Marble.Partners x Ssōne
We started our collaboration with the amazing Marble.Partners just out of lockdown, with our collaborative window display taking centre stage at our Chiltern Street store where their finger sculpture series is beautifully positioned alongside our collection.
Marble.Partners was founded in 2018 to create hand crafted marble objects with a dedication to sustainability. Made exclusively from off-cut and salvaged marble, each interior item has a carefully selected and unique patchwork combination, while sculptures are hand carved from solid blocks of pure white Lasa marble.
In a creative collaborative Marble.Partners interview our Founder and Creative Director Caroline Smithson for our Journal.
M.P. How did you come across us, Marble.Partners?
C.S. We were introduced by a wonderful friend and colleague Vickie Biggs, who has worked with Marble.Partners in the past and is now part of the Ssōne team.
M.P. Our hand-carved finger sculptures are currently on display in your shop window. How do they relate to your latest collection?
C.S. The finger sculptures really drew my attention. I have been fascinated by hands for many years. Hands can be strong, delicate, affectionate, nimble. The ability to channel creativity through the hands as tools was the basis of my collection “The Visible Hand” which I have in store and now alongside these magnificent sculptures. But while my exploration of the subject is fluid, in places using dry, crisp fabrications, the sculptures have an almost hyper-real smoothness and a sense of permanence that can’t been found in textiles.
M.P. Even though we work primarily with offcuts and salvaged marble, we recently decided not to describe our business as sustainable because we recognise that we still have to improve part of our production.
Do you also spend a lot of time refining your design process in order to address this?
C.S. Sustainability, or rather consciousness of material production, is at the core of what we do. Fabric fibres are researched to get to the best possible standards of environmental excellence, dye processes are considered, botanical and natural dying is preferred where possible. We also consider the manufacturing chain, the human costs and the environment in which people work on our products. This is a constant target in our minds and each season we are able to better ourselves as options improve and others recognise the need for change.
M.P. Do you see greenwashing and green marketing as problematic?
C.S. It can be, I think consumers have the right to clear information about the product journey. Every little helps, but larger companies that provide clothing to the majority of the population have the ability take large steps towards addressing climate change and raising human rights levels. There is no justification for them to not be doing so immediately.
M.P. And do you think there should be more regulations for when a business can be described as sustainable?
C.S. Regulations are a complex issue within fashion and sustainability. There are many governing boards and certifications that can be confusing to decipher and expensive to acquire. In essence I think we should all be doing the best we can to be conscious of making the correct choices both environmentally and humanitarianly. If we make a group effort to educate ourselves and others around us, good processes will become more organically achieved. Larger companies that can afford accreditation should most certainly be seeking it.
M.P. In order to minimise waste, we produce our Candle Stick Stacks using the offcuts of offcuts, like you use remnants of dead-stock to produce your Tina boot. Working with leftover material can often be challenging and time consuming. Do you ever find it difficult to set the right pricing for your products?
C.S. Our pricing is always dictated by the needs of the artisans we work with. We are respectful of their practices and the time they need to produce what they are making. We’re also conscious to price items so they are accessible to our customers because essentially we want to encourage people to invest in items of worth and not buy more for less which will inevitably end up in landfill.
M.P. The prototype for our first chair is also currently on display in your store. It was initially meant to be a sculptural object but turned out to be reasonably comfortable. How have your customers reacted to it so far? Do they dare to sit in it?
C.S. The chair has been an eye-catching addition to the store and has been greatly admired! People do dare to sit in it and they always comment on how comfortable it is. It is fantastic having all the pieces in the store, they are so inspirational to be around.
The Marble.Partners collection can be seen in store at 17 Chiltern Street until the end of September.