Occasionally a garment has a surprising back story – take, for example, the Sea Life silk vintage scarf shirt by designer Lotty B.
This numbered, limited edition shirt was handmade from silk scarves found in Lotty B’s fabric archive and is one of just 30 made.
Old photographs show her hand-painting the material 18 years ago and it was the drive to improve sustainability across all areas of her business that drove Lotty to look through her archive of fabrics for her latest limited edition garment.
The retrieved pink and gold sueded silk charmeuse was then hand cut and fashioned into contemporary silk bowling shirts by a team of skilled seamstresses in St Vincent and the Grenadines and individually numbered with a hand-embroidered Lotty B label.
It is both remarkable and inspiring that such care should be taken to make use of every inch of a valuable material rather than see it go to waste, especially as the end product is a relatively tiny number of finished garments.
It is the exact opposite of mass production and it serves as a reminder of the extreme lengths consumers and makers are now willing to go in the pursuit of sustainable fashion.
Mustique became home to Lotty in 1993 when her husband took up the post of island doctor.
She said: “Inspired by the island’s wealth of flora and fauna, I spent the next few years designing and hand-painting silk sarongs whilst bringing up our children, barefoot and fancy-free.”
One of the most photographed buildings on the Caribbean island was The Pink House fashion boutique, an impossibly cute confection of pink and white painted wood.
It was a treasure trove of designer items, eventually including those of Lotty B who expanded her range into sarongs, kaftans and other resort-wear.
When the little pink boutique became available in 2008, Lotty took it over.
She said: “When I took on the shop I already had quite an established collection of silk and linen resort wear for women, so I added linen printed shirts and swim shorts for men under the label Pink House Mustique.”
That little pink shop has since gone global with collections sold around the world via its wholesale operation and website.