A day to remember in our verdant and whimsical Notting Hill garden…
At the beginning of 2021, a conversation began, a friendly exchange and a mutual acknowledgement of the need to work towards a more sustainable and thoughtful future. This conversation led to many more and from there a friendship formed both personally and more importantly around the impact that our businesses could make by working together. Our goals were aligned...
We continue to be drawn into conversations around the sustainability of clothing and the impact that the clothing industry has on our environment. Our 'raison d’etre' hasn’t changed since we began crafting and creating children’s clothing in 1999. With Caramel, Eva Karayiannis always intended to design clothing that offered children a sense of freedom and in turn practicality. This notion aligned with an attentiveness to fabric and colour and distinctly how a fabric has come to be or why a particular detail is so, has created a distinctive and timeless appeal to Caramel’s clothes. Eva muses, “I have always seen children’s clothing as something that has a lot of emotion attached to it. It is so intertwined with the most special and unique moments in your children’s lives. The approach has to be that each design is crafted with a sense of responsibility- to create products that reflect these memories”.
The quality and the forever essence that attaches itself to the clothing allows the classic designs to be handed down as heirlooms from generation to generation. Often, we hear from our customers that our clothing has been worn by each of their children or been passed onto friends who have had younger children as theirs have grown. This extends now to actually seeing Caramel pieces from our archive reappearing on new Instagram posts, a dress carrying a signature print from our AW12 collection for instance, was posted just this week.
We firmly believe in the idea of ‘pre-loved’ clothing continuing to be loved and continuing to weave its own story. Our partnership with Kids O’Clock is born from this shared responsibility and ethos that well-made clothing should be shared and should continue to have a life in a more circular economy for children’s clothing. “We have found a wonderful sensibility in our customers- of attachment and trust in the creations we have made through the years. There is something quite magical about seeing clothes continue to live on, to be shared and passed on to have new adventures. With the 'Drop Off' Kids O’Clock are pioneering this narrative”. By providing a physical location for parents to ‘Drop Off’ pre-loved clothing in our Caramel boutiques in exchange for a discount voucher, we are able to offer a practical and tangible solution. We feel it of such importance to do our part in creating more sustainable models in all of our activities and as Kids O’Clock so rightly point out, it’s time to “Join the Revolution”. A revolution that we are proud to be a part of.
In late September after the ‘Back to School’ rush, we put on an event at Caramel’s Notting Hill store on Ledbury Road to introduce our collaboration and the ‘Drop Off’ to our customers and also to our friends and family. A celebration of what began as an informal conversation and has become something that we are all very proud of. It was a stunning day, the sun was out and the garden of the store was in full bloom.
As the guests arrived they were met with our playfully devised ‘Drop off’, a vintage school locker, decorated with stickers that evoked lovely images of children gathering and sharing stories during magical school days. All our guests brought a selection of their pre-loved clothing that would be put into the locker and allowed to have a new life through Kids O’Clock. Butterflies in the stomach for all involved, the conversation that began in January was now a reality and we were collectively doing our little part to educate and help people understand that we can change small aspects of what we do in our everyday lives to achieve a greater goal.
To provide all the children with entertainment throughout the day, the wonderful Priyanka, owner of Alma Deli brought her delightful team to the store. Decorating our charming space with organic and seasonal produce- pumpkins, squashes and flowers in yellow, green and orange. Pretty red dahlias and bright, sunshine lilies. Her energy throughout was infectious and all the children enjoyed the sensory play and chanting, playing with little wooden tambourines and chalking colourful shapes on the paving in the garden. The charming lilts of violin played throughout. Snacks were provided by a St John’s Wood deli and were presented in neat boxes, filled with colour, cheeses, and fruit for all. It was remarkable to hear in conversation the positivity that ensued, the remarks and acknowledgements were heart-warming. It felt as though a connection was made and the realisation was there for all.
As the day drew to an end, there was a feeling of wanting to do it all again, the guests, notably the children were rather difficult to tear away but the evening routines beckoned. It was a day filled with smiles and laughter, joy and camaraderie. The ‘Drop Off’ was now in situ and attentions turned to building on what we had already begun and perhaps to another brilliant event in the near future. Our revolution was only just beginning.