Sancho’s is an independent clothing store dedicated to ethical fashion. We visited the store on Fore St to get to know driven business owner, Kalkidan, who talked us through her journey nurturing Sancho’s, ethical fashion & their ethos, life on Fore St and some of her favourite collections.
The kick-starter behind Sancho’s was a project which Kalkidan and partner Vidmantas launched in Ethiopia called ‘Scarves for Sustainability’. This project was generated with the goal of empowering women and changing lives through trade. As the first instance where Kalkidan and Vidmantas organised themselves as a business, Scarves for Sustainability was the learning experience which ultimately led them to business in the ethical fashion industry, and to Sancho’s. To find out more, visit https://scarvesforsustainability.co.uk/
Kalkidan has recently opened a second shop, which has been a fantastic experience:
“Opening two shops has been wonderful. I’ve never had children but to me it feels like a birthing project. So much work goes into it – lots of sleepless nights, getting exhausted – and then it exists and it seems like it’s existed forever.”
As a location for their store, Fore St seems to be the perfect spot for Sancho’s – huddled amongst other independent shops and people doing a similar thing: honing in on something that’s important to them and producing a business with it. Kalkidan tells us:
“We’re all having a shared experience of life to some extent because of how we choose to run our businesses. For the customers it’s good too because there’s momentum and so many reasons to come here – grab a coffee, do some shopping, buy a wedding dress, get your hair cut, go for dinner. We wouldn’t have accomplished all that we have if we weren’t in an area surrounded by similar shops, and day to day we’ve met loads of incredible people because of this”
We asked Kalkidan to choose a few favourites, to which she said “I love everything because that’s the basis of it being here. Every single brand is transparent, Fairtrade, handmade in small batches and everyone is trying to improve their impact on the world.”
As an ethical clothing store, Kalkidan and Vidmantas ensure that they support brands which are paying fair wages and using sustainable materials. Sancho’s started with just 1 or 2 brands and now features 42. This means that they currently supports 3,000 sustainable jobs in the fashion industry.
One of the particularly exciting brands Sancho’s currently stock is Mud Jeans, who recycle old jeans to create new ones. Mud Jeans operate as a Fairtrade business, starting with how they source material through to how they treat their staff. They then go above and beyond this to consider the life cycle of a product and what happens when someone is done with their jeans. Mud Jeans have successfully created a model which can absorb waste and create something new, so that it’s not a cost but a resource, which is fantastic.
Sancho’s is hosting a series of events taking place from April 23rd – April 28th as part of Fashion Revolution Week. Fashion Revolution is an organisation which believes in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. It aims to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.
Each Sancho’s event is themed differently, with one overarching objective:
- Monday 23rd: Repair & Rejuvenate Clothing Workshop
- Tuesday 24th: Clothes Swap & Second Chance Sale
- Wednesday 25th: Sancho’s Capsule Launch Collection
- Thursday 26th: Introduction to Ethical Fashion Talk
- Friday 27th: Meet The Makers Panel Discussion
- Saturday 28th: Fashion Revolution Party at Sancho’s
Everyone is welcome to come along to these events and subsequently to be enlightened to the sustainable future of fashion!