When ATTYRE came across sustainable knitwear label Study 34, we knew we were onto a good thing. The Newcastle based clothing company was established in 2014 by designer Eleanor O’Neill, who’s passion lies in contemporary luxury knitwear with an ethical standpoint.
As a promotor of slow fashion, Study 34 works on a special tailor made, made-to-order principle, resulting in unique, high in quality collections. Eleanor also supports British manufacturing, carrying out her research, sourcing, design developing and production within her studio, using hand operated machinery.
Waste was one of the biggest shocks I encountered. And by waste I don’t just mean resources & raw materials, important though they are, but also money & time. Communication between departments seemed to take forever. Prototypes were made without much thought. Everything seemed to be constantly being discarded in favour of something new.
It’s not often you can come across a label that has such a close relationship with its supply chain and really takes time to let the consumer know the story behind their purchase. Study 34 wants to bring back the relationship that people once had with their clothing, before we got caught up in our throwaway culture, fuelled by cheap and fast high-street clothing.
Eleanor said about the importance of quality over quantity in fashion;
“All study 34 garments are made to order, so there are no ‘stock’ garments. While this approach to production means slightly longer waiting times, it ensures that garments are not over produced. This results in a small, exclusive collection with no waste at the end of a season.”
Study 34’s garments are fully fashioned, meaning each individual panel that makes up the item is knitted into shape, eliminating any chances of textile waste. The block weave detailing in particular, adds a beautiful texture to the jumpers where you can really see the quality and precision.
What’s in store for the next collection?
I like to look at the artist as a starting point for ideas. For Autumn I’m looking at Matisse. I was totally entranced by his work at the Tate last year – the scale, his use of colour and method. There was an infantile quality to the final presentation that appealed to me.
With every collection I like to increase my use of recycled yarns, and exploring what’s available is always exciting. These yarns are typically ‘end of line’ raw materials that would otherwise be thrown out.
I’m also working on some less conventional ideas for the photoshoot – it’s important for customers to see products on the body, but I’d like to move away from the typical model in the studio approach next time.
What inspired you to set up your own sustainable label?
I set up Study 34 because I wanted to work towards a worthy goal – a more sustainable fashion industry.
When you study design at university you can move in your own direction, challenge yourself and work towards your own goals, whatever they might be. It’s exciting, fulfilling and full of possibility.
When I left and began my first graduate job, I started to see the industry in a different light. When your daily goals becoming churning out unremarkable designs, working out how to cut costs, whatever the price and attending repetitive, unfocused meetings, you begin to wonder why you’re doing it.
I never imagined starting a brand this early in my career, but I also didn’t envisage getting so frustrated with the industry in such a short time either!
I wanted to capture the excitement and passion I had at university and use it for a better cause then just producing collection after collection for another brand. I wanted to use my research design and manufacturing skills, to build a brand that was original, responsible and desirable at the same time.
All study 34 garments are made to order, so there are no ‘stock’ garments like you get on the high street. This approach to production might mean slightly longer waiting times, but it ensures that the garments are not over produced. In this way, you’re guaranteed small, exclusive collections with no waste at the end of a season.
All illustrations are drawn by Scarlett Josse of Fashion Climate