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Catching up with Sophie Dunster, Founder of Gung Ho

Catching up with Sophie Dunster, Founder of Gung Ho

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Just launching on our ESEM Marketplace, Gung Ho is the hottest new brand on the London sustainable fashion scene. Sophie's passion for exploring topical environmental issues through design is unique and powerful, that we had to find out more about her inspiration.

 

Sophie, you were brought up with a low carbon lifestyle which you continue to adopt. Do you find that a challenge when it comes to building Gung Ho?

It's always a challenge but I think I'm lucky in a way that it's been drummed into me for so long now it's second nature when it comes to decision making - the hard bit is finding the sources that tick the boxes you want, it's doable, just takes a little longer!
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Through your current collection, you've managed to make insects beautiful. Before you launched, were you ever worried that people wouldn't "get it"?

Why thank you I am so pleased you think so! I actually started Gung Ho with quite complex issues that were much harder to grasp than the effects of pesticides - one being the affects your washing machine settings have on a carbon footprint! So in comparison it's good to illustrate issues people feel passionately about and want to talk about more openly. For us, the most important thing as that the design doesn't look sustainable at all. That's why we always aim to introduce the meaning subtly so that it all feels natural and part of the overall print.

You're a London girl. Is your collection designed and made in London too?

Yep, as much as possible. I do all the drawings and designing in our converted shipping container in Battersea. Our organic fabrics are printed in Gloucestershire and handmade in London, and our embroidery is done in Oxford. I try to find small local businesses to support as well as keeping our carbon footprint as small as possible! Our chosen charity is Friends of the Earth who are also based in London which is great!
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What excites you most about where we are with sustainable fashion in the UK currently?

Something that excites me is that the industry is changing, massively. Instead of getting nervous, people are stepping up and wanting to shape it into something more positive. There is a much bigger demand for transparency these days - people want to know what they are supporting when they make a purchase and where it comes from. These questions lead the change and we want to be at the forefront of it! 

Your new collection Plastic Oceans lands soon and we can't wait. Is there a particular print or piece that resonates with you more than others?

Haha yesss I am very excited... Hmm one of the prints is based on the fact that plastics and the oceans don't just affect what's under the water but above it too. 9/10 seabirds are found to have plastics in their stomachs and that really shocked me, it's one crazy statistic! I drew 10 seabirds and 9 of them have hazardous/toxic signs on their stomachs, at first it just looks like a pretty bird print but I like the fact that the more you look the more you see. 
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