TLP interviews Charlotte Sparey. Charlotte Sparey is a unique design talent combining a love and understanding of the history of lingerie and corsetry with a deep commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable fabrics.
Q. Tell us about your background.
A. I went to Demontfort University and did BA Contour Fashion which has been going for 50 years and still stands today as the only course in the world doing in-depth lingerie, corsetry, swimwear and basque design and construction.
Q. Did you complete a final project for the programme?
A. My final collection ‘Una Pinch, Awareness Collection’ has been based around the issues of the environment today. I wanted my customer to feel they where wearing a quality product with quality values. My construction focus was on the soft cup bra, reinventing classic shapes like the 60’s Berlie bra for the modern women, creating modern support using eco friendly raw materials.
Q. Eco friendly lingerie is a popular trend. We’ve seen seaweed and wood blends. (Read the archives). What sort of materials were you working with?
A. Coconut button details made from reclaimed coconut shells from a coconut milk factory. PJ top and shorts have silk moths printed on 40% hemp 60% silk fabric produced in the hills of China in a combination hemp and silk farm where workers have rights on there working conditions. Structural pieces like waspie’s, girdles, suspender belts and corset bras have been recycled from charity garments and backed with hemp. Organic cotton jersey, trims, elastics, threads and strapping as we have had many issues in Africa and Russia with pesticide poisoning.
Q. Sounds like you are very committed to this issue and that you have first hand experience with sourcing many of the materials. Are you working internationally?
A. I have just finished a 6 month contract with Shibani Inwear in Mauritius working as a lingerie design consultant which including working on collections with Playtex and Triumph. I worked on seamless knitted garments in a vertically integrated manufacturer which is still very much a revolutionary form of seam-less which I developed both seamless knitting and cut and sew bras.
Q. What are you doing now?
A. I am currently looking for a job in South Africa.
Q. Why don’t we review some of your pieces from you Una Pinch series?
A. These are very make do mend pieces with an awareness underlining tone. All garment come with ticket information about the raw products it was made and how far these products have traveled to be part of the piece. These garments are to be worn with pride as they are truly guilt free. Pieces range from £50.00-£250.00
The night dress was hand painted with cotton fields and has a recycled shirt front with coconut button.
Girdle – Recycled Charity checked cloth, Lined with hemp canvas and organic cotton. All Binding, boning case, rose trim and elastic are Organically produced and certified. Racerback Bra & Knicker set – This racerback shape, front fastened, silk/hemp lined bra, is non-wired with a metal double busk front. Also has boned side seam that combines to create a milk maid bursting bust of support. Both knicker and bra have charity cotton, hemp/silk and organic cottons.
Corset Bra & Suspender Belt – This short corset has been designed to boost the bust vintage style with a metal front busk and high racer back lacing. The suspender has been made as a matching set with charity cloth and organic cottons. Knicker – Compliments this tweed set with a lavish of silk/hemp with a hint of lacing throughout the rear.
V-shaped bra + knicker set – This silk soft cup bra has been designed with influence from the 60’s Berlie bra. It’s centre front triangle shape becomes the main support of which a floating cradle comes from to support and boost the bust without the need for a wire. The silk cups sit underneath the cradle and holds the silhouette from the support of the front triangle. The knickers flow through from the waspie with provocative lacing over the bum. Waspie – The waspie follows the bra with a contrasting triangle of silk/hemp and gives the waist a pinched silhouette with lavishes of lacing through the back. This also follows the charity cloth and organic cotton as seen through the collection.