In a world of fast fashion, ever-changing trends and a distinct lack of care for garment workers and employees, Faceconceptstores Ltd. is a breath of fresh air.
Following the success of the Northampton-based label’s first collection, Where Is Your Face?, creative duo Sean Chimbani and Amelia Ellis are back with a colourful and refreshing second drop, inspired by the personal impacts of the pandemic on all of us and aptly titled Face Changes.
The bold collection is small but mighty, containing 10 pieces including fashion, accessories and homeware. Every item is genderless and of course, sustainably produced – something the team feel very passionate about.
Faceconceptstores Ltd have opted to work with all-female Amsterdam knitwear team KNITWEAR LAB to produce garments for the collection, including the Oranges jumper and Cherub vest.
The colour palette consists of bold orange, turquoise and cream, creating memorable garments that will easily stand the test of time.
“People have forgotten that fashion can be art,” Faceconceptstores Ltd Sean tells me over the phone. “Fashion is art – our garments are art. Once they’re out of stock, they’re done. And we move on to the next collection. Seasonality and trends don’t mean anything.”
A bold statement from a brand, let alone one that’s been around less than a year. But for Sean and creative partner Amelia, FACE was never about making as much money as possible, rather to use the brand as a platform for issues that transcend garments.
“When we started FACE, sustainability was the first thing we thought about,” Sean explains. “With so many fast fashion brands choosing production methods that result in tons ending up in landfill, we wanted to put out a message to people.
“Face is a platform to learn. We want people to go on to the website and understand why we are choosing to be sustainable. We know there is more cost to going down that route, but we want to give our customers something with longevity rather than a throwaway garment that ends up in landfill.”
“There would be no pride in being part of an issue [fast fashion] that is so severe,” Amelia adds. “We are about pushing things forward. Not having a sustainability ethos was never an option – it was always something we knew we wanted to be pushing for.”
For FACE, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; Amelia is quick to point fingers at brands ‘jumping on the band wagon’ to appeal to shoppers keen to reduce their carbon footprint.
“There are a lot of emerging brands that advertise themselves as eco yet they use recycled materials that actually, after all the processes involved, don’t actually end up sustainable,” she explains.
“Our main focus meanwhile is on small capsule collections that drop less frequently – it’s far slower consumerism, not shopping as much, and getting as much wear out of them as possible – which is where the quality of the garments come in.
“The pre order model we use means we don’t hold any stock until it’s been ordered. We launch with a single sample – we then see how many people want to order and then we order that amount to be created.
“This, combined with our use of eco-material, allows us to minimise waste and stop stock going to landfill.”
Like the first collection, Face Changes has been met with rave reviews from their growing audience since it dropped in July. Just like with so many other businesses, Covid-19 left its mark on Sean – and subsequently, his latest collection.
“Covid allowed me to discover more about myself,” Sean says. “Before I thought I didn’t have time, but lockdown opened me up to be even more creative in that moment – to hone in and be the best version of myself. I had all this time, couldn’t see my friends – so I put all my energy on this project.
“When we started with Where is your Face – the whole premise was about looking closely at who you are. It’s about uncovering the story behind the person, behind the art.
“From that, Face Changes emerged, which speaks to how people’s faces change over time – not just physically, but your identity too. Your character is just as malleable as your physical body.
“One of my major influencers is Kerby Jean-Raymond, the creative director of Pyer Moss. He was the first Black-American designer to be asked by the Chambre Syndicale to present a couture collection.
“When I look at his work, it is so inspiring – it empowers the black culture. His most recent collection for Paris Haute Couture – was based on inventions by black people.
“Items like the afro comb – all of those have been integrated into his garments. It’s this sort of storytelling that we aspire to do with every collection.”
So, what’s next for FACE?
“Collection 3 is something we are still having conversations on. We’re thinking about how we can continue the story,” says Sean. “ We’ve come through Covid and life is starting to come back to normal – we’ll see where that topic takes us.”
We can’t wait to see what the next chapter of the FACE story brings us.
You can follow FACE on Instagram @face_ltd
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Oranges Sweater, £180 – buy now
Cherub Crewneck Sweater, £150 – buy now
Face Orange Logo Hat, £30 – buy now
Cherub Sock, £10 – buy now