British-Chinese designer Johanna Ho, the brains behind ethical fashion brand PHVLO (pronounced “flow”) based at Club Workspace The Leather Market in London Bridge, is out to take things slow. Since launching in 2017, she is on a mission to set a new standard for the world of fashion, with sustainability, collaboration and education embedded into the core values of her business.
With hundreds of thousands of tonnes of clothing ending up in household residual waste every year – around 80% goes to landfill and 20% is incinerated – as reported by The Environmental Audit Committee, Ho has set her ambitions higher than simply making a profit from selling clothes. “The concept behind PHVLO is to fuel the growing dialogue around sustainability. It’s a movement, it’s a community,” she says.
Boasting fans such as actors Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosamund Pike, PHVLO is about engaging with wider problems with people from all walks of life, and setting an example for generations to come, says Ho. The Central Saint Martins graduate is now collaborating with MA students at the university to create an eco-friendly capsule collection and “form a cooperative of like-minded people.”
At every stage in the clothes-making process, Ho is mindful of PHVLO’s wider impact. She has ditched the toxic substances that often coat performance wear in favour of environmentally friendly materials; PHVLO’s Minotech raincoat century. Its puffer jackets adopt a 3M Thinsulate Featherless fabric – a loose-fill insulation alternative to natural down – to avoid animal cruelty. “What you do should resonate with how you feel and what you’re passionate about,” says Ho. “It should have an element of flexibility and evolution. PHVLO is all about going with the flow and moving forward.”
Before moving to Club Workspace, Ho spent time researching the best place to launch. She divides her time between Hong Kong and London, but chose to launch PHVLO in the UK. She says, “London is filled with such an artistic buzz, especially here in London Bridge, and there are lots of very talented art students – the crème of the crop!”
The relaxed co-working environment at Club Workspace The Leather Market attracted PHVLO because community building is a core part of its ethos. “Sometimes when you have your own private office you don’t actually talk to other people and make connections, but the space here allows people to link up and connect,” says Ho. “We look forward to meeting all collaborators who could be our potential partners and we can work together to create a positivity-driven community.”
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