whayeb

Lena shared with us how her approach to consumerism developed through reading Dominique Loreau's L'Art de la Simplicité in the September Interview:

It was the idea of “decluttering” that really struck me, and how, without even noticing it, most of us are “burdened by our possessions”. We all (hopefully) go through a spring clean every year where we chuck away things we haven’t used in eons. But we still hold on to a plethora of pieces we do not need, be it for sentimental reasons or purely because we’re hoarders. 

Loreau’s book helped me realise that the clutter we accumulate can have an enormous impact on our life—one that is almost imperceptible because it is so gradual. The book details the importance of living a minimalist lifestyle and how the order it brings can counteract everyday feelings of stress and anxiety and improve our self-image and overall quality of life.
— The September Interview with Lena Aisha

Behind-the-scenes

A snapshot from the Veryan Studio instagram.

A snapshot from the Veryan Studio instagram.

It's been a busy summer in the Veryan studio, making up orders and working on next season's collections. We've been hunting for new suppliers as well as working with our old favourites, and have some wonderful new fabrics to work with for the next couple of seasons.

As London has well & truly embraced Autumn, it's hard to remember the heatwaves of early Summer. Long days in the studio were filled with sunshine and we've never been so thankful for easy white linen dresses. After the long summer we're enjoying working with heavier weight fabrics and developing pieces that are in the works for late next year. These pieces have a loose tailored fit, perfect for layering over knitwear on cool autumnal days.

Just a note—the 2017 Summer Collection will be available in the full size range until Sunday 25th October at midnight BST. After that, a few sizes may be left in our Archive but these will be very limited.

Sharing a peek behind-the-scenes in our June photoshoot.

Sharing a peek behind-the-scenes in our June photoshoot.


Collections

Autumn is in full swing in London, so we caught up with the founder of Veryan to find out what's next for the label in the coming season.

Our next instalment on byveryan.co.uk will be a series of new designs for the Core Collection—stripes and super soft jerseys in easy shapes. Perfect for layering and seeing us through this transitional season.
— Veryan Raiker, founder of Veryan
The #033 make-up bag from this Summer's collection.

The #033 make-up bag from this Summer's collection.

Interview

Interview—Lena Aisha, founder of NEO by Lena

Poet and founder of NEO by Lena, Lena Aisha, discusses the creative influences and processes behind her poetry, and shares how NEO came into being, in our August interview.


I have a wide range of artistic influences, but I suppose the common theme running through them all is, first and foremost, an examination of the human experience, and, secondly, a focus on individuality and self-expression.
— Lena Aisha, founder of NEO by Lena
A portrait of Lena.

A portrait of Lena.

Can you tell us a little about your collection ‘Bones of Eden’?

Bones of Eden was my first publication. In truth, it was a very hasty decision to create it—I compiled the poems in the anthology over the space of a month. For the reader it comes across, I assume, as a very mild bildungsroman in poetry form. But for me the importance of it was never the content, rather the compilation. It was the first time I’d ever collected my thoughts into one cohesive body of work, and I feel as though having done that, I’m now more prepared to create longer, more complex pieces of work, and I’m starting to realise my dream of being a published author.

 

Are there particular subjects you’re drawn to when writing?

I think I’m very drawn to the themes of love, happiness, beauty and growth. Much of my work is an examination of how these themes fit into the human existence and I tend to write stories about my own or a character’s experience navigating through life.

 

Who are your artistic influences for both your poetry and writing?

Stylistically, I’m influenced by a lot of Romantic writers—fiction writers such as Enid Blyton and JK Rowling shaped my perception of the craft when I was younger, but as my work has developed I’ve noticed that my influences have also changed. I’m now very drawn to writers who explore grandiose themes (such as love, life and nature) with a personal sensitivity and poetry—writers like Thoreau, Emerson, Rumi, de Botton and Khalil Gibran. 

In terms of the content of my writing, my influences range across multiple disciplines. I find myself echoing the ideals of theatre practitioner Antonin Artaud in one line, and in the next expressing notions that are rooted in Stoicism or other similar philosophical schools of thought. I’m interested in a lot of different topics, and I suppose that they each find a way to influence my own work.

 

Have you any literary projects in the pipeline?

Yes! I’m currently working on my debut novel, which is as daunting as it is exciting. The story is an exploration of the four main types of love that the Ancient Greeks identified (Agape, Philea, Storge and Eros). I’ve found that modern stories are very centred around the last of these, Eros, which is the passionate romantic love we see focused on far too often. With this story, I’m trying to present a more holistic view of love—one that I find encompasses all aspects of the human experience.

I’ve always been a ‘publish the first draft’ kind of person (out of laziness or egotism I’m not sure), but with this story I want to tell it as well as I can, so it may take months or, more likely, years to complete. I’m in no rush.

Lena at the recent NEO showroom event in Bethnal Green.

Lena at the recent NEO showroom event in Bethnal Green.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a vision for the piece you want to create or the story you want to tell before you begin, or is it more spontaneous?

My writing process differs from piece to piece. For stories and longer pieces I usually start with a theme or a message that I want to get across. That is the epicentre—everything else (the plot, the characters, the scenery, etc.) branches out from that. 

With the novel I’m working on, however, it began with a very clear vision of the main character in their home—I knew their name, their occupation and their story arch a year before I began writing the book. This period, from the idea’s manifestation to its actual inception, allowed an organic growth that I’ve found to be invaluable. 

My poetry, however, is very spontaneous. My poems are all very emotion rather than plot driven, and so how I’m feeling is always my starting point. I’ve never made myself write a poem, rather when I feel as though I have something to say (even though at that point I have no idea what it is), I put pen to paper and let my words do all the expression.

 

Have you found that having feet in both the literary & visual canons has influenced your work in either field? Do you find the two complimentary?

Absolutely! Like many of the Romantic writers I look up to, my work often employs visual cues, metaphors and similes (mostly from Nature). I’m also an avid (albeit very amateur) photographer, and so have a very keen eye for beauty. This constant observation of the world translates into image-heavy stories and poems, which I think is now my personal style.

Les Lares, one of the apothecary labels carried by NEO by Lena.

Les Lares, one of the apothecary labels carried by NEO by Lena.

The philosophy of minimalism goes hand in hand with the concept of quality. When you have fewer possessions, the little you do have tends to be of greater quality.
— Lena Aisha, founder of NEO by Lena

You mentioned to me previously how Dominique Loreau’s ‘L’Art de la Simplicité' influenced your approach to consumerism. What was it about her approach to life that most struck you?

It was the idea of “decluttering” that really struck me, and how, without even noticing it, most of us are “burdened by our possessions”. We all (hopefully) go through a spring clean every year where we chuck away things we haven’t used in eons. But we still hold on to a plethora of pieces we do not need, be it for sentimental reasons or purely because we’re hoarders. 

Loreau’s book helped me realise that the clutter we accumulate can have an enormous impact on our life—one that is almost imperceptible because it is so gradual. The book details the importance of living a minimalist lifestyle and how the order it brings can counteract everyday feelings of stress and anxiety and improve our self-image and overall quality of life.

 

How do you fulfil this philosophy through NEO?

The philosophy of minimalism goes hand in hand with the concept of quality. When you have fewer possessions, the little you do have tends to be of greater quality. That is what I’ve tried to bring with NEO. I have and still am trying to create a compendium of high-quality pieces.

 

How did NEO come into being?

I think I fell into the fashion industry quite coincidentally. I was looking for ways to apply Loreau’s teachings of minimalism in a new project and at the time found myself very drawn to the sartorial world. The two combined to create what you see now.

A design by Meraki Collections, from NEO by Lena.

A design by Meraki Collections, from NEO by Lena.

Have you any particular influences in the visual arts, in fashion, photography or otherwise?

In the visual arts, I’m very drawn to the works of photographers Yousuf Karsh, Richard Avedon and Steve McCurry. I think it’s the way they were and are able to capture the essence of the human spirit in a single frame, with Avedon’s portrait of Ezra Pound being perhaps my favourite photograph of all time. In the more traditional world of painting I’m influenced by the works of Friedrich (whose Wanderer Above The Sea of Fog is currently my favourite painting), Erte and Goya. Their work can evoke emotions and inspire certain moods.

The films of directors Behn Zeitlin and Richard Linklater are also influential in my story-telling, as both create movies that examine the human experience with great rawness and sensitivity. Fashion-wise, my personal taste is quite eclectic and varies from season to season, but I do greatly admire the Parisian sense of style, especially Caroline de Maigret’s, and English fashion director Sarah Harris. Two fashion-houses that I’m also very drawn to are Chloé and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafino.

As you can tell, I have a wide range of artistic influences, but I suppose the common theme running through them all is, first and foremost, an examination of the human experience, and, secondly, a focus on individuality and self-expression. These ideals are ones that I share, and find to be the foundation of every one of my endeavours.

Additionally, Chimamanda Ngozi and Tracy Reese are two artists that motivate me to be successful. Their influence comes from their reaching success not just as women, but as women of colour, and in doing so breaking down barriers in a world that is often prejudiced. They’ve inspired me to forge my own path and hopefully be the impetus for others to do the same.

Interview—Besma, founder of Curiously Conscious

Besma documents the places she explores and the stories of those who are "doing a little more" though her blog Curiously Conscious. She shares with us the stories behind her approach to mindful living, tips on how to live more sustainably and gives an insight into her top natural beauty products in our interview below.


...I always try to give myself personal time, whether that’s a walk on my lunch break, or time alone in bed, to keep me mindful.
— Besma, founder of Curiously Conscous
A series for Curiously Conscious—Besma shares her Sunday Reads regularly including inspiring articles, magazines & books.

A series for Curiously Conscious—Besma shares her Sunday Reads regularly including inspiring articles, magazines & books.

You mentioned to me before that you've "worn a few hats over the last three years of writing—mindful lifestyle, conscious lifestyle, wellness lifestyle". Has it been a natural progression through each, from one to the other?

I feel like it’s been a natural progression along with my own life, really. I started writing when I first became conscious of eating healthily, and now I’m conscious of the natural and cruelty-free beauty products I buy, the ethically-made clothes I wear, even the food waste I make!

What, for you, distinguishes these lifestyles from each other?

I think there are many things overlapping with a mindful lifestyle, conscious lifestyle, wellness lifestyle—they all aim to demystify decision making, leading to better choices and more happiness.

How do you approach your daily life in a more mindful way?

I suppose it’s second-nature to me now, but there are simple things I do—I carry a rucksack with essentials like a bottle, cutlery, cotton bags to be more zero waste. I ignore sales and fashion ads, and instead follow brands whose ethos I share. And I always try to give myself personal time, whether that’s a walk on my lunch break, or time alone in bed, to keep me mindful.

An image from Besma's recent post Holidaying in Crete.

An image from Besma's recent post Holidaying in Crete.

What is it about this approach to living that inspires you?

It’s probably cliché, but I grew up watching a lot of Disney films, and their protagonists are always good, kind, honest people. When you’re a child, you want to be them! When you’re an adult, it’s a lot harder to discern what’s good and kind and honest, but I’m finding this approach certainly helps!

It's wonderful that sustainability has become more of a movement in the last couple of years. How have you seen your audience respond to this?

It’s such a good thing—I feel happy to see it grow! I think my audience has become a lot more aware of sustainability issues, especially in their consumerism, and that’s thanks to campaigns such as Fashion Revolution or movements like Zero Waste. It’s great to feel like there’s a big group of people out there that also support what you do—it really makes a difference.

What is it that makes your want to share the stories of the "products, places and people that are doing a little more"?

I think it all started with my first blog, which was a kitsch indie music blog where I wanted to share little bands that I had discovered and loved. In a certain way it was like being a follower on social media before social media existed! Now though, I like to think that I’m helping create a greener place despite yet having the ability and opportunity to run my own green business… Stay tuned!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to live more sustainably?

I would say look at your own life first, and see what little changes you can make. Not all changes suit everyone—I still buy more plastic than I care to admit—but the little things will keep you feeling inspired. The eco-friendly toothbrush you clean your teeth with, or the ethically-made handbag that you wear—they become reminders of living sustainably and can lead to even bigger, better things.

You've reviewed so many wonderful beauty products over the years! What are your top three?

Ah, that’s a difficult one! They change based on my skin and the season, but right now I would say my Albus & Flora Lip Balm, Ere Perez Mascara and RMS Un-Cover Up.

Besma shares a handful of her of her everyday favourite natural beauty products.

Besma shares a handful of her of her everyday favourite natural beauty products.

Ethical Dictionary

Ethical Dictionary—What is GOTS certified?

A new series for Studio Notes—we explain the meaning behind some of the terms commonly used by sustainable and ethical clothing labels.


GOTS—The standard

GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) monitor suppliers and traders to make sure they're meeting certain, specific criteria. Not just about organic practices, it ensures fair trading and working conditions for all those who work under the standard.

Minimal house plants

In detail

GOTS requires traders to have:

"...a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres whereas a product with the label grade ‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres." (1)

However, there's a lot more to the standard than just ensuring fabric is produced organically. It also includes a comprehensive "Social Criteria" (2) outlining labour standards, which covers everything from stopping forced labour, health and safety checks, to a minimum wage fixing convention. Below is an excerpt (3) regarding fair wages from their latest standards (at time of publishing):

 

3.7. Fair remuneration
  • Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.
  • All workers must be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions compliant with national legal requirements and including wages and social benefits legally granted before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid.
  • Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure are not permitted. Other deductions are permitted only under the conditions and to the extent prescribed by law or fixed by collective agreement. 

 

Comprehensive and credible, working with GOTS fabric provides assurance of the highest quality organic resources but—so importantly—it also provides reassurance that those producing fabric are treated fairly and have a high standard of working environment. In the UK, it's so easy to take for granted these basic human rights, GOTS helps us to work with those outside our direct locality who are committed to fair industry in their native countries.

For more information on the GOTS certification, visit their website. A condensed overview of their standards is available here or you can read their most up-to-date (at time of publishing) standards here.


Why we use GOTS?

At Veryan, we want everyone who has had a hand in making our garments to have had a positive experience when doing so—GOTS assures us that our partners also believe in and uphold these rights. They're basic human rights, but sadly so much of the industry overlooks them. Investing in a piece made from GOTS certified fabric helps all those involved in the production process and the environment to boot.

Made with GOTS

The #027 dress & #028 wrap top are both made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and finished with GOTS certified organic cotton thread.

#027 dress made from 100% GOTS certified cotton

#027 dress made from 100% GOTS certified cotton

#028 wrap top made from 100% GOTS certified cotton

#028 wrap top made from 100% GOTS certified cotton


Quarterly Review

Quarterly Review—Spring

A look back at some of our favourite moments from this Spring.


Collaborations

Léa Morlino shot our #026 skirt on the streets of Paris & told us what she loves about Asian and minimalist fashion.

Minimalism has always been an inspiration for me. Whether it is in art, music, design or fashion. Thinking about minimalism is taking an interest in abstraction: Remove the superfluous in order to bring the details out. Beauty is in simplicity and subtlety: less is more. Minimalism embodies the future and modernity in my opinion.

In fashion, minimalism focuses on the precision of the cut and materials, on the dress in the most natural way, without paying a particular attention to gender.

The Asian influence, especially the Japanese one, is a major ingredient of minimalism! I really love Asian designs for their simple structures, their raw materials and clean shapes. I am especially thinking about the kimono, the pleated skirt, culottes or long oversized shirts that fuel the Asian trend. All these facts give the clothes a unisex appearance that I really love!
— Léa Morlino
Explore Léa's instagram for minimal & Asian inspired style.

Explore Léa's instagram for minimal & Asian inspired style.


Interviewees

Eleanor O'Neill, the founder of STUDY34 and journalist at Huffington Post talked to us about the challenges of running a sustainable business and shared her thoughts on the future of the fashion industry in our two part interview.

Eleanor's first knitwear collection for STUDY34.

Eleanor's first knitwear collection for STUDY34.

I would love to see a change in the stigma attached to working in a factory. I’d love to see people who design clothing also knowing how to make clothing, so they can make more informed choices to make it more sustainable.
— Eleanor O'Neill, founder of STUDY34

Behind-the-scenes

Our local Peckham Rye, explore the photoshoot.

Our local Peckham Rye, explore the photoshoot.

Linen was definitely on our minds this spring as we launched the SS17 collection. Made from flax—which grows abundantly without harsh chemicals, linen ages beautifully, getting softer over time and made a wonderful material for the new season designs. The crisp navy and white palette of the collection perfectly compliments the signature, easy tailoring of the pieces.

 

We've drawn inspiration from our local Peckham Rye for our new Core collection. The vibrant street style and culture of working creatives permeates the new designs. These will be available exclusively online at www.byveryan.co.uk. (Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know.) Expect soft jersey t-shirts and utilitarian workwear pieces.

 

Look out for further instalments to our Core collection over the next 6 months, we're busy working on extending our range of modular styles. These pieces will be permanent (as long as fabric stocks' last) and will never be on sale, so you can get your favourite t-shirt time and again.

A snapshot from the Veryan Studio instagram.

A snapshot from the Veryan Studio instagram.


Collections

We talked to the founder of Veryan, Veryan Raiker, to find out her thoughts on how SS17 represents our modern style philosophy.

The Veryan woman was the sole inspiration for SS17. Busy, creative—the designs allow her to express her style and individuality freely. Movement, comfort, a sense of being effortless all come together for the Spring / Summer season.

We carried this ethos through to our accessories—all of which meld style and functionality—and naturally compliment both the SS17 and Core range of designs.
— Veryan Raiker, founder of Veryan
The #026 skirt, styled with the #023 t-shirt.

The #026 skirt, styled with the #023 t-shirt.