Educating the changing world in the science of colour

Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles – SDC London Region

Date: 13 November 2019 1:30pm - 5:00pm

Location: London College of Fashion UAL, 40 Lime Grove, Shepherd's Bush, London W12 8EA


The SDC London Region warmly invite you to an afternoon of discussions with industry professionals focusing on sustainability in fashion and textile design.

  • Phil Townsend, Technical Lead, Environmental Sustainability and Technical at Marks and Spencer will give an overview of the global issues.
  • Chris Hewitt, founder of Hewitt Heritage Fabrics will give a presentation entitled ‘A Denim Journey’.
  • John Abbate, founder of Bluehanded and Jess Yang, creator of Jugu, share a common ‘blue’ thread and passion for what they do and for the makers of exquisite weaving, pattern making and dyeing. Handmade by cultures with a deep history, they provide an alternative to mass produced materials.

More speakers to be announced.

Registration opens at 1.30pm, with the event starting at 2.00pm.

This event is free to attend but please register your attendance by completing the online booking form.

Phil Townsend, M&S
Phil is responsible for delivering the environmental sustainability program for the M&S clothing and home business. Working with the central Plan A team, buying teams, sourcing offices and suppliers, he leads the development and implementation of the key raw material strategies used within M&S. He also works on other projects to develop sustainable supply chains from farm to store – including traceability, animal welfare, chemical compliance and leading the eco-factory program. Phil has spent over 20 years at M&S. Prior to his current role he worked as a Product Technologist, where he was responsible for product development, supply chain management, innovation and quality management. He is currently Vice Chair of the BCI Council and on the ZDHC Board of Directors. Phil is passionate about nature conservation and has worked as a volunteer for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust for over ten years, managing one of their chalk grassland reserves in the Chilterns.

Chris Hewitt, Hewitt Heritage Fabrics
Founder of Hewitt Heritage Fabrics, Chris has had a love affair with denim from age 8 from his first pair of denim dungarees to now. Since 2006 he’s pursued a dream that many people said was crazy – to produce selvedge denim here in the UK. It all started with a simple question: how do you make the perfect pair of jeans?

Fascinated by design and fashion, especially vintage clothing and fabrics, he started collecting vintage denim and clothing when he was 13 and by 2002 was buying and selling vintage English and American workwear online. This developed into a successful company called Somebody & Sons but by 2007 he was ready to branch out and fulfil a life-long ambition: to design perfect-fit jeans made out of the highest quality fabric. He soon learned that setting up a denim business was harder than he thought. The first issue was where to find first class selvedge denim. Not only did he want exceptional fabric but it had to be environmentally friendly and sustainable too. What he thought would take weeks took years. He went all over the world and back again to no avail. Then he was reminded of a conversation he had back in 2007 when he suggested to his business partner, “why don’t we make it here”, to which he replied, “don’t be crazy, no one would make denim here”. This started a 7 year journey to find a suitable weaver and yarn supply and then to raise the money for development and finally to launch Hewitt Heritage Fabrics. Over that time he has met a growing number of people who are dedicated to producing fabric locally and sustainably. People who are passionate about British craftsmanship and want to create a future for our manufacturing industry.

John Abbate, Bluehanded and Jess Yang, Jugu
Jess and John are both passionate about artisanal indigo, using ancient skills in contemporary ways for the products they create. They share much in common although they couldn’t have come from more different backgrounds. Jess is a native Naxi from Yunnan China who grew up in the mountains with indigo crafts all round her and John an American born Brit who’s lived around the world working for luxury brands and a retail brand consultant.

Bluehanded, founded by John Abbate, is dedicated to promoting and developing traditional textile crafts from the Far East. To John, real luxury is in the perfect imperfection of the hand made using ancient and culturally significant methods.

Jugu is the creation of Jess [Zhifen] Yang, Jugu means ‘mountain’ in the Naxi language and the logo its pictograph, one of the few surviving pictographic forms of writing remaining. The indigo plant is indigenous to the area and the traditional techniques of tie-dye, shibori and batik are widely used.  Jugu works with local women to create our products using traditional patterns in contemporary ways.

Society of Dyers and Colourists

Perkin House, 82 Grattan Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 2LU, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1274 725138, Email:
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