José Hendo winner of the Radical Designer Award and shortlisted for BEFFTA’s Female Designer, describes herself as ‘a designer with a conscience’.
Her most prolific work to date is “Resonance”, designed out of barkcloth, beautifully sculptured gowns echoing Japanese cutting and tailoring. This collection enjoyed its debut on-schedule February 2012 at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, London Fashion Week as part of the Ubuntu Project.
Recognised by UNESCO the manufacturing process of barkcloth dates back to the 15th century. Historically the fabric of ancient Ugandan kings, it remains a valued wedding gift to brides and in-laws. She says “My dream is to make bark cloth work alongside mainstream fabrics.”
Hendo’s adheres to the mantra of the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. ‘Resonance’ collection explores a new way of dressing and thinking about clothes. Without metal snap, plastic fastener or buttons the garments are completely biodegradable. Sculpted with architectural precision Hendo’s wearable art may be worn in many ways and change with each wearing – and with each wearer – by ingenious pulley system hidden or aesthetically incorporated into the designs.
Whilst she works within an ethical/ecological context she refuses to be pigeonholed as an eco-designer or ethical. “I am simply a designer with a conscience.”
The label supports Bridging the Gap, a Ugandan charity supporting orphaned children and patronizes thrift shops similarly sustaining children’s charities.
José Hendo facilitates workshops and is currently planning on delivering a project within a secondary High School.
On the 28th of July 2011, the label was invited to UK launch of the Nnabagereka Development Foundation (NDF), the initiative of the Royal Highness Queen of Bugunda Sylvia Nagginda Luswata where Resonance was presented to the queen.
Passionately conscious of the times and inspired by the world around us the label uses eco-friendly fabrics as much as possible, creating unique one-off pieces, from organic barkcloth, cotton, used garments such as suits, denim, wedding dresses etc.
José Hendo promotes the use of organic, untreated raw and recycled materials to support ethical trading, fair working conditions and raising awareness about the environmental issues affected by the fashion industry.
Through sustainable fashion José Hendo wants to make a positive contribution to society. This is clearly demonstrated via José Hendos apprenticeships, work experience and workshops as a way of giving back to the community, whilst also creating awareness of sustainable fashion. Furthermore each sale made also sees a percentage given to charity.
The studio also produces garments for other designers including samples, complete collections shown at London Fashion Week and small production runs sold in boutiques and outlets such as TOPSHOP.
Photograph by Oliver Morris