Launched in the summer of 2005, luxury lingerie label Ayten Gasson has become recognised in the UK not only as a luxury lingerie label but for its firm commitment to supporting the UK fashion industry. Every piece from each collection is proudly designed and made in the UK.
Growing up with a family full of designers and makers, creative director Ayten Mustafa knew the importance of well made pieces, which should not be comprised by using inferior fabrics. Upon graduating from Central Saint Martin’s in 2004, Ayten was disheartened to find the closure of many of the UK based manufactures and design houses. All design jobs had moved to Europe while the London factories she knew as a child had all closed as designers now searched for a cheaper alternative overseas.
With the help of the Princes Trust, Ayten launched the lingerie label with a firm commitment to supporting other UK businesses and highlighting the traditional skills which the UK was once celebrated for. To this day Ayten Gasson continues to utilise and support the UK fashion industry by producing every item, from garters to teddies, in small production units in London, Nottingham and Wales.
Vintage lace trims from the old lace mills in Nottingham have been sourced to highlight the incredible skills which the area was once famous for. And new English lace is sourced from companies based in the UK to support the few people still manufacturing. A popular ranges from the SS11 collection was delicately trimmed with peach cotton lace, still produced in the UK by Roger Watson, who famously created the lace for Princess Diana’s wedding dress in 1981.
The exquisite SS12 collection signalled a new beginning with a familiar twist for the well respected brand. While researching and developing the new range, Ayten Gasson asked her key buyers and customers what they would like to see from the collection. The answers convinced the designer to expand and enhance the key pieces the brand has become associated with. Signature styles, such as the open backed kimono, skirted knicker and the most recognised – the silk teddy – were top of people’s must-have list.
“While conducting a survey on our website, we found that 54% of our customers wanted to see more of styles like the teddy in our ranges. We also found that our sleep bra and similar styles appealed to a wider range of age groups, more so than our more structured pieces. We have decided to listen to what our customers have said and develop along a luxury nightwear influenced style, still working with UK manufacturers and sourcing lace and trims from the old lace mills in Nottingham” explains the designer.
Ayten Gasson has now introduced a limited edition range of eco lingerie made using organic silk, and cruelty free peace silk pieces in time for autumn 2011. Unlike the traditional method of silk production where the cocoon is boiled alive, peace silk allows the silkworm to emerge from their cocoon and live out their full life. The signature camisole and tap pant set have been reworked in a stunning ivory peace silk. The classic teddy has been updated into a stunning stretch organic silk, trimmed with vintage cotton lace produced in the old lace mills of Nottingham. Hand tied ribbon bows are delicately used to complement the retro shape and enhance the vintage feel of this stylish piece. Many of the pieces are still hand finished in the designer’s London studio, whether it’s sewing on a covered button trim or hand tying the satin ribbon bow details. Ayten Gasson hopes to expand the range and make the collection of ethical lingerie a permanent feature to the label.
The new line of ethical lingerie is not the first time the designer has worked with organic fibres. Ayten collaborated with ethical lingerie brand Enamore in 2009 to produce six collections of ethical underwear sets made using recycled vintage fabrics, organic silk and hemp.