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Chic Chats #27 – On Good Authority

Sara Lewis is co-founder of a new fashion start up, On Good Authority, which makes premium rainwear using fabrics made from recycled plastic and non-toxic chemicals. Lawfully Chic caught up with her this month to hear more about this innovative brand-to-watch.

LC: What was the inspiration for you setting up On Good Authority? When did you establish it and why?

SL: Our story really starts at a particularly rainy Glastonbury in 2016. Relentless wet weather meant we spent five days in our practical hiking jackets. It was ok – they kept us dry. But that was all. We didn’t love wearing them, or feel like they reflected us. Why the compromise between style and practicality? I’ve worked in fashion for 15 years for brands like Musto and Timberland, and Hannah, my co-founder, has a strong background in branding, communications and all things digital. Hence, the idea of On Good Authority was born. We soft-launched in September 2019 with a limited run of our pilot design in a move to prove our concept and create interest amongst possible investors. We have other styles designed and prototyped ready for production that we are excited to bring to the collection as soon as we receive funding.

LC: What are the ethical principles with which you approach your work?

SL: Our sustainable mission is to make durable wardrobe staples that you will love and wear for years to come. Every decision we make is influenced by our ambition to reduce our environmental impact. As a start-up this may not always be possible, but we pledge to improve upon what we can’t achieve now, once we become more established. We are aware of the issue of ‘green washing’ that can be associated with brands that call themselves sustainable – hence we want to remain transparent. We publish information about who our factory includes, where it’s based, when they were last audited and how many workers are there, as well as the workers’ performance. We also disclose full information about our fabrics, both fibre content and finishes.

LC: What does On Good Authority offer consumers that other brands don’t?

SL: We design products for those who share a love of the outdoors; its ever-changing landscapes, natural textures, rich hues, percussive rain and luminous reflections. For those who seek a moment of calm every day, amidst the chaos. Our collection is founded on three key principles. These are, firstly, that all is stylish and easy to wear (we design classic silhouettes with a modern twist). Next that they offer full weather protection (all jackets are fully weatherproof, waterproof and breatheable). And lastly that all are responsibly made, with recycled fabrics and care for workers wherever possible. We’re a fully vegan brand too.

LC: Tell us a bit about your own fashion journeys and how you got to this place of establishing the brand?

SL: I have worked in the fashion industry for 15 years focusing on product development. Whilst working at Musto and Timberland, I became a specialist in technical rainwear. There are always new and interesting developments to learn about in this category. It was during my time at Timberland that I learned about the expansive issues related to clothing manufacturing. I learnt a lot about fabrics there and gained a solid understanding of how to ensure low environmental impact based on fabric selection.

Hannah is new to the fashion industry but she has a great passion for style and clothing as well as spending time in the outdoors. She also has a very complimentary skill set with her marketing background. Naturally the idea for the business came about in the pub where we were talking about wanting to be our own bosses! Then when we were at Glastonbury, that is when we thought… actually there really is a gap in the market for stylish waterproofs. From there the partnership grew. Quite honestly, we haven’t looked back since!