My Experience Interning for a Sustainable Fashion Brand in Frome, Somerset.

Here at Daines Atelier we are delighted to be welcoming our new Internship schemes. The Work Placements aim to teach and develop skills surround Marketing, Production and General Adminstration Skills; for those who want to discover more about the Slow Fashion Industry.

We were delighted to welcome Rhian Palmer, A marketing Graduate from Southampton University, completed a short internship with us. 

Before the internship we assessed Rhians current Portfolio and CV and had an informal discussion at what kind of opportunities she was seeking and what areas would be most beneficial. We came up up with a final plan for the internship. Heres Rhians Story and what she learnt during her time with us.

Meet Rhian Palmer, Our Graduated Intern from Southampton University.

I have just completed a week-long internship with Daines Atelier. It has allowed me to contextualise what I have learned during my Fashion Marketing with Management degree. As well as expand my knowledge about slow fashion. Sustainability was a particular focus of my studies and something I feel strongly about. Therefore the opportunity to see how a Slow and Sustainable Small Fashion brand operates has been amazing. It has provided me with valuable insight into the sustainable fashion world.

The Studio is in the beautiful Silk Mill in Frome.

The Daines Atelier Studio was a beautiful place to work. Located in the Silk Mill in Frome, surrounded by several independent cafes and shops. The working environment was friendly and inspiring: the surrounding studios are filled with other creatives, creating a vibrant, inspiring environment. The space welcomes over 22 different creative businesses. I was even lucky enough to chat with Clare Lloyd surrounding her brand.

Day 1- An Introduction to Woo-Commerce and WordPress.

On the first day, I was shown how to use WordPress and woo-commerce to upload new products onto the e-commerce platform. Including integrating keywords and tags, optimising meta descriptions, writing product descriptions and selecting the images to represent the products on the e-commerce platform. It was interesting and gave me hands-on experience using the platform and insight into how e-commerce operates. I also learnt how to find the most optimal tags and keywords to boost search engine relevancy for each product. 

Evie took me to one of the local cafes in Frome, Projects, to explain how to work on WordPress. This was lovely (the cinnamon buns are amazing!). 

Day 2- Continuation on E-commerce and Marketing Strategies.

In the morning, I uploaded a few more products to the website using WordPress, this provided me with a good opportunity to consolidate what I had learned the previous day, and I now feel very confident using WordPress.

After that, we discussed a marketing strategy for Sustainable Fashion Week. Evie highlighted all the considerations needed for a small business when creating marketing strategies. We considered how we could take advantage of the potential to reach a new geographical audience with Sustainable Fashion Week taking place in Bristol. We also considered the type of social media content that has been performing the best and what content we can create to coincide with the themes of Sustainable Fashion Week, to increase shareability.

At the end of the day, I had made a document detailing all the content we had planned to create and when they needed to be shot/filmed. We focused particularly on Reels as we had noticed trends in previous insights for how beneficial it was.

Day 3- Retail Experience in Poot Emporium.

On Wednesday, we worked in Poot Emporium, where Daines Atelier is stocked, alongside like-minded sustainable makers from Frome and the surrounding areas. The Store stocks a collection of handmade clothing and accessories alongside a rail of handpicked vintage clothing. 

In the less busy periods of the day, I planned the captions to go along with the social media posts, prioritising CTA and boosting engagement. We also made an Instagram Reel styling one of the dresses in 5 different ways. We planned this to coincide with one of the Sustainable Fashion Week themes: re-wear. 

We also designed a window display for the store, which was an excellent opportunity to gain some experience in visual merchandising. 

Day 4- Content Creation 

We started the day with a coffee and cake at Nook, a local cafe, discussing how to boost organic engagement on Instagram through interaction. 

We then headed back to the studio where I finalised content for the Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts, using Canva to design infographics for the stories and posts. I scheduled all the content using Meta Business Suite and perfected the captions and hashtags so that they were ready to be uploaded. 

We then discussed how to strategise content on Pinterest and what had and hadn’t worked well previously. Hearing about how different strategies have worked for a brand first-hand has been interesting and taught me a lot about consumer behaviour. 

Day 5- Blog Writing with SEO embedding experience.

On the final day, I filmed some more content ready to be uploaded on Instagram Reels during Sustainable Fashion Week. One of the reels focused on the process of making 450 upcycled face-pads from fabric offcuts to be part of the press goody bags during sustainable fashion week. The second reel focused on the making of a denim tailcoat from upcycled vintage jeans that will become part of a press rail for Loanhood with Rich London.

I also wrote this blog post on Friday, to summarise my experience interning for the company to encourage local people to apply to intern at Daines Atelier. 

At lunchtime, Evie ordered us food from Burrito Boi, a local dining and takeaway company which tasted incredible (I would highly recommend the mac and cheese balls).

Thank you so much Daines Atelier for my Internship!

My experience interning for Daines Atelier exceeded my expectations. I now feel a lot more knowledgeable about marketing for a small sustainable business and confident in my ability to create relevant and efficient marketing strategies. Evie has been incredibly welcoming and open to any questions I had about the business and marketing. 

I applied for this internship in the hopes of contextualising my marketing knowledge with experience working for a brand, as well as learning more about the business of sustainable fashion. This internship has allowed me to do that and more. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would highly recommend applying to anyone interested in sustainable fashion or marketing. 

Want to chat more with Rhian?

Ask Rhian Palmer more questions surrounding her internship. Or maybe you have an opportunity for a young graduate interested in Marketing and the Sustainable Industry? 

Connect with Rhian on Linkedin

In Conversation about Fashion and Sustainability.

The words Sustainability and Fashion combined are really beginning to become researched topic at the moment. I regularly get asked by students ,studying for their dissertations, if they can interview me surrounding the topic.

By the way if you’re a student and want to talk do reach out to me. If I have the availability I would be more than delighted to help. Contact me here.

Here I chat with the students of The University Centre Somerset who are enrolled on their new Fashion and Textiles Bachelors.

Firstly, could you share a little bit about your business and the inspiration/idea behind Daines Atelier?

Daines Atelier design and sew one-off garments from hand-picked vintage textiles. For anyone who is conscious of the negative impact of the fashion industry and wants to represent their individuality. Based at the Silk Mill Studios, Frome, Somerset in England.

Every year around 206 tonnes of textiles are thrown out in the UK alone. Only 15% of the textiles we throw away are actually recycled. The large majority of these textiles are still fit for another purpose.

It is also a shocking fact to discover that 93% of carbon emissions and pollution from the fashion industry comes from the creation of textiles. If we could use the textiles we already had produced, it would be incredible at the difference we could make as an industry towards combating Global Warming. Which is why we focus in our sustainability.

What are your key values/morals within your brand?

Our key values lie under Sustainability, Slow Fashion, Circular Fashion and Craftsmanship. When designing and producing our garments these are the key areas we ensure everything represents.

We are transparent with being an ethical fashion brand. All of our materials are sourced locally, all vintage or deadstock. Everything is handmade at our studio. we Upcycle/ repurpose these textiles while committing to being a circular fashion brand.

Not advocating mass production. We create one off or a limited quantity of clothing. Focusing on the quality of a garment to ensure its longevity. As a result, Craftsmanship is at the core of Daines Atelier, using traditional tailoring and dressmaking techniques. Everything is a beautiful handmade item.

You can read more about who we are on our About Page.

What sustainability challenges (if any) does your organisation face?

The main sustainability issue with preloved textiles and vintage materials. (especially ones from the 1940s after polyester was first introduced and the 1960s when spandex was first introduced). The fabrics contain micro-fibres made from plastic. Which can easily enter our water streams and be extremely polluting.

The benefits of plastic fibres is that they can reduce wrinkling in clothing, make clothing cheaper to produce, pick up dyes more vibrantly and are more durable. It’s why we typically see a lot of pristine clothing from the 1950s onwards.

But we have to balance out whether it is better to be using these already produced textiles. Whether we leave them to landfill where they will take over 200 years to biodegrade? Or worst burnt emitting more pollution once again.

Scientists are currently discovering new ways to omit less microfiber plastic pollution. Such as water filters and laundry bags. (see Guppy Friend). There is also an increase in knowledge about how often we should be washing our clothing and the correct way of washing them. Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed and The Conscious Closet addresses these topics well.

How do you think the covid pandemic has affected consumer behaviour?

During the pandemic the ecommerce industry saw a 10% increase in online shopping. Continuing on it still remains around the higher percentage. Pre-Pandemic I didn’t have an online presence and would typically be trading at markets. But building an online presence during this time proved successful.

There is definitely an increase of interest towards shopping consciously. A lot of protest has been done against fast fashion brands such as Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing. Especially after Boohoo were committing slave labour in the UK to produce unethical garments. Or Molly-Mae earning half a million as Pretty Little Things new creative director . While their factory workers abroad were not even on the living wage.

An interesting statistic spinning off this is that if these retailers increased the price of their garments between 86p-£1 ,then they could pay their workers the living wage. But it’s all because of the politics between factories wanting the work, rather than it being ethical and fair.

Wardrobes are changing. If we go back to before the pandemic people were constantly updating and refreshing their wardrobes without comfort and function in mind. We are currently seeing a rise in staple wardrobe pieces that are more suitable to everyday life due to an increase in self-care.

Do you feel covid has made consumers more aware of sustainability and their carbon footprint?

When we step out of the rat race glued to our phones and just focused on A-B, it gives us time to reflect on what is actually happening in the world around us. The pandemic allowed for time to educate themselves further on topics of sustainability that interested them, to have more free time to come across the nitty gritty of society.

Without the high-street being open and people turning online to shops. This opened up the space for smaller and independent retailers to showcase their products more at the forefront with consumers.

During the pandemic online retailers platforms such as Fassion and Sustainable Fashion Week became more prominent. Being able to showcase multiple brands together all with the same vision that consumers were actually looking for.

Depop has also been a credible platform for encouraging consumers to shop second hand, fashion their removed clothing and in supporting small handmade businesses. They’re becoming a retailer leader for shaping the future of the fashion industry.

How do you feel awareness can be raised to the impact of fibre production on the environment (in terms of excessive water waste, micro plastics, climate change etc)?

By talking about it. When I first started addressing these topics through social media, I was reconnected to a lot of friends who told me that they had no idea how toxic the fashion industry was. Or about the difference in fibres and what their actual stats were.

We are the generation that needs to ensure we are talking about it, producing garments with our own moral compass and educating ourselves on the right and wrong.

Can you share your perspective on green washing and how some companies appear more eco-friendly without necessarily incorporating more sustainability or ethical practices into their business?

I have a friend who works as a garment tech for a high-street retailer, who informed me that in order for a garment to be considered recycled content, less than 2% of the fibre actually has to be recycled. So for example, if a garment says that it’s 97% recycled content, in reality it will only be around 1.8% recycled.

When it comes to green washing there’s a few buzz words you have to avoid: Conscious and Sustainable. These umbrella terms are used so regularly by the high street giants that it’s actually a lot better to look for Niche words such as ‘upcycled’ or ‘circular’ or even ‘repurposed’.

Some of the most ironic greenwashing I have seen by companies include: Asos and their ‘Circular Fashion Collection’ that in contrast to all of their other garments amounted to such a small number. H&M and their ‘Conscious Collection’ playing with statistics to make themselves appear more on top, whereas if you delve deeper into their dying process or their ‘recycled fibres’ that’s terrifying. Boohoos future ‘Pledge’ to be a sustainable company and taking no action, but tricking consumers into the belief that we will one-day be sustainable. Or ANY brand that labels everything as organic. There’s proof that organic materials actually use more water in order to be produced than the genetically modified crops.

A Fashion Brand will never be sustainable if it continues to mass produce and to influence others to shop more and buy constantly into trends. Hence the high street will never be able to actually label themselves as sustainable.

What simple methods would you suggest to someone who is trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

The first step is to cleanse your social media. Unsubscribe from unethical retailers on your mailing list; unfollow influencers who promote fast fashion brands; be aware when you see an advert promoting fast fashion and immediately block it. Then I am conscious of who you choose to next follow on your social media.

Watch, read and learn.

I listen in the regular to so many great podcasts including: Wardrobe Crisis by Clare Press, Common Threads, The Anima Animus Podcast and so many more. There is truly such a wealth of knowledge on these podcasts for free.

I recommend the books: A Conscious Closet by Elizabeth Cline to anyone introducing themselves to slow fashion. Sophie Benson is a fantastic journalist who has written for the Guardian and Dazed magazine. On Instagram I follow another journalist called Tina, who is @thinkingthreads her Instagram is consistently filled with so much knowledge. 

We were actually recently on the AA Podcast. You can listen to our episode here.

Found this Interesting? Join our Mailing List!

On Netflix you can find a wealth of documentaries. Including Plastic Ocean, The true cost and more. YouTube can also be a great place for sourcing shorter videos/ news articles surrounding the industry too.

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What’s it like to do a Branding Photoshoot with Celie Photo, Frome?

I recently won a Branding Photoshoot with Celie Photo in Frome. I just had to share my experience as it was second to none. The professionalism, the beautiful images. Wow, all I can say is what a day!

“A truly incredible local photographer who will elevate your business branding to the next level with her impeccable photography. If you feel nervous in front of the camera, you will feel at ease with Celie.

It was so natural working with Celie. I’ve never laughed so much in my life! Celie went above and beyond with BOTH of her cameras capturing the true essence and story behind Daines Atelier.

I’ve never looked at a photo and thought “this is Daines Atelier”. It’s scary at how much of a story can be captured in one photograph.

So if you’re a small business, maybe a start-up or even established. Help to find your voice and message through the imagery you present to the world. Celie is the best Brand Photographer covering Somerset and The South West.”

Our 5 Star Google Review for Celie Photo

The Process of working with Celie Photo.

The Branding Questionnaire.

Before you even begin working with Celie, she will send you over a Branding Questionnaire. This helps with understanding your business a little bit more. From this Celie is then able to come up with a mood board and plan for how the Photoshoot will occur. She spills all the beans on a zoom call with her vision and how it aligns to yours.

I loved Celie’s plan for our Photoshoot as it entailed 45 minutes of general working in the studio and my space. After that, we had the plan of shooting up to 3 outfits using different spaces across The Silk Mill where my studio was located.

The Day of the Photoshoot.

Celie appeared with not one, but two cameras! She explained to me at how one of the cameras she had set up for more detailed shots and the other one for portraits. So also brought a light with her as I had informed her before hand on how dark my studio space can be!

Upon arrival Celie broke down the day again to me. Retelling her process and how things will work. Strangely enough, it felt so natural to be in front of the camera with Celie as my photographer!

The way Celie makes you feel so at ease is a joy. Any anxiety’s about having your photograph taken simply disappear, it’s like it isn’t even happening!

After finishing the Photoshoot Celie informed that an initial Gallery would be sent over before the final one, which would be ready in up to two weeks.

The final Gallery

Wow. The entire Gallery appeared in 72 hours. It was safe to say I was entirely shocked with how quickly it had been completed.

Every single photo that Celie sent me was an absolute dream. She captured the essence of ‘Daines Atelier’ so perfectly. My own branded colours, the free spirit and me.

Being sent over a low-resolution and high-resolution worked out perfectly as it meant that the photos could safely upload onto to social media and be perfect for my website also.

Would you Recommend Celie Photo?

How could I not! Her work is impeccable! I am definitely planning on working with Celie again.

Here’s our Branding Photoshoot.

Enjoy! Don’t forget you can shop these looks on our Shop.