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Shop Opening Review: Sancho’s

This week I had the lovely opportunity of attending my very first press release of a new store. That store was ethical clothing brand: Sancho’s. What started as a pop up on Fore Street has now expanded to the opening of its second space. With the store sign still mysteriously labeled 117 and with the blurred out with paint, I waited outside with a number of independent bloggers and writers from local magazines. When the doors were opened we were warmly greeted by the brand’s founders: Kalkidan and Vidantas. Apart from the celebratory bubbly and being lucky enough to have first glance of the stores treasures, I also found out about the daunting but rewarding experience of seeing setting up an independent brand and the philosophy behind the scenes.

When I asked Kalkidan about the initial inspiration, she responded with a question, asking me whether I feel that I make conscious choices about my everyday consumption. This underpins the defining ethos of the brand as they place eco-friendly production and ethical employment standards at the forefront of their operation. By opening our chat with this personal question, she immediately set up a two-way dialogue, which reflected the personable relationships that the brand aims to build with everyone who is part of the process, even extending past the production of the products. This approach is severely lacking in high-street stores, as we are troublingly detached from the material and human processes that precede the finished product.

Kalkidan and Vidantas drew upon their shared interest of travelling and passion for volunteering to make their vision of an ethically sourced fashion brand come to life. During her time at university, Kalkidan volunteered with World Vision, which is one of the world’s largest charities. She visited Ethiopia and Uganda and witnessed the disconnect between charitable organization’s funded projects and the real life needs of the communities they seek to provide aid for. Also, they managed to gain an insight into the harsh reality of the fashion industry that is all to often swept under the carpet: gruelingly long working hours and an astonishingly small portion of the profits for labor and it is clear that these injustices were kept in mind in every decision made in the design process.

Everything about the product displays oozed caring attention to detail, love and passion. The items in the store include dreamy knitwear, covering jumpers and scarves made from vegan-friendly material. At a touch you could feel the excellent, sturdy quality. This is vital in the move towards keeping clothes for longer and reducing careless waste. Although this might not be a place to transform your wardrobe on a student budget, it is certainly a place to invest in wardrobe staples that will endure year after year and so paying a little extra is justified. I also kept a close eye on the indulgingly sweet candles, made from soy wax and free of any unnatural materials. The collection was comprised of seasonal scents such as mistletoe, mulled wine and frankincense, perfect for the approaching winter nights. Kalkidan has even designed her own range of jewelry which is also available at the store, having a dainty and minimalist aesthetic. This give the company a distinctly personal feel as their consistent hands on approach to building the brand means that they know every level of the process inside out. Their enthusiasm and willingness to share their experiences, as exhibited in the press release, really makes you feel a part of a collaborate experience.

The store officially opens on Saturday the 11th of November with live music. Pop down for a intimate and more educational shopping experience and to be a part of Kalkindan and Vidantas’ exciting journey. I can guarantee that it will be a Saturday well spent.

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