Designer Insider: The Lost Travel Tshirt Company
Now the Summer Solstice is behind us – it is officially summer! Time to dream of foreign landscapes, warm starry nights, and sun-kissed cheeks. The Lost Travel Tshirt Company, founded by Elizabeth Plummer, embodies the exotic and adventurous spirit of summer travel. Her light cotton tees are printed with spectacular images that reflect all the romance and allure of globe-trotting.
Elizabeth has also made sustainability a key factor for the brand, having sought official environmental and ethical certifications for her suppliers and production processes. As a new designer to the sustainable fashion scene I was eager to learn about how she established the company, and her vision behind these travel savvy tees.
1) Why did you start your own sustainable fashion label?
My New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to create my own company. In February, I went to Thailand – I remember constantly thinking ‘this is life at its best.’ I have always loved traveling and wanted to produce truly ‘good’ clothing; capturing all the emotion and inspiration that travel offers, with added practicality and quality. When traveling people always take T-shirts galore, so it seemed the obvious combination – my photographs of inspirational places and moments, on guilt-free and easy-to-wear tees.
2) How did you approach this project?
Simply, to create the best Tshirts ever – quality garments, beautiful shapes, easy to care for and durable fabrics. As well as perfect printing – no sticky logos. I have tried to develop the ‘eco’ aspects of the brand as much as possible. Both the printing process and fabrics are GOTS certified. I use recycled paper labels, natural raffia string, biodegradable and re-usable packaging. But I wanted to go one step further than the growing trend for ‘eco’ or ‘organic’. The ethical credentials of suppliers, certified by the Fair Wear Foundation, was a decisive factor for me.
3) Where do your photographs come from?
The photos are all mine, except the stick insect. It was taken when I was about 11 by my aunt in South Africa. I chose the image to inject a natural aspect into the series, and because it is a creature perfectly adapted to its environment…a true traveler! The other photographs are a mix of modern-traditional, humanist-natural, and images of different cultures. For me, the most inspirational image is of Jemaa el Fna in Marrakesh; a huge open space in the heart of the Medina, teeming with people from all walks of life. It forms the base image for the brand; I was totally ‘lost’ there, yet so alive.
4) What are some of the lessons you have learned since launching your label?
Living in France, more people are interested in the design and cut of the garment, rather than if it is produced ethically. In time, I hope production conditions become a principle factor for consumers. The French mind-set assumes price reflects quality. We are on the right path if brands push for luxury quality sustainable clothing.
I don’t think that everyone has to start buying ‘eco’ or ‘ethical’ clothing this instant. Sustainable clothing is currently an expensive industry – costs are high for both consumers and producers. Hopefully, with more awareness and choice, pricing will become less of an issue in the future. For now it is important to recognize that consumers can start to critically consider where their clothes are coming from; how they are made; and what materials are used.
5) Your personal greatest adventure?
It sounds cheesy…but creating the Lost Travel T-shirt Company has been my most rewarding adventure! I have learned so much and it has been an emotional roller-coaster ride at times!Tweet