SARAH RATTY is a pioneering British sustainable fashion designer and creative consultant. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has consulted to the Victoria & Albert Museum, Central St. Martins and the London College of Fashion. A founder member of the Soil Association’s Textile Advisory Committee, and the Ethical Fashion Forum, she has spoken widely on the subject of fashion’s impacts on people and planet.
With fashion in her blood, (her mother was a fashion lecturer at Brighton College of Art and taught Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki), Ratty began her career as a model for Glen Luchford in Brighton, later studying Fashion Textiles at Bristol University, where she was nominated as Student Designer of the Year in 1987. She went on to work as a fashion stylist at Hearst magazines before launching her own label.
Ratty launched Conscious Earthwear in 1990 and was featured in The Face and i-D magazine, becoming a favourite with then fashion editor Edward Enninful. The label pioneered eco-conscious production and green materials. Her first range was acquired by the V&A for its permanent collection, featured in the windows of Browns South Molton Street and, Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Joseph soon stocked the label. In 1991, Ratty was invited to show her work at the i-D Now exhibition and photographed by Simon Foxton for the accompanying book. and the V&A Streetstyle exhibition, in both London and Florence . Subsequent collections were featured in the Royal Academy Show, Earth Art in a Changing World and The Jam at the Barbican Art Gallery, which toured to Brazil with the British Council.
Conscious Earthwear became part of the ‘90s Cool Britannia wave of London designers showing internationally, and was worn by the likes of Macy Gray, Metallica, The Prodigy, Lamb, Spice Girls, All Saints and Steps. Ratty’s work was featured in Vogue, Elle, and Dazed and Confused, and in 1999 was photographed by Rankin on Macy Gray, for his book Rankin Works.
In 2004, Ratty launched sustainable lifestyle brand Ciel working on the campaign with creative team Marco Antonio make-up artist and photographer partner Ben Gold. The label was awarded the inaugural UK Fashion Exports Award for Ethical Fashion - presented by HRH Princess Anne in 2007. Early supporters included Cate Blanchett and Suzy Menkes, Tamsin Blanchard, Livia Firth were all keen supporters of the brand which was featured in the Craft Council show Re-Fashioned 2005. In 2007 Ciel was nominated for The Guardian Award for Sustainable Fashion. Featured regularly in Vogue, and Marie Claire. In 2011 winning the British Chamber Sustainable Business Award London & South East. Featured in over 10 books, including, “Fashioned from Nature” and in the exhibition at V&A London 2018-2019.
Today Ratty is a sustainable director for fashion brands, mentor, moderator, and speaker for circular design consultancy Ciel Conscious Consultancy out of Brighton and London.
Work in the permanent collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum can be viewed here at these links:
Please note that Reach Compliance was created in 2007 and the banning of Azo Free dyes in the EU was in 1995, for the avoidance of doubt all man-made fabrics used were Oekotex Certified as standard and the other regulation bodies REACH did not exist until 2007. Hope thats helpful.