By Jordan Rhodes
(Originally posted on our old site in July 2017)
British fashion has always been something I’m particularly drawn to, maybe because of the avant-garde designers the country has produced, or because of the eclectic wardrobes for which the Brits are known. I love their bold panache – they’re not afraid to take chances with colors or patterns. But having said that, as an American who lives in conservative Greenwich, Connecticut, here it is de rigeur to have a more structured, polished look, and that’s where I think British brand Beulah does a wonderful job of merging the styles I both covet and feel the need to wear. The pieces are tailored yet romantic; the patterns striking, yet modern. It has quickly become one of my favorite designer brands, and it’s no wonder they count everyone from Kate Moss to Kate Middleton as clients. The brand has also recently added a new component – Beulah Mini. The luxury childrenswear includes dresses for girls ages 3-12, in similar styles and patterns as some of the pieces for women. How fun to wear corresponding outfits with my oldest daughter when out for lunch or shopping!
The best part about Beulah, however, is its social impact on the issue of human trafficking. The brand focuses on improving the lives of survivors in several ways, most importantly by providing them with sustainable employment. These women create each season’s accessories, as well as work on a proportion of the ready-to-wear collection. Widespread marketing campaigns also help the company raise awareness, and 10% of all profits go towards the Beulah Trust, which was established to provide rescued women with healthcare and the chance to reintegrate with society. This commitment is something that has garnered Beulah respect not just from the fashion world, but also from organizations like the United Nations. To further their devotion to social justice, the company donates 10% of the sales from its blue heart products, found here, to the UN Blue Heart campaign, which is also focused on ending the sex trade.
So by wearing Beulah, clients are not only supporting the eradication of modern day slavery, but are also providing new beginnings for these vulnerable victims. How amazing is it to know that your fashion choices can help to save and empower women who need it the most? And Beulah makes that decision quite simple with the stunning pieces they create. In my interview below with co-designer Lavinia Brennan, who founded the brand along with Lady Natasha Rufus-Isaacs, take a further glimpse at Beulah’s history, social evolution, and plans for the future, as well as some of Lavinia’s England favorites.
When was Beulah founded and how did the partnership begin?
The brand was founded in 2010 after Natasha and I spent two months working in India in an aftercare home with women who had been rescued from the sex trade. We spent our afternoons teaching the women very basic sewing skills that they could use to create products and generate an income for themselves. It was here that we first understood the importance to provide an alternative, sustainable livelihood to victims of trafficking and witnessed the power of employment to transform lives. And so Beulah was born.
The brand is famously dedicated to promoting social justice. Please explain your focus and how you chose it.
Ultimately we seek to empower.
To bring hope and opportunity through employment to some of the most vulnerable women in the world, giving them a chance to live a life free from abuse.
Simultaneously, we’re on a mission to inspire women to look and feel beautiful, with the conscious knowledge that the choices they make and the actions they take can make a real difference to the lives of others.
How does that impact the way you design your line?
Each season we try and plan the narrative so that it ties back to the essence of the brand and build on the skills that the women have. For example, for SS18, which we are currently working on, we have been inspired by our recent trip to India and are building on the screen printing that is done by the women, to incorporate a new skill set of embroidery.
When we are designing we try to create pieces that will last a lifetime, and can be passed down from mother to daughter. This is because we are passionate about sustainability, creating good quality pieces that go against the trend of fast fashion.
Because Glimpse was founded as a luxury resource for families, we adore your childrenswear pieces. When did Beulah Mini first launch and what made you decide to include childrenswear?
We launched Beulah Mini in SS18. This was actually inspired by one of our mentors who has two beautiful daughters and thought it would be cute to have matching outfits to them. Natasha also now has two baby girls and Beulah Mini is something we have always dreamed of so we ran with the opportunity and started very small with one of our best selling summer dresses.
What does the future have in store for Beulah?
Our vision is for Beulah to grow into a lifestyle brand – dressing a woman for every special occasion in her life, whether it be on her holiday, her wedding day, her child’s christening. And at the heart of that we want to make sure that we are having as much impact as possible on the lives of those most vulnerable. We want to shake up the industry a little, turn things on its head and do things differently.
Watch this space!
And finally, since I am constantly updating our London guide for families, my readers and I would love to know your favorite:
Restaurants? The Ivy, Chelsea – i just love the outdoor garden, Chicama, Chelsea, and The Palomar, Soho
Hotels? My husband’s family own two beautiful hotels down in Cornwall called The Idle Rocks and St. Mawes Hotel. Cornwall is so special to me because we got married down there – when the sun is shining it is the most beautiful place to be.
Clothing boutiques? Beulah of course (located at 145 Ebury Street). My friend owns a boutique on the King’s Road called Baar and Bass, when I’m not at Beulah I’m there.
Home décor boutiques? Oka, India Jane
Gift boutiques? Baar and Bass
Beauty spots? I love having facials at the moment! and have just discovered this great place called Koia in Notting hill. Otherwise the cowshed spa at Soho Farmhouse is great.
Park? Richmond Park
Neighbourhood? Notting Hill