Q&A with Laura Gregory, Founder and Executive Producer of Great Guns

Laura Gregory of Great Guns

Laura Gregory of Great Guns

Great Guns is a global production company, with its headquarters in London. They have a solid reputation for reliability, creative solutions and great production values. Founder, Laura Gregory talks to The Fableists about their involvement in the launch of our brand.

The Fableists > Great Guns has been called the only truly global production company. Where do you have offices?
Laura > We are based in London, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hamburg, Prague, Shanghai, Bangkok and Mumbai.

The Fableists > How did you get your start in the production industry?
Laura > I was a receptionist in a small production company. I was such a crap typist – they promoted me to sales.

The Fableists > Do you mostly win work through an advertising agency? Or via the client directly?
Laura > 80% is with agency partners and 20% with companies who have in-house marketing departments.

The Fableists > How do you select the directors that Great Guns represents?
Laura > Talent. The hardest job for a production house is to support new talent. We’ve always been known to find amazing new talent. There are a few other companies of note who I respect for their incredible eye to spot talent: James Studholme at Blink and Jonathon Ker at Paydirt USA, for example. It’s a tough, and sometimes thankless task to put a young director on the map. Take Ilya Naishuller, whose NEFT Vodka piece got him into the Saatchi New Directors Showcase. Now it will take an agency and client with some balls to use him. It’s not a surprise that some of the hottest agencies and brands in the world who have balls are approaching us to use him. That’s how the chain works. Production companies find talent, the brave creative shops use the new talent.. a new star is born…

The Fableists > How did you get involved with The Fableists?
Laura > Matt Cooper told me about his dream over a year ago and I said, “How can I help”? It is an amazing concept.

The Fableists > Your director, Olivier Venturini will be heading up direction of The Fableists’ first film campaign. What do you think he can bring to the project?
Laura > Olivier is known for his work with talent, coupled with his cinematic delivery of every piece of content he tackles. His passion for great film and ability to make the children feel 100% safe will deliver a wonderful study of a young ‘Fableist’.

The Fableists > Tell us a bit about your involvement with McCann Health and the seminars and events you’ve been producing in partnership with them?
Laura > We have produced over four major events in partnership with McCann Health’s global team. We collaborate with the global CD and work to brief to deliver inspirational speakers to talk and workshop. We have produced events in Berlin, LA, Tokyo and orchestrated the Women’s Health Cannes Lions series of talks and lunches this year. Speakers included Her Excellency, Mrs Toyin Saraki, a leading advocate for the UN’s Every Woman, Every Child effort, Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Stephen Sobhani representing Every Woman Every Child,  Mark Koska, Inventor of LIFESAVER, the auto-disposable syringe and Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, Director, One Planet Leaders, WWF International.

The Fableists > What do you think about The Fableists’ mandate – ‘Play hard, live forever’?
Laura > This could be my motto for life.

The Fableists > How do you think The Fableists will appeal to children and their parents?
Laura > The brand will deliver style and responsible choice through the voice of inspiring children who choose to wear their clothes. Each child and their family will feel good about buying and wearing such a cool brand and being part of the Fableists’ movement: ‘I am a Fableist’.

The Fableists > Do you think that our collaboration can help change the way that people buy clothes?
Laura > 100%. Being around The Fableists has changed the way I view the garments I consider buying and how I wash them.

The Fableists > What is your personal style like?
Laura > Vintage Chanel meets biker. Old bikers die hard… I guess I’m a rocker at heart.

Watch out for The Fableists’ first series of films about amazing kids. Coming soon…

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Calling All Rad Little Punks!

clapperboardWe’re searching for extraordinary kids aged between 6-10 to feature in a series of mini documentaries.

Our aim is to discover kids that have amazing and inspiring stories to tell.

Whether it’s a story of enormous courage, incredible talent, or overcoming something difficult, we want to know.

We’re gonna search for these amazing little ‘uns all over the world, from Tokyo to Paris, from Rio to Mumbai.

But for our first film, we want to start with a London-based (or surrounding) kid.

It makes no difference what their background or passion might be. They could be ballet dancers, stamp collectors, rappers, inventors or gamers. It doesn’t matter.

As long as they’re free-spirited, believe anything is possible and represent the DIY attitude of The Fableists’, they’re in with a chance.

You can read more about the director of this project Olivier Venturini in our interview with him.

If you know a kid who fits that mould, email the answers to the questions below to ruby@TheFableists.com.

The little punk’s name:

Their age:

Where they’re from:

Tell us why this kid stands out from the rest by answering ALL the following questions in no more than 200 words (50 words per question).

What’s their biggest passion?

What’s their greatest achievement?

What do they wanna be when they grow up?

If they could have one superpower what would it be?

Attach a photo

In subject line, please put ‘Casting Call: [Child’s Name and Age]’

Let’s Hear it For the Girls

When Asked to Accessorize their Fableists' Duds, this is what they came up with

When Asked to Accessorize their Fableists’ Duds, this is what they came up with

The Fableists’ clothing is designed to be mostly unisex. You might be asking yourself: How does this work? We know that your sons might not want to wear dresses and are also very aware that little girls can be partial to a bit of embellishment! My girls are often drawn to the most garish items I can imagine. They love dressing up but, day to day, they are happiest in clothes that don’t hold them back. They love the clothes we’re producing for The Fableists. They just feel right and they let kids be themselves – while also looking decidedly cool!

Boys and girls can be very different – but they are all kids and kids like to run around and play. They need physical activity and to explore their surroundings. Our clothes are made for living in. We don’t mean your daughter can’t also have party dresses in her closet. We just hope that you will make considered decisions about which party dress you buy, where it came from, who made it, what it’s made from. A well-purchased party dress can be worn year round to a number of different occasions – by more than one girl.

Also, girls like to accessorize their outfits. Sometimes we can’t even see the kid through all the hair clips, scarves, layers and dollies they come out with. But all the patterns, sparkles, and accessories can be a bit hard on the eyes. The Fableists’ clothes provide a perfect canvas for your daughter’s self expression. The classic simple styling is a perfect backdrop for all that accessorizing!

Unisex clothes don’t mean you can’t let little girls be as girlie as they wish to be. Have fun with them!

Accessories are model's own!

Accessories are model’s own!

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Western Top

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Parisienne Smock Dress. She’s outgrown the length of the sample but it works well as a tunic

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Denim Skirt with Western Top

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Trying to Sum Up What We’re All About

Copy of FABLEISTS_Logo_Reversed_monoEvery company needs a short text that sums up what they are all about. It needs to convey all the passion they feel for their product without losing the interest of the public! The clever and creative folks at Brothers and Sisters, London, who are our advertising agency partners have been working on this. We’d love to hear what you think:

When we first put one tiny foot in front of the other, there wasn’t a word to describe us.

So we made one up.

Fableist (fay-buh-list) noun:

A group of people making the coolest clothing for little punks! Garments that are not only designed well, but are also completely sustainable.

Origin:
2012-13; [ fable + activitist ]

Fable; a short story with a moral
Activist; Someone with a rebellious spirit who makes positive change happen

We’re going all the way and we want to take you with us.

Between us, we can break the cycle of kids making clothes for kids.

And we’re going to do it by turning our young ‘uns into the hippest kids on the block.

Our look is based heavily on old school utilitarian work-wear and classic vintage clothing. Timeless, hard-wearing clobber that will look just as cool in 10 years time on the mean streets on New York, London, Paris or Tokyo.

And our threads aren’t about seasons. They’re designed to be worn all year round by both boys and girls.

We are properly sustainable every little step of the way. And we respect every person along the way who makes our clothing happen.

The Fableists. Play hard, live forever.

Become a Fableist. Join the revolution!

Here’s Where We’re At

French Chore Coat and Classic Straight Cut Jeans

French Chore Coat and Classic Straight Cut Jeans

The final samples of our first range of cool clobber will be delivered to us in about 2 weeks’ time. We are too excited! We are currently planning the next steps of our launch with our agency, Brothers and Sisters. These will include a short brand film (or two), which will be shot by a global production company and great director.

We are also planning a fantastic launch night in London – want to come? We have a photo shoot scheduled with one of the coolest photographers in the fashion world. These images will then appear on our web site and in our look book and as soon as they are online, we will be taking pre-orders for the very first Fableists clothing. You’ll be able to deck your little punks in The Fableists clothing for Christmas!

It’s all happening and we’ve been keeping very busy. The web site is in its final stages and we will be revealing it to you soon.

Made Strong to Last Long T-Shirt by Crispin Finn

Made Strong to Last Long T-Shirt by Crispin Finn

Meet Herbal fab, Purveyor of Sustainable Fabrics

Kunal

Mr Kunal Balar, Co-Owner of Herbal fab

Herbal fab offer sustainable textiles and eco-friendly dying to the garment industry. They are located in Ahmedabad, India. They are providing GOTS certified denim and chambray for The Fableists’ first range of clothing.

We spoke to co-owner Mr Kunal Balar.

The Fableists > Tell us a bit about what Herbal Fab do.

Mr. Kunal Balar > Herbal fab is mostly about promoting anything which is Organic or sustainable related to textiles and clothing. Visiting our website www.herbalfab.com will brief on the fabrics we are trying to promote, dyeing techniques we follow and custom clothing service we provide for baby to adult.

The Fableists > When did you start and what inspired you to start the company?

Mr. Kunal Balar > It is difficult to say when we started exactly. In 2007 we began researching and trying to actually understand the Organic Textile field and dyeing techniques associated. We started about a year and a half after that.

We are from a well-established, family-owned textile business that has been selling conventional shirting fabrics for men and kids in the Indian market for over 40 years.

Herbal Fab is run by two brothers Mr Prashant Balar and Mr Kunal Bala. We are both electronic engineers and started our careers in the Electronics and IT Industries but left them soon to find a more satisfying path in life and joined our family business.
But seeing the unrepairable damage done by the hazardous chemicals used at each stage of conventional textile processing we wanted to make a change – have an impact. This vision led to the birth of Herbal fab.

herbal fab 2The Fableists > Why organic?

Mr. Kunal Balar > There will be nothing left for the generations to come if we are not sustainable in what we do and a simple rule to be sustainable is to give back to nature what you take from it in the same form; if that is not possible then in a form that is still useful or at least not harmful.

There are many factors involved in opting for Organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.

Organic cotton is grown without using pesticides from plants which are not genetically modified. Some other aspects of organic cotton growing:
• Organic cotton growing method protects the groundwater quality, reduces insects and disease by manipulating the ecosystem.
• Organic cotton growers prevent pests through beneficial habitat planting. It eliminates the usage of toxic chemicals that are normally used for manufacturing conventional cotton.
• Organic cotton crops yield higher organic matter, thicker topsoil, lowers modulus rupture, thus reducing soil erosion.

Benefits from the environmental point of view:
• Carbon footprint: One acre of organic cotton instead of an acre of conventional cotton reduces CO2 release by two tones a year.
• Conventional Cotton, which is planted on less than 3% of the world’s arable land, uses around 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the world’s pesticides.
• 1/3 pound of agricultural chemicals is typically used in the production of a single cotton T-shirt.
• World Health Organization estimates that every year pesticides poison at least three million people and kills 20-40,000 people.
• Health hazard: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton crops are potential or known human carcinogens. Among these pesticides are Cyanide, Dicofol, Naled, Propargite and Trifularin, which are known cancer-causing chemicals.
• In 1995, pesticide-contaminated runoff from cotton fields in Alabama killed 240,000 fish, and currently, it is estimated that pesticides unintentionally kill 67 million birds each year.

And from the farmers’ point of view:
• Spiral of debt: Pests build up resistance to chemicals, farmer borrows money to buy more chemicals than before, farmer gets less profit from crop, repeat until farmer is destitute. In parts of India agricultural chemicals take up 60% of the farmer’s production budget. In Maharashtra alone, the government estimates that over 1,000 farmers have committed suicide since 2001 because they were irrevocably in debt.
• Most pests develop immunity to these products in 5-6 years, forcing companies to develop stronger chemicals. All these chemicals endanger the farmers and their families’ lives on a daily basis and could potentially be a hazard for all human beings using cotton products (esp the farmers who handle them day-in and day-out) as they contain trace toxins which are never eliminated.

herbal fab

The Fableists > Please tell us about the certification you have attained?

Mr. Kunal Balar > We are certified by Onecert for GOTS.

The Fableists > Do you work directly with farmers to buy the cotton you use?

Mr. Kunal Balar > No we are not involved in cotton growing. We are indirectly associated with the farmers but we work with the weavers and spinners.

The Fableists > How is your dying process eco-friendly? What sorts of dyes do you use?

Mr. Kunal Balar > We at Herbal Fab provide fabrics in two types of processed form:

GOTS Approved Natural Dyeing (Some also refer this as vegetable dyeing or herbal Dyeing): We have expertise in dying/printing with flowers, roots, fruits, etc., like turmeric, onion, myraballams, madder, kesu flowers, dhavadi flowers, natural indigo and more.

This not only prevents water pollution due to replacement of petrochemical dyes with vegetable dyes/natural dyes but also imparts medicinal value to cloth as many herbs used for dyeing have high medicinal value. This is not a new-found process; it was a common practice in ancient India. It is historically done by hand and on small scale. We at Herbal fab are just trying to revive the age old dyeing practice followed by our ancestors.

GOTS low Impact Dyeing: GOTS Low impact dyeing printing is the processing with low impact dyes as followed world over under GOTS standard.

herbal fab 1The Fableists > Apart from cotton, which other textiles do you produce?

Mr. Kunal Balar > Apart from organic cotton, we promote KHADI (handspun and Handwoven) fabric, handloom fabrics, Peace silk , wood-based fibres.

The Fableists > What are Herbal Fab’s goals for the future?

Mr. Kunal Balar > We feel about 80% of people who are in this Organic field are small (Designers , Clothing start ups, etc) who are wanting to do something good but are not able to because of the high minimum order quantifies associated and other difficulties of sourcing/sewing in this already niche organic market. Our aim is to reach out to as many such individuals/companies as possible meeting their fabric/clothing needs through our set ups/experience/contacts. We believe that if many of these individuals/companies were able to pass this initial hurdle , we would no longer have this organic field labeled as “niche”.

The Fableists > What is your primary market? Who buys your product?

Mr. Kunal Balar > Our primary market is designers , wholesale/retail fabric companies , private brand/clothing companies looking for custom clothing as per specification.

The Fableists > Tell us about the denim that you are making for The Fableists.

Mr. Kunal Balar > The denim is made under a reputed set up in the world of denim making.

All dyes and chemicals used are checked and agreed against RSL. ETP plant and the water discharged is per Government Pollution Board norms. Also the, fabric is made as per GOTS STANDARD.

The Organic cotton is coming from the Vidarbha region in Akola. It encompasses approximately 27,000 acres of farmland employing nearly 3,700 farmers. All the organic cotton produced at these organic farms is certified by the Control Union Certification, Netherlands. We have the Organic cotton coming from Madhya Pradesh region also.

The Fableists > Have you seen an increase in sales recently? Are more people buying organic textiles?

Mr. Kunal Balar > Yes, definitely there is an increase from when we started off but it is more in Europe and USA with Australia catching up. But, in India it is still difficult to convince people on this.

eBay? Yeah, we love it too

How many of you spend hours trolling eBay with no specific purpose? We’re guilty of the eBay browse and we totally encourage this behaviour. Regular viewing can turn up some terrific bargains on, well, pretty much anything.

eBay can be a fun, cheap way to buy clothes. It satisfies the urge to shop while also giving a second chance to used items. It can also get pretty competitive. Personally, I prefer the tortuous approach to bidding where you forego the maximum bid option and instead sit watching the time tick down, hoping that no one will sail in and make a last ditch attempt to foil your buying. Matt tells me this is very amateur eBaying but I think it adds to the thrill.

Do not be afraid to buy clothes on eBay. If there are no stains or rips then, once washed they can be like new – and all yours. Most of the time, you won’t know where their brand new clothes have been either! There is LOADS of tat on eBay but if you narrow your search to brands you know you love, or to hard wearing fabrics, like denim, then you’re bound to come up with a winner (or six!). Ask questions about sizing because some brands come up small or big and you can’t usually return items bought on eBay. Also, take in to account that a worn item has probably shrunk and you might have to size up.

Soon you’ll be browsing eBay for The Fableists’ clothing. In the meantime, admire some of my latest eBay purchases – some great items!

Denim Skirt Bought on eBay

Denim Skirt Bought on eBay

Petit Bateau Dress Bought on eBay

Dress Bought on eBay

Petit Bateau Denim Dress Bought on eBay

Denim Dress Bought on eBay

Petit Bateau Chambray Play Suit Bought on eBay

Chambray Play Suit Bought on eBay

Petit Bateau Denim Skirt Bought on eBay

Denim Skirt Bought on eBay

‘Vintage’, not ‘Second Hand’

I guess you could say that ‘vintage’ is a fancy pants word for ‘second hand’ but they aren’t exactly the same thing. We think that items of quality earn the tag ‘vintage’ as they age because they either get better or, with proper care, show no wear at all. While brand new, dark denim is totally sweetchious, nothing beats your old worn-in jeans. Buying new jeans that are made to look worn in is for poseurs but it also takes a pile of chemicals and a huge amount of water to achieve those wear marks.

Smock Top and Denim Skirt

Smock Top and Denim Skirt

We don’t want to wish time away but as we prepare for the launch of The Fableists, we are already excited for the time when our clothes achieve ‘vintage’ status! If you use a cold wash and line dry our clothes, there is no reason they won’t last to pass on to a sibling, other family member, friend, sell on eBay or at a local consignment shop. We love the look of these clothes brand spanking new but can’t you just see how great they’ll look by kid number two?

Smock Dress

Smock Dress

Slow Fashion is…well…slow!

Those of you who have been following our story will know that we had originally planned to launch The Fableists in June. Looking at my calendar this morning, I can’t help notice that June has come. And gone.

We just want to make sure we do this right. We want to make sure the clothes we launch with are perfect, that everything is made sustainably. We want to double check everything so that when you order a t-shirt from us, the process goes smoothly and your item is delivered to you properly, from the time we launch our web site. All of this takes time, and we don’t want to rush because that’s when corners get cut and someone along the line gets the short end of the stick.

We will have our first t-shirts in a few weeks and once we know that they are perfect, we will put them up on our site and we hope that you will love them as much as we do! The images that accompany this post are some of the designs that will be included in our first offering of limited edition, artist-designed t-shirts for kids. They won’t last forever, so choose your favourites now and be ready. They will be available in sizes 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10.

Thank you for your patience, and your support.

The Fableists

The Clothes Need to Look Good!

Western Shirt and Gregori Saavedra's 'You are What you Wear' T-Shirt

Western Shirt and Gregori Saavedra’s ‘You are What you Wear’ T-Shirt

The sustainability of The Fableists’ clothing is one of our top considerations in designing and making the clothes. The other is how the clothes will look. While The Fableists put a huge emphasis on environmental, social and ethical considerations, we also want the little punks in our tribe to look sharp! Sustainable style has to transcend the whims of fashion, so our classic and clean tailoring is versatile.

Steve Scott's 'Rocking Bird' T-Shirt

Steve Scott’s ‘Rocking Bird’ T-Shirt

The majority of our clothes are made to suit both boys and girls, to be worn throughout the year and to be ideal for any number of occasions…all the while looking cool and being practical from a parenting standpoint. They are tough, well made, meant to pass on when outgrown and easy to care for. After all, how many tucks, creases, pleats and ruffles can one person iron in a lifetime?

Smock Top

Smock Top

You might choose our clothes because they are ethically made with materials that don’t cost the Earth but you can also choose our clothes based on looks alone. We want to change the way that we buy clothes, one design at a time.

Chore Coat and Classic Straight Cut Jeans

Chore Coat and Classic Straight Cut Jeans