An Interview with Claudia of Falcieri Designs

Falcieri Designs is an independent UK handmade womenswear label created by Claudia Oliver. She specializes in day and evening wear using simple, flattering shapes for women who want the wow factor.

Tell us about family background – geography, culture, language, and religion.

I was born in Kent in the UK and have lived and worked in London, Buckinghamshire and Lincoln. I’ve now been in Manchester for 2 years.

Tell us about your story – education, prior work, and so on?

I was a self-taught costume designer for 15 years whilst working in day jobs in London.

I never went to university to train for that but went late in life to make the transition from costume to fashion. I began setting up my business in my first summer break at University in 2010 and launched when I graduated in 2012.

How did you get interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?

I didn’t realise the impact of fast fashion really until I started my own business. Through my studies at university I began to realise that mass production was causing various problems for our environment and impacting business and people’s lives. It’s something you don’t really know about as a customer unless you are really looking for it. The high street is very good at shielding you from the effects of the industry. And if you don’t try looking for information it won’t find you.

Photography: Graham Binns

What seems like the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion designers and companies?

Ethical and sustainable designers are an important part of any country’s culture. Small businesses can’t be competitive against the fashion giants anyway and so it make sense for them to focus on local production and ethical and sustainable practices to give them their selling point and ensure their survival. Big industry will never have what we have.

What seems like the importance of fair trade?

Fairtrade isn’t something I know very much about but exploiting workers and their welfare for profit is just wrong in any industry.

What seems like the importance of a (relative to the country) living wage?

We all have a minimum living standard. Even inter-country it’s an issue. A living wage is different in London than it is in Manchester. Whether it’s in the UK where things are expensive or Bangladesh where by comparison everything is simpler and cheaper. Wages should be relative to a country’s economy but that doesn’t mean taking advantage of the differences by cutting things even lower.

What makes slow fashion better than fast fashion?

From a business point of view slow fashion is what sets us apart from the rest of the high street. But not everyone appreciates this and it’s important to educate people as to why slow fashion is better and less damaging to the world and why a customers choices are important.

What is Falcieri Designs?

Falcieri Designs is a slow fashion womenswear label.

What inspired the title of the organization?

My ancestry is Italian. ‘Falcieri’ is a surname from Venice which is where my family originally comes from, although we are 5th generation British now. I chose it because it’s a rare name and there are none in the UK and I knew I wouldn’t be confused with any other company and would stand out.

What are some of its feature products?

I specialise in drape evening and day wear. My one piece dresses are probably my feature product. 

What are the main fibres and fabrics used in the products?

I prefer sheer knit, jersey and lycra blends because they hang perfectly on the body and work well with my design practices.  

Gorgeous one of a kind blue and black chiffon day dress with wet look black lycra under-dress and low back detail. Knee length with pockets. The cutest thing on the beach or promenade!

Who grows, harvests, designs, and manufactures the products of Falcieri Designs?

Everything is conceived, pattern drafted, cut, machined and finished by me in my studio in Ardwick in Manchester. My supply chain once I have purchased the fabric is entirely Manchester based right through to sale.

I source all my fabrics from end of roll and dead stock from 3 outlets in Manchester and Leicester. I do not buy wholesale or import. I know that a number of fabrics I buy are manufactured in Leicester and Manchester but I don’t know the origin of all the fabrics because many of them do not come with any labels or source coding. I do not manufacture on a large scale – each dress I make is a unique one off so I have no need for bulk purchase. I usually make large purchase runs of 80 yards of fabric once or twice a year for my own in house designs.

Will the fibres and fabrics for the products from the company biodegrade?

I use whatever fabrics catch my eye and are available when I visit my suppliers. My contribution to ethical and sustainable fashion in terms of fabric is to recycle unwanted factory stock. In the same way as I make and sell my dresses as a buy it once and wear it forever ethos, I buy and use my fabrics in the same way with minimal waste. I never intend for anything to be thrown away.

What is the customer base – the demographics?

I sell via my Etsy store and from my website. I have a mixed demographic between the UK and the USA. I sell worldwide so my designs aren’t restricted to any one place.

What topics most interest you?

Made in Britain, UK grown industry, British based fashion. I am a champion of UK industry.

Gorgeous one of a kind pale pink/nude knitted striped knit halterneck backless dress with split up the thigh. Perfect elegant glamorous eveningwear.

What personal fulfillment comes from this work for you?

I am at my heart creative. I am not in this industry for the money. I am in it to have a quality of life that means I can enjoy my work. I want to remain small so I can stay in touch with what is at the heart of what I do and work with a clear conscience.

Any other work at this time?

I am also a writer and published author.

Any recommended authors or fashionistas (or fashionistos)?

I recommend Fashion Revolution. Lucy Siegle is my inspiration of hope for the future of fashion.

Any recommended means of contacting, even becoming involved with, you?

I am on Twitter and Instagram as @falcieridesigns My website is www.falcieridesigns.co.uk and my email is falcieridesigns.co.uk

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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