Jasmine Hemsley opens up about her new Needle and Thread collection and the importance of dressing sustainably

'Sustainability and responsibly sourced fashion are the first things I think about when it comes to fashion, and I knew that Needle and Thread’s values aligned with mine.'

You should definitely have heard of Needle and Thread, with Hannah Coffin‘s ultra-feminine contemporary womenswear brand worn by everyone from Kate Middleton to Instagram influencers (too many to name).

This month, the fashion brand made news as they teamed up with Jasmine Hemsley to create the Elemental collection.

Made predominantly from recycled materials, the Elemental collection draws design influences from the five universal elements: space, air, fire, water and earth, which form the foundations of Ayurvedic principles.

So what can you expect from the collection? Intricately embellished and embroidered flowers, birds and constellations and rainbow-coloured iridescent sequins made from up-cycled plastics, styled to capture the flow of the chakras — the energy centres of our bodies.

Digital Features Editor and Needle and Thread super-fan Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Jasmine Hemsley to talk through her new Needle and Thread collection.

Tell me about the Jasmine Hemsley x Needle and Thread HS20 Elemental collection…

I am so excited to finally talk about this collaboration, it has been in planning for the last 18 months! Needle and Thread’s design team and I have worked on a twenty-three-piece collection, drawing on my personal inspirations: from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, the “knowledge of life,” with influences from the chakras and the five universal elements: space, air, fire, water and earth that form its foundation, to nature as a whole with intricately embroidered flowers, embellished constellations, and the kingfisher — a nod to my favourite bird for which I shared a love of with my dad who passed away 5 years ago.

We have created a really fun and playful collection, staying true to Needle and Thread’s signatures styles, alongside key pieces embroidered with my mantra — living “La Vida Veda.” All of this comes to life in the feminine shapes and the attention to detail that they do so well.

Chakra Sequin Long Sleeve Gown in Champagne. Needle and Thread.

Talk me through the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda…

Ayurveda is an ancient holistic health system from India, which provides the knowledge and understanding to create rituals for good health in every aspect of your life: it starts with good, easy to digest, freshly cooked food with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients, and the rest follows. Ayurveda informs my everyday life in so many ways, from cleaning my tongue first thing in the morning to how I wind down before bed. Wellbeing is at the heart of both Ayurveda and Needle and Thread’s brand values, so it was a natural fit, and when it comes to design, Ayurveda offers a wealth of inspiration and creative interpretation, as we’re literally talking about the elements of life!

What drew you to a collaboration with Needle and Thread?

Needle and Thread have caught my eye over the years as creators of beautifully intricate and feminine, contemporary designs; I love that the collections showcase high quality craftmanship in a world of mass-produced fast fashion. When I first met Hannah Coffin, Needle and Thread’s Founder & CEO at an event a few years back, we exchanged tales of our love of India. And As we talked more over the years and I learned about how much Needle and Thread focus on their social impact through their factories in India, as well as their efforts to move towards sustainable practices throughout the production process, the idea for a collaboration started to develop. The brand’s commitment to creating a more responsibly produced collection, and their intention to roll out new innovations more broadly in their wider collections, really impressed me. Something further endorsed by the fact that Positive Luxury were proud to award Needle and Thread the Butterfly Trust Mark in record time earlier this year for their commitment to a more responsibly sourced future.

Harmony Embellished Ballerina Dress in Champagne. Needle and Thread.

What was your favourite part of the creation process?

Am I allowed to say every part?! I’ve got a pretty good imagination so during all parts of the process I could see a beautiful collection coming to life. I’ve loved collaborating with the design team on everything from the moodboards and the sketches right through to choosing the fabrics, sequins and embellishments. The most “wow” moment for me was walking into Needle and Thread’s showroom and seeing the collection samples for the very first time. Nothing compares to seeing (and trying on!) the finished product.

The collection is part of Needle and Thread’s commitment towards a more responsibly sourced future – what does it entail and how important was that for you in collaborating on the collection?

Sustainability and responsibly sourced fashion are the first things I think about when it comes to fashion, and I knew that Needle and Thread’s values aligned with mine. The focus for this collection was on reducing Needle and Thread’s reliance on virgin plastics, whilst also minimising waste. The brand developed their signature fabrics out of recycled polyester and created a closed loop system with a local sequin manufacturer to create ‘recycled’ sequins out of self-generated plastic waste. By putting more back into the planet than they are taking away Needle and Thread are steadily moving towards their goal of ‘net positive’ with every collection.

Champagne Earth Garden Gown. Needle and Thread.

Why should we all be more aware of how the materials of our clothes are sourced?

The environmental footprint of fast fashion production is staggering; it draws heavily on our planet’s natural resources and, unfortunately, mass produced clothing sold on for low prices sends consumers the message that garments are disposable, and unfortunately most clothing and textiles simply can’t be recycled in an environmentally responsible way and commonly end up in landfill. It’s important to research the brands we plan on purchasing from to make sure that they are considerate of the planet and the people who make their products. This used to be difficult, but, now that no one can deny where this attitude we’ve had to fast fashion for so long time is heading, and brands are striving to do better and become more transparent. Vote with every purchase on what values you hold dear. Become more aware of the impact of your lifestyle. Needle and Thread’s was founded with a goal to produce high quality, long lasting investment pieces and this is still a fundamental part of their design process – they take a holistic view of their business operations and have developed a brand-wide sustainability strategy to ensure that’s its environmental impact is part of key decision making. My HS20 elemental collection with them features recycled polyester fabrics intermixed with recycled plastic sequins showcasing a more responsible raw material offering.

How would you describe your personal style?

Let’s just say that a friend of mine likens my look to ‘getting dressed in the dark … and somehow getting away with it!’ I can’t help it – I’m a magpie for colours, textures, styles, patterns and swing from eclectic to classic without overthinking it. I love mixing old and new pieces, bright colours and patterns. Never a dull day.

Daffodil Earth Garden Lace Ballerina Dress. Needle and Thread.

What outfit do you feel the most comfortable in?

If I’m honest, in tracksuit bottoms! I work from home a lot, and comfort, warmth and ease are always key. When I’m out, I love a wide-leg pant or long flowy dress, as the epitome of graceful, easy chic (while still keeping warm — my mind-body type is mostly Vata Dosha which means I tend to get cold easily and don’t like a draught!!!).

What is your number one style tip?

Enjoy expressing yourself through your wardrobe, the clothes you wear have a massive effect on your mood. Wearing cool colours when it’s hot outside, wearing texture in a corporate environment, or wearing lots of colour on a grey winter day, boosts your energy and that of those around you. Even a simple chic wardrobe can benefit from the injection of colour and pattern. I think of styling your wardrobe it like cooking — good ingredients that you love work together in many different configurations to create your signature style. When I throw my wardrobe open in the morning I like to take the attitude of celebrating every day afresh by wearing what suits how I’m feeling — even if that means the same outfit as yesterday!

Kalptaru bodice and Kalptaru maxi skirt in Champagne. Needle and Thread.

What is your favourite piece from the new collection?

That’s a tough one when you’ve designed what you love! think it’s probably a toss-up between the Chakra Long Sleeve Gown which I wore for my 40th birthday party last month, or the Chakra Ruffle Sun Dress which I can see myself wearing all summer long! Can you tell I love colour?

The Jasmine Hemsley x Needle and Thread collection is available now.

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