Bamford was founded on the belief that we need to be more mindful of our connection to the earth – to live consciously, in harmony with nature and to respect the land that provides for us. We create objects for the home and body to inspire our community to be more connected: to themselves, to others and to the environment. We do so in tandem with craftspeople and communities who bring our collections to life in an ethically-minded and conscious way.
To guide us on this path, we have outlined our four areas of responsibility to monitor our progress: Keeping craft alive, Enduring design, Preferred materials and Community & collaboration. We also have the Butterfly Mark certification, powered by Positive Luxury, for our commitment to social and environmental sustainability.
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'Bamford was born out of a belief that what we put on our body should be as nourishing and nurturing as what we put inside it through our food. Our products are beautifully considered, rich in meaning and quality, with a story we can be proud of.'
Keeping craft alive
We believe in supporting and championing the work of artisans and are uncompromising and passionate about preserving their skills, heritage and traditions. Craftsmanship enables and promotes a slow, considered way of producing; craftspeople tend to work with their hands, producing in small runs, offering quality over quantity and ensuring the final object is truly unique.
Nurturing traditional skills
Many traditional craft skills are at risk of being lost as mass manufacturing provides a cheaper alternative with much more damaging environmental impact and footprints. In many craft communities, younger generations are losing touch with the skills that are woven into their heritage, resulting in the extinction of production methods that have been around for centuries. By providing a source of income and productivity for these communities and makers, we extend a lifeline to the knowledge and artistry that underpins craft – providing renewed meaning and a new relevance for traditional skills.
Supporting artisan communities
Through our collections – particularly those for the home – we explore our deep appreciation and connection to regional craftspeople to reimagine their ancient skills. Artisans rarely work in isolation; their method is rooted in a strong connection to the landbase from which they source their materials, or the social background of their community. Our support of these local communities, and the factories, makers and artisans that sustain them, are as important to us as the materials we work.
Explore the stories of the craftspeople and artisan communities we work with in our online journal.
OUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE LONGSTANDING, AND WE CONSIDER IT CRITICAL TO SUSTAIN THE SOURCE OF INCOME WE PROVIDE THE MANY ARTISAN COMMUNITIES WITH WHOM WE COLLABORATE SO CLOSELY.
Made in India
OVER 3.5 MILLION PEOPLE IN INDIA ARE ENGAGED IN HANDSPINNING AND HANDWEAVING, AND ARTISANS CONSTITUTE THE SECOND LARGEST SOURCE OF INDIAN EMPLOYMENT FOLLOWING AGRICULTURE.
Made in Scotland
WE RELY ON THE GENERATIONS OF EXPERTISE AND UNRIVALLED QUALITY THAT MARK OUT KNITWEAR PRODUCTION IN SCOTLAND AND WANT TO SEE IT SURVIVE INTO THE FUTURE.
CRAFT: OUR PROGRESS
• Handwoven and handprinted fabrics have a strong presence in each of our collections, allowing us to embrace and support a heritage, traditions and skills passed down through generations. This year, one fifth of our Spring-Summer collection employed traditional hand-block printing, hand-spinning and handweaving techniques, predominantly from India.
• 50% of our knitwear is made in Scotland and 50% is made in Italy, providing essential support for an industry rooted in small-scale family businesses that are in danger of being lost.
• Each season we collaborate with a series of artists and makers to craft beautiful objects for the home and conscious living. Our ongoing efforts to support local craftspeople is part of our commitment to championing slower methods of production, favouring quality over quantity and celebrating the beauty in the imperfect.
Photography: Martin Morrell
Working closely with independent makers and small-scale producers guarantees a quality and longevity that mass mechanical production cannot surpass. The craftspeople we collaborate with have a deep respect for the materials they work with, and strive to produce objects that will be cherished and long-lasting.
Made to last
Designing fewer collections for maximum longevity is part of our commitment to treading more lightly. The concept of ‘waste’ does not exist in the earth’s naturally circular systems, in which all resources are used and fed back into the ecosystem for future nourishment. Our collections are thoughtfully curated and produced in small runs to ensure that we avoid contributing to the mounting waste problem, selectively sourcing and minimising the volume of materials and resources that enter and leave the product life cycle.
Returning to the soil
We also design our products in a way that ensures they will not degrade the land if they are eventually disposed of or recycled. Our choice to use predominantly natural fibres ensures our garments are of the highest quality that can be worn and loved for many years, and will ultimately biodegrade. As natural fibres biodegrade they return carbon to the soil and provide nutrients for growth, in contrast to synthetic fibres such as polyester which takes decades to decompose and would degrade the soil in the process.
We are committed to using natural fibres as they are biodegradable and will one day be returned to the soil without harming it. Kinder to skin and designed to last.
Where we do use synthetic fibres to enable stretch, we have chosen recycled polymers which are produced with a reduction in CO2 emissions and water consumption.
Our design teams are always looking for creative ways to prevent waste, ensuring that excess materials from one supply chain can be repurposed to fulfil needs in another.
How to care for your garments
We understand that pieces purchased from Bamford are an investment, and we want to provide the means for you to enjoy your garment for a very long time. One of the simplest yet most effective things we can each do for the planet is to extend the life of our clothes. Our Preferred Materials guide provides a reference for how to care for our most-used natural fibres and materials, offering a helpful resource if you have questions about washing, storing or even repairing your garments. If your question is not answered by our online guide, we invite you to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also bring your garment into any of our Bamford stores, and our teams will be able to advise on available repair services.
Visit our Preferred Materials guide for a quick reference for how to care for our most-used natural fibres and materials.
We rely heavily on the generosity of nature to source the materials used to create our collections, and we want to ensure that the land that provides for us is able to provide for future generations and for the flora and fauna that call these natural ecosystems ‘home’. This means sourcing natural fibres and ingredients in a responsible way, having minimal impact on the earth, and where possible switching to certified organic sources and processes in our clothing and bath & body collections to protect the health of the soil in which these natural ingredients grow.
Fibres & Textiles
There are certain preferred materials that we return to again and again for our textiles, chosen for their quality and durability. Natural fibres derived from plants and animals have always been the default at Bamford. Where we turn to plant fibres, such as cotton, we have consistently increased the percentage of certified organic or handspun and handwoven cotton each year since 2018, minimising the impact our cotton has on people and planet as alternatives to conventionally farmed cotton.
We also aim to work with and celebrate a variety of animal fibres, from alpaca and wool to cashmere and yak, and we have always relied on their natural durability and breathability to elevate our designs. Working with a variety of fibres ensures we are not placing stress on a particular resource or contributing to land degradation from over-farming. What unites plant and animal fibres unequivocally is the need for healthy, nutrient-rich soil.
FIBRES: OUR PROGRESS
• For 2021, 79% of cotton fibres used in our collection are fully traceable from source and 64% is GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. We have increased our usage of traceable cotton by 12% from 2020, and are commited to growing this number each season.
• 46% of the wool fibres used in our 2021 collections is traceable to the source and 27% of wool fibres used are Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified. The Responsible Wool Standard is a voluntary standard that addresses the welfare of the sheep and the land they graze on; it ensures the farmers have a progressive approach to managing their land, and practising holistic respect for their animals’ welfare.
• This Autumn-Winter season we are proud to introduce regenerative fibres into our clothing collection: 28% of the silk we are using is sourced from a silk farm that uses regenerative farming practices.
The soil is the first home for the natural ingredients that our signature formulations for the skin are made from. We endeavour to meet the COSMOS standard as defined and accredited by the Soil Association – the highest standard in organic bodycare – for all new products in our Bath & Body collection. The Soil Association reviews the entire manufacturing process: the sourcing of ingredients, energy and water usage information and environmental waste management plans and premises, holding us accountable and ensuring that their packaging can be recycled and will not return to the earth as a pollutant or end up in landfill.
Consideration for where we source our materials extends beyond our products and into our packaging. We avoid unnecessary packaging where possible, embracing both recycled and recyclable solutions as well as designing high quality vessels that can be kept and given a second life. Our bags and envelopes used in store are made from an innovative recycled cotton paper, and our online delivery boxes are made from recycled cardboard that is 100% recyclable.
People, Community & Collaboration
Community is at the heart of the Bamford philosophy, and it has always been our mission to nurture the relationships we have with likeminded collaborators and initiatives who share in this. It is a philosophy that stems from the work of our founder, Carole Bamford, a champion of craftsmanship, traditional skills and natural living.
Carole Bamford has set up several foundations to support a range of community-based causes with a particular focus and commitment to supporting women. As a female-founded business, this is a cause that is woven into the fabric of Bamford’s story.
The Lady Bamford Charitable Trust
The Lady Bamford Charitable Trust was founded in 2001 with the objective of helping people from the most disadvantaged quarters in India access a better quality of life.
Since the Trust’s launch, it has supported the quality of education within schools; provided skills and training to help prepare pupils for life after school; helped women and young men from developing communities learn traditional crafts and then use these skills to provide valuable employment; set up self-help groups within rural communities so that women have greater financial literacy and autonomy and helped build roads, sanitation units, water pipelines and provide medical facilities.
Nila House was opened in October 2019. It is a cultural centre of excellence located in Jaipur, spearheaded by the Lady Bamford Foundation. The rooms and workshops at Nila House are a space for people to come together and learn about craft and design, guided by masters in their field including block printing, hand-spinning, hand-weaving, embroidery and natural dyes. The initiative offers a platform for artistic exchange, innovation and education but also a space for creativity, cultural exchange and the crafting of hand-made textiles.
The Butterfly Mark
We see it as a strength to seek out the expertise of others and value close collaboration with like-minded advocates of sustainable living – sharing knowledge as well as passions. In 2020, Bamford was certified by Positive Luxury with the Butterfly Mark, for our commitment to social and environmental sustainability. Having the Butterfly Mark certification by Positive luxury is a reassurance for our community that our commitments are verified.
Founded in 2011, Positive Luxury connects luxury brands and people who care about the future through the unique Butterfly Mark certification, which demonstrate a company’s positive action towards people and our planet. The Butterfly Mark certification identifies Bamford as part of a community of businesses that is collectively seeking to transform the luxury industry through sustainable and ethical practices that not only mitigate their impact on the planet, but aim to contribute positively to its future.
We understand the urgency of attending to our planet’s health and the role we play as a business and a community to contribute in a positive way. We acknowledge that sustainability is not an end-goal that can be met or achieved; it is a journey of ongoing improvement, an enduring commitment to responsible practises and continuous education throughout our community. It is something that can always be improved upon.
We are ambitious and determined, and we are also grateful to our community for your patience while we learn – from our community and from the earth – how we can further lighten our footprint. We look forward to continuing this journey with you.
Curious to learn more?
If you would like to understand our commitments to sustainable and responsible practises in more detail, we invite you to read our Sustainability FAQ's where more information about our progress and commitments can be found.
If your question is not answered here, you are welcome to contact our customer support teams or reach out to us on social media @bamford.
Everything we do at Bamford is born out of my belief that we need to live more consciously: to slow our pace, be mindful of our footprint and take care of the earth that provides for us. In doing so we nourish and nurture our own well-being too.
Bamford Merino Collection
Bamford is pioneering a first-of-its-kind project. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our upcoming Merino Collection - made from the finest merino wool that has been sheared, spun and knitted in the UK. Launching autumn '21.