Peach Eyes: designer Jennifer Healy launches a slow fashion brand

Jenny Needham chats with Teesdale designer who hopes slow, planet-friendly fashion will become even more sought after in 2022

Few people can doubt now that our appetite for fast fashion plagues the environment. Around 300,000 tonnes of used clothing is burned or buried in landfills in the UK each year and the industry is responsible for more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and shipping combined.

So now that we know, could 2022 be the year we all start shopping in more meaningful ways? The year we choose clothes that last, not to wear once and to throw away; the year in which we source our products made near our home, opting for recycled or recyclable materials?

Jennifer Healy hopes so. Putting her money where her mouth is, the fashion designer recently launched Peach Eyes, a luxury and slow fashion brand, handcrafted in the North East.

“I have to admit that I was not always environmentally conscious, but that changed as I learned about the negative impacts of the industry on the planet, the treatment of workers and the culture. disposable, ”says Jennifer. “While working in the industry I was surprised to find out how little manufacturing there was here in the UK, very sad considering the rich history of clothing manufacturing in the UK. ”

Peach Eyes prints are digitally printed because they are more environmentally friendly; the fabrics are sourced responsibly, using recycled or organic bases wherever possible. “When we occasionally use fabrics made with traditional techniques, we work with established high-quality fabric suppliers, such as Linton Tweeds,” says Jennifer. Packaging is all recycled or recyclable and customers are encouraged to reuse packaging products where possible.

The Barnard Castle-based designer is determined to prove that responsible shopping doesn’t have to be boring. Her vibrant clothes, which are aimed at people of all ages, have a graphic and retro edge, from trapeze shapes to bold graphic prints.

Rosa tights, £ 22 Photo: VEIL & GUN

The name – Peach Eyes – and the inspiration for the clothing line came from Jennifer’s grandmother. As a child, Jennifer would visit her garden in Northumberland and paint with her in the kitchen. “Peach Eyes is actually a bearded dwarf iris. I have often found this flower mentioned in her gardening diary and have fallen in love with the name.” When Granny moved to Barnard Castle to be closer to the rest of the family, she continued to creatively inspire her granddaughter until her death in 2007. Now Jennifer lives in Granny’s apartment with her partner Ben and the dogs Django and Otis. “To pay homage to the wonderful woman who helped me create this brand, I named each piece after her favorite flowers,” she says.

Juniper scarf, £ 70 Photo: VEIL & GUN

Juniper scarf, £ 70 Photo: VEIL & GUN

Jennifer’s fashion journey started early. “I told my parents from an early age that I wanted to be a fashion designer,” she says. “I remember saving my pocket money to go to charity stores or to buy fabric from Boyes to make pieces myself. As a teenager, I volunteered at Marie Curie and also worked as a Saturday girl at the city’s clothing agency. I loved talking to the people of Barnard Castle about fashion and setting up the windows.

“I think my love of retro came from this vintage fashion show, and also my love of film and music from the 60s and 70s. Besides the retro aesthetic, I love the set. of movement and what it meant for people back then to express themselves in new and exciting ways. ”

Penelope shirt, £ 160 Photo: VEIL & GUN

Penelope shirt, £ 160 Photo: VEIL & GUN

After graduating in Fashion Design from Manchester School of Art, Jennifer began her fashion career by winning the prestigious Tu Scholarship Award 2018 at Graduate Fashion Week. “I was able to bring my own designs to life as a collection on the shelves at Sainsbury’s. The collection launched in May 2019 and has been sold nationwide and online, which was a real pinch moment! ”

This led to several years in the industry, experimenting with a variety of departments for the street retailer, but Jennifer was increasingly drawn to exploring the possibilities of more responsible and creative design and made the decision to follow his dreams by founding his own brand in his house. town of Barnard Castle.

Peach Eyes clothing is made very locally, at Self Made Studios in Bishop Auckland. “The company is very inclusive, offering opportunities to young people in the region,” explains Jennifer. “I have to go see them every week which made the whole manufacturing process so personal, and the attention to detail is second to none. The accessories are produced elsewhere in the UK because I couldn’t find them nowhere locally. for this manufacture; the hosiery is produced very close to my old home in the Midlands. ”

The collection is aimed at people of all ages, with relaxed shapes, so they can be worn in different ways. “However, the collection is definitely aimed at an environmentally and fashion conscious woman who always wants to wear a lot of color.” Jennifer’s favorite item in the collection is the Lady Jane coat. “I love a trendy coat, even more so with matching accessories.”

Lady Jane Juniper print trench coat, £ 395 Photo: VEIL & GUN

Lady Jane Juniper print trench coat, £ 395 Photo: VEIL & GUN

She also likes to be back in the Northeast. “At the moment, it’s quite rare that I have a day off, but I love taking the dogs for long walks, followed by a good, cozy drink in town!” She says. “And I still can’t resist a good search of the charity shops!”

The fashion industry produces ten percent of all of humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.

About 300,000 tonnes of used clothing is burned or buried in landfills each year.

Polyester clothing, which is pumped, sold and quickly thrown away, like single-use plastics, takes 200 years to decompose.

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