A lot of creativity and care goes into everything we do at Pai. Right down to the boxes we package our products in. That’s why this year, we commissioned the most thoughtful London artist Jodie Glen-Martin to illustrate our limited edition holiday gift sets and bring them to life.
A fellow West Londoner, Jodie is a contemporary artist who teaches at The Fashion School, a community interest enterprise that we’ve been cheering on from the sidelines for over ten years.
At their collective hubs in Chelsea, Brighton and Manchester, Founder Caroline Gration and her team teach sustainable fashion to 6-18 year olds using best-in-class equipment, facilities and experts. In a way that gives the young people agency, and the tools to make positive change for themselves, their careers and their planet.
“Our aim is to help teenagers reclaim fashion,” explains Caroline. “They can have their own creativity and look seriously at how – as opposed to buying fast fashion – they can create their own, with total individuality using our sustainable fabrics. Creativity without boundaries – we’re here purely to enable and support them.”
It’s such a breath of fresh air to see others do things differently – and brilliantly – while staying totally true to their mission. And that made it a no-brainer to team together for this special project.
“This collaboration between Jodie and our holiday kits was the easiest decision I made this year,” says Sarah, our Founder. “Jodie once explained to me that being limited to only using locally-sourced, upcycled fabrics really pushes her and her students to dig deep creatively. And that’s exactly how I feel about innovating within the limits of organic ingredients.
“The products in our kits have also been formulated using upcycled oils and zero waste botanicals. We’ll never get behind throwaway beauty, and strive to move the industry away from that mindset. Just like The Fashion School is doing with fast fashion.”
We loved the result – bright, memorable and distinctive designs that celebrated our London heritage with plenty of fun (and a little sass).
We sat down with Jodie to find out what inspired her, and why it’s important for them to do things differently – and in a way that leaves a positive impact on the planet. With boundless creativity and innovation too.
Can you tell us more about The Fashion School?
“I joined in 2022 and became the creative link between fashion, textiles and art. I teach contemporary art classes to children and quilting to all ages with the same emphasis on sustainability as the fashion courses. The fabric we use is donated from wonderful designers and resources within a three mile radius – and I get to use all the beautiful scraps!”
What made you want to collaborate with Pai?
“Pai fit in with my ethics as an artist and maker. I want to engage creatively with authentic, sustainable brands to promote the concept that there does not need to be any compromise in producing beautiful and effective products and design, and still being sustainable.
"I also genuinely use Pai products, so I was enthusiastic to work with a brand I love – and with a kind, authentic and focused team.”
Where did you start when illustrating the kits?
“My brief was relatively wide, with a London theme to promote the fact that each product is designed and made in London. The box sets would launch for Christmas 2023 but I also wanted to reflect the timelessness of the products and promote inclusivity.
“London is a city overflowing with iconic symbols but I decided to steer away from the popular cityscape outline, double decker buses, red letter boxes and symbols of the monarchy, as I wanted something fresh."
What inspired your umbrella and sunglasses designs?
“I am lucky to have a studio at The Fashion School on the famous Kings Road in Chelsea, where fashion and sewing skills are taught to all ages with an emphasis on sustainability.
"I am inspired daily by observing and thinking about the people, present and past and from across the globe in their many incarnations – from Punks to Sloanes, from Chelsea pensioners to school children – who stomp up and down this vibrant street in all the weather Britain throws at us.
“This gave me the idea for Glow Kit and how the correct skincare protects us from the sun as do fashion accessories such as sunglasses. This then led to linking Double Cleanse to water and rain, and again how we can protect ourselves, including our skin, from inclement weather – with the right skincare but also umbrellas and raincoats. Then I was away!"
What did you love most about the designs you landed on?
“Umbrellas are a joy to draw and I pulled in from the existing Pai colour palette to produce the colour combinations. Sunglasses were easy too; as well as some stylish shapes such as aviators and wayfarers, you may spot a nod to iconic Brits Sir Elton John and John Lennon, as well as the honorary Brit, the glamorous Antipodean Dame Edna who lived in South London for over 40 years.”
How would you sum up London’s style?
“A Londoner’s style is unique, expressive and experimental. It is not always classically elegant but it breaks boundaries which is far more exciting.
"A stylish Londoner is not afraid to stand out, but should always carry an umbrella and sunglasses.”
Inspired? Us too. If you’d like to learn more about Jodie, Caroline and their great work at The Fashion School, click here. And when you’re ready to discover the Pai Holiday Gift Sets – the Double Cleanse Kit and Glow Kit – you’ll find them right here.