Fylde designer's success with ethical fashion brand after losing out on graduate job in the pandemic

A recent graduate from St Anne’s is shaking up the clothing industry with her up-cycled designs made from old shirts found in charity shops

By Lucinda Herbert
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 5:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 5:56 pm

A Fylde woman is shaking up the fashion world with an ethical clothing brand launched in lockdown.

Sarah Robinson, 25, became aware of pollution caused by the fashion industry while she was studying fashion design at Manchester Metropolitan University.

And her up-cycled designs even caught the attention of Adidas. She worked with the sports brand on a sustainability project, which raised money for the Environmental Justice Foundation.

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Sarah Robinson has started her own sustainable fashion brand Sarah O Robinson

So when Sarah lost out on her dream design job due to the pandemic, it was a blessing in disguise.

"The waste and pollution caused by the fashion industry is unbelievable. As a consumer you have a bit of responsibility but as a producer I want to be leading the way.”

The St Annes designer had been horrified to learn about some of the practises that were going on, and was conscious that she wanted to work in a way that was kinder to the environment.

"I remember learning that when a line of shoes finished, instead of putting them on sale they would just burn them. It shocked me so much. The more I found out, the more I just wanted to do things differently.”

She’d hoped to gain some industry experience after uni.

Ms Robinson had been offered a job at H&M in Stockholm after graduating in 2019. But they changed their mind when lockdown started.

“When you’re fresh out of uni, everything just feels like it’s against you but looking back I’m so thankful it didn’t work out.”

The 25 year old entrepreneur was tipped as one of the top female-owned brands to watch in 2021 by Cosmopolitan.

She started making one-off items in her mum’s kitchen in 2020, when she moved back to the family home on Grange Road.

Her clothes are all made out of pre-worn items. She likes to root through charity shops for blazers and men’s shirts to re-fashion into women’s garments.

“There can’t be any signs of wear and it has to be excellent quality material to start with. The items I work with have maybe been worn once and then thrown out. I’m giving these perfectly good clothes a new lease of life."

She even has a tag-line included on her labels, that reads ‘I’ve been loved in my previous life, please love me in this one’.

Sarah, who used to work at Stringers in Lytham, is still doing all the work herself.

She sells through DePop and has a growing celeb client-base including Ashley Roberts (Pussycat Dolls), Stefflon Don (rapper), and Mimi Webb (singer).

"It’s hard work and a bit of luck. I’ve been going almost two years and I’m only just getting into that mindset of thinking of this as a business."

The former Lytham High School pupil hasn’t had the opportunity to test the local market yet. She hopes to do a pop-up store later in 2022 but is enjoying her journey.

"Im so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to build this up.

“You don’t realise what you can achieve. You see other people build up a brand on social media, but I don’t think I really realised that I could achieve that too.”