Letchworth handmade clothes company nominated for national sustainable business award

PUBLISHED: 08:26 18 August 2017

Ali Ribchester of Tutti Frutti Clothing in her dining room workshop at the family home in Letchworth. Photo: Courtesy of Ali Ribchester

Ali Ribchester of Tutti Frutti Clothing in her dining room workshop at the family home in Letchworth. Photo: Courtesy of Ali Ribchester

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A handmade children’s clothing business run out of a Letchworth dining room has been nominated for a national sustainable business award.

An example of Tutti Frutti Clothing's handmade offer. Picture: Tutti Frutti ClothingAn example of Tutti Frutti Clothing's handmade offer. Picture: Tutti Frutti Clothing

Tutti Frutti Clothing, which sells colourful kids’ outfits created by mum Ali Ribchester, is on the shortlist for the Blue Patch Awards’ best new business prize.

These awards are for firms manufacturing in the UK with a focus on sustainability – as demonstrated by Tutti Frutti’s use of eco-friendly fabrics.

Ali, 34, told the Comet: “My aim is to create clothing that lasts and doesn’t compromise on style, while being kind to the planet.

“It’s a great achievement to be recognised by being shortlisted for these awards.”

Ali’s commitment to sustainability is evidenced by her decision to withdraw her best-selling line of sparkly leggings because of reservations over the environmental impact of the materials.

In a blog post on her website yesterday, Ali explained that foiled polyester and nylon spandex made for amazing leggings and leotards – but that she couldn’t ignore their footprint anymore.

An example of Tutti Frutti Clothing's handmade offer. Picture: Tutti Frutti ClothingAn example of Tutti Frutti Clothing's handmade offer. Picture: Tutti Frutti Clothing

“I decided it was time to follow my heart,” she said.

“My head said: ‘sell them – they make you the most money’. My heart said: ‘Take them off your website. They aren’t what you want to do.’

“I took the unicorn and mermaid leggings and leotards down from my website and deleted the listings from my Etsy shop. There are a handful or pairs left on my craft fair rails – but once they are sold that will be it.

“Put simply, I couldn’t keep ignoring the high cost of the fabric any more – not the actual monetary cost of the spandex, but the cost to our planet. To the world around us.”

She added: “I’ve searched high and low for a recycled nylon or polyester spandex that shimmers and shines like the mermaid fabric I used and I just can’t find any. Until I find something that I am happy is less damaging to our planet, I will not be making mermaid or unicorn leggings any more.”

As a shortlisted business, Tutti Frutti Clothing has also been put forward for a people’s choice award voted for by the public. You can vote at goo.gl/forms/0bJ6TqU4qtyv5PNt2.

Tutti Frutti Clothing was recognised by Theo Paphitis back in March as part of his Small Business Sunday initiative.

To find out more see tuttifrutticlothing.com or facebook.com/tuttifrutticlothing, or follow @TuttiFrutti2016 on Twitter.

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