Founded by Jonathan Mitchell, Brothers We Stand is a new online retailer selling ethical menswear. Conceived as an alternative for the customer dissatisfied with fast fashion and its questionable practices, every product on the website features a footprint tab providing information on its social and environmental impact. Brothers We Stand stocks a stylish and sustainable range of products from its own brand and other like-minded labels.
We tried on some of its pieces and spoke with Jonathan about what made him start Brothers We Stand, working with friends and his future plans.
What made you start Brothers We Stand?
I noticed that there was a growing number of menswear designers working to sustainable standards but that they were often hard to find. So I had the idea that it would be cool to bring them together. That’s it really!
Our aim is to provide a solution that allows style loving people to build a wardrobe made up of stylish and sustainably made menswear.
What’s the main criteria for a brand to be stocked at Brothers We Stand?
For us the product comes first, it’s got to be a great product. We search out pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, created to last and ethically and sustainably made.
Every product on the site has a different story but all have something about their manufacture that sets them apart from the norm. It could be that they are made from recycled materials, that they are made in a wind-powered factory or perhaps that they are hand-made in London.
The Level Collective t-shirt
The Level Collective t-shirt
Please tell us a little more about the different brands you stock at Brothers We Stand.
Seeing as you’re repping a Level Collective tee, let me tell you a bit more of them! Mark Musgrave is the creative head behind the brand and he collaborates with emerging illustrators to co-create prints for his bamboo and cotton tees and sweats. Mark’s designs are inspired by his personal love of the great outdoors and I love the gentle simplicity to his work. The garments are good quality and his bamboo tees are some of the softest t-shirts we’ve come across.
Elvis and Kresse are another brand and provide a good example of the diversity of materials the brands we work with use. They make phone cases, wallets and bags from upcycled fire hose and military parachute silk. Kresse’s had a fascination with waste since childhood and their story began when Kresse and her partner James met some people from the fire brigade and were invited to come and view their waste. They were brought to a ‘fire hose landfill’ where hoses which can survive for up to 25 years of active service are scrapped when they are too damaged to repair. Kresse says she fell in love with the ‘rich, lustrous coils of red.’!
James is a skilled craftsman and together they began experimenting with the hoses and started to make bags and wallets. Due to the hard exterior of the material it is hard to work with but they found the effort to be worthwhile and the resulting products highly durable. The couple have now been working with the material for ten years and perfectionism doesn’t even come close to describing how they’re constantly refining their products. Elvis spent an incredible five years perfecting a billfold wallet which apparently he still thinks can be improved further! Their pieces are beautiful and have a narrative to them that’s unrivalled due to the history of the fire hose.
These are just two examples but all the brands we work with have inspiring stories and it’s a privilege to work with them and sell their products.
Brothers We Stand sweatshirt
You’ve built Brothers We Stand alongside a group of friends, can you tell us more about them?
Brothers We Stand has got to where it is today thanks to the hard work and talents of a lot of people! Whilst I was planning the business I was working as a waiter with an agency which meant I met a lot of new people. One of the guys I got to know was Alex, a Romanian computer science student, and he ended up helping out with some of the coding I needed doing for the website. Luca Iiriti was the housemate of another waiter friend and he designed our pre-launch material which was crucial in getting the first brands on board. Then Gary, a long-time friend, designed our logo. Gary’s gone on to be a huge support and many a day I’ll interrupt his work at Sparks Studio asking him if he can help out with this or that!
Since we launched, Delia has organised brilliant parties, Rachel has taken really strong photos, Ashley has super charged our Twitter and Lisa has stitched labels for our own brand collection. Alex has repped us at parties and events and Jack has written copy (and is just about to start a fortnightly Brothers We Stand newsletter which I’m really excited about).
There are many others who have contributed and continue to do so and Brothers We Stand is the product of a lot of people’s imagination, insights and hard work. We hope that the end result is something that people love and can take as much enjoyment of being part of as we do.
What are Brothers We Stand’s future plans?
Our aim at Brothers We Stand is to provide a brilliant service that helps people build sustainable and ethical wardrobes. We just want to continue taking that forward and seek to continuously improve our service.
We’re also keen to work on interesting creative projects to show what a sustainable and ethical future for the fashion industry can look like. We’ve got a project in the works now and it’s set for launch March/April 2016 so watch this space!
Visit Brothers We Stand.