First up an admission with all the other brands I have written about in this series of posts I actually own an item of their clothing, this is the first company I want to write about whose items I can’t actually review personally although hopefully I will be able to include one later this year.
I first heard of Finisterre when out running (remember when I used to be able to do that?) with a fellow Team Bambi team-mate and friend. I asked her where she had got her amazing turquoise coloured running top and she mentioned Finisterre. Another meeting, this time in a cafe, and I admired her hoodie – Finisterre again. I then read about the brand in Lucy Siegle’s book To Die For?, already interested in the brand when I asked my friend where she got her beautiful padded coat from and she said Finisterre it didn’t surprise me. I clearly covet the brand subconsciously (!) – oh and I also clearly love my mate’s style 🙂
Finisterre is a cold water surf company, which sounds very specific but that isn’t so. They have a wide range of merino layers, cosy knits, body warmers and jackets suitable for most outdoor activities and casual wear too. I have been reliably informed their merino base layers are ideal for horse riding!
I emailed Finisterre asking the same questions as I have to the other brands, although changed them slightly as Finisterre provide a good amount of information in their website and use organic cotton a fair bit. I received a lovely email response from Debbie Luffman, their Buying & Sourcing Director.
In relation to their supply chain it is nice to hear that they take a holistic approach. They are involved at every stage – choosing fabric, knowing the factories and the key people involved in the manufacture of their clothing. Finisterre mention that they do not look for certification for certification’s sake, which is understandable – I think many people interested in sustainable and ethical fashion are a little sceptical when it comes to certificates or brands signing up to initiatives and accords. Instead Finisterre ensure they go and visit their factories every three months, stressing the need for the expertise and supporting their supply chain. The factories they use are in Portugal, factories decided upon after looking at factories in many countries including the UK. They are keen to point out their factories produce a high quality product under good quality working conditions. They gave me the following example of one of their factories:
As an example Damel our outerwear factory in Portugal have an on-site surgery, democratic meetings all on the factory floor, their working hours are 8am – 4pm and have breaks every 2 hours. They have a suction system, which automatically sucks fibres out the air up into a tube, running along the ceiling of the factory floor. Workers are highly skilled machinists, dealing with technical fabrics and fastenings and are paid a minimum 15% over the national minimum wage.
Now I was unaware of how seriously Finisterre takes its supply chain but in relation to sustainability I had a feeling this was an area they were strong on.
I particularly like the Bowmont Project, where they have sourced quality wool from a rare breed of sheep native to Britain to make a small range of accessories. I like this, I like the idea of a company investing in the animals the wool has come from and I also appreciate the boost it gives to a native breed of sheep. You can learn more about the Bowmont Project here. Sometimes I think we forget how great our native breeds are – I am on a particular kick on highland ponies at he minute although I have ridden Exmoors, Clydesdales and Shire horses – all native breeds to the UK along with many more some of which are becoming increasingly rare. I also have to say that when I visited Shetland a few years back, the Shetland cows were almost as cute as the ponies (and they didn’t attempt to eat my jacket)!
Apologies I got slightly side-tracked there, back to sustainable fabrics! Finisterre stress that where they can source the same quality of fabric through sustainable alternatives they do. This means that they have items made from organic cotton and recycled fabrics all of which are good quality items made with sustainable fabrics rather than a compromise on quality.
Currently lacking one, but it will come I am sure. My friend has also been incredibly positive about their items, that they wear well – the colour certainly stays – and that they are good quality.
Reading the above post I imagine most of you can guess that I feel very warm and fuzzy towards Finisterre. Here is a brand with a strong and transparent ethical sourcing and manufacturing policy backed up by real relationships between the stakeholders. The Bowmont Project and the focus to source sustainable alternative fabrics (and pushing their suppliers in this area) means that while you get quality items you are also buying from a company that does take an interest in its environmental impact. In short I plan on purchasing a few items from Finisterre including this jacket although I believe it will be next winter before I get to be this cosy while riding/stomping around the yard trying to find my riding hat 🙂
Remember you can also read this series of posts and a whole lot more at ethicalhighstreet.co.uk