Matt, the Founder on Why he Launched The Fableists

Matt Cooper, Founder of The Fableists

Matt Cooper, Founder of The Fableists

I’m Matt Cooper, and I guess you could say I’m the guy who started this thing and I thought I’d tell you why.

I have been lucky enough to spend 25 years working in the advertising and production industries. Starting in an agency dispatch department, I have worked in a number of companies in various fields within the advertising world. I have been able (along wife my wife, Sarah Cooper, who runs this blog) to create a few things within the advertising world that have become interesting global businesses. Along this journey, we have worked with and met some of the world’s most celebrated advertising people, from top creatives to world class directors and been inspired by their creativity but also how they so often put their ideas and talent towards good causes.

It was while I was in India on business that the journey towards launching The Fableists began. I fell head over heels in love with India and started to read about it. For several years, the only books I would read were based in India, about the history, the culture, the people. You could say I got a little obsessed! As part of my personal study of India, I read about child labour and grim factory settings. This made me start to look more deeply in to the garment industry in general. I became interested in the whole process of making clothes and was shocked to discover what heavy chemicals are used to grow the raw materials we make clothes from and in the dyes we use. I was horrified to learn that farmers in India were exposed to these chemicals and that it was making them and their families ill, that Indian farmers in their thousands were committing suicide in order to escape the cycle of debt in which they were finding themselves because they weren’t getting a fair price for their crops. On top of that, as a lifelong asthmatic and father of one eczema sufferer, I couldn’t believe that this could be partially caused by the presence of chemicals in the clothes that I was wearing; that I was clothing my children in. I wasn’t entirely naïve to the slightly dodgy by-products of the fashion industry but this was a wake-up call.

So, I made some changes to the way I buy clothes, and my family buys them. I started talking to people about sustainable clothing. I spoke to some clothing designers about ideas, I spoke to people in the ethical and sustainable fashion world, I spoke to the contacts I had in the advertising industry… I was probably kind of annoying! I was like a dog with a new bone and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I believed we could do something to make some changes and that we could do them now, rather than waiting for some deadline a decade (or more) away. In trying to make changes to how my family consumed, I found that there weren’t any sustainable clothes for kids that suited us. I thought: ‘We could make them. Why not? We’ve started businesses before!’ Between my passion for buying sustainably, my desire to create some cool kids’ clothes, and my connection to the creative world – I had a bit of a light bulb moment. We could do two things: create a lovely but edgy kids fashion brand that would appeal to this trendy crowd (and others) and work with those brilliant creatives to help us create the brand and get it out to the rest of the world and help spread a very real, positive story – minus any b*llshit. And bang! We were off.

What we wanted to do was simple. First of all, build beautiful, design-led clothes that would be affordable and sustainable. And secondly, allow you – the buyer – to find out everything about who produced them, designed them, packed them, shipped them and helped us along the way. Really we were creating our own mini movement to push out to the world. We know you want to make good choices and we’re offering you an easy, stylish way of doing just that.

We built the brand and started to put a team of people together, all of whom we met through business one way or another, to build on our mission to change the world, one design at a time. That beautiful line and simple mission statement was dreamt up our agency partners Brother & Sisters. You can read more about them and why they have gotten behind this project in the Our Story section of this blog. We are also working with director Olivier Venturini of global production company Great Guns to create documentary style films about amazing kids who are true Fableists. We are in the process of creating a beautiful brand film, written by the team at Brother and Sisters and animated by Oscar-winning visual effects company The Mill. The Fableists are many!

What started with a small idea has now launched as a brand and we are both excited and extremely proud of what we have achieved. This business is and always will be a collaboration of creative folk doing what we think is right and giving our customers what we believe they want – amazing clothes that will stand out from the crowd (and last) and for the business to be totally sustainable. We want you to hear our whole story as it unfolds and you can always find out more about The Fableists on this blog.

This is a passion for us. It’s become a lifestyle and it’s certainly helped me make more positive choices in the way I buy. We hope it will do the same for you.

We hope you like where we are going so far and hope you’ll pick up some of our clobber for your own lovely little punks.

We are always eager to hear from you, so please be in touch.

Viva La Fableists!

Matt Cooper

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What do we Mean by ‘Sustainable’?

From the Oxford English Dictionary

From the Oxford English Dictionary

The Fableists is first and foremost about designing cool, vintage-inspired clobber for kids. Our clothes are imbued with a rebellious ‘dare to think different’ attitude and we want our tribe of little punks to challenge some of the ills in the fashion world.

Living as sustainably as possible just makes good sense. But can fashion be sustainable? The Fableists believe that it can be and it certainly can be better than it is currently. The Fableists is a business but we want our company to have a positive impact and combine social responsibility and care for the environment. At the same time, we don’t want you to give up personal style in order to buy well, so we offer you great clothes that don’t cost the Earth and her inhabitants.

Today, there are countless certifying bodies who evaluate all aspects of your business in order to award you certain accreditation. These vary by region and a number of them evaluate to a global standard. These are all a huge, positive step towards a more sustainable world. The fact that so many people now recognise what a Fair Trade label (for instance) means on their clothes or food is a massive change from how consumers shopped a decade ago.

Many clothing companies describe their clothes as ‘fairly traded’, ‘ethical’, or ‘eco’ and have the certification to back it up. We have chosen to use ‘sustainable’ to describe The Fableists because we feel it covers all of these areas. Therefore, the certification that is the most important to us, is the Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS. GOTS is the “world’s leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.” So, they evaluate the entire process from fibre production to processing and manufacturing to ensure that textiles remain ‘organic’ throughout. At the same time, they have a minimum of environmental and social criteria that must be met. This covers everything from chemicals and their toxicity and biodegradability through the entire supply chain, to maintaining the implementation of key criteria on labour set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This certifies that the factories we are using do not use child or forced labour, that employees have safe and hygienic work environment, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, living wages are paid and more.

We hope this information is helpful. Please do contact us with comments or feedback.

Ta Dah! Some more of our First Artist-Designed T-Shirts – Available Soon!

"This is a Flag" by Gregori Saavedra

“This is a Flag” by Gregori Saavedra

These were the very first designs we fell in love with. We had to have them! They are designed by Barcelona native Gregori Saavedra. He is represented by Jelly London for his work. We have featured an interview with Gregori, which you can read here.

"You are What you Wear" by Gregori Saavedra

“You are What you Wear” by Gregori Saavedra

Follow our blog to get an update whenever we post. We’ll keep the word count low here, and just allow you to enjoy the fine, fine artwork. These t-shirts will be available soon at http://www.TheFableists.com.

"Brain" by Gregori Saavedra

“Brain” by Gregori Saavedra

"I Don't Want to Be Like You" by Gregori Saavedra

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” by Gregori Saavedra