It is hard to imagine that a gorgeous, Seventies inspired, floral print dress could save the world. Doubtless Beulah’s floaty, feminine designs could solve a fashion crisis; providing the perfect attire for every chic occasion from a first dinner date to glamping at a boutique festival. Tea with the Queen even.
But each beautifully designed garment from Beulah’s collection comes with a reusable bag which has been made by a woman who has been affected by the shocking practice of human trafficking in India, thus helping them to earn an income and eventually break the poverty cycle.
Beulah was set up by two society girls with a conscience; Natasha Rufus-Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan. Together they visited an aftercare home in the Delhi slums and witnessed the harrowing effects of sex trafficking first hand. They were so overcome and wanted to make a positive change for its women; creating a luxury brand for which they could be part of the production process.
‘We realised that a lot of the time the women were being put into aftercare homes, taught skills but then finding it very hard to get any work. We wanted to support businesses on the ground that were focusing on helping these women to become empowered again through employment,’ says Lavinia ‘,We came across (community project)Freeset through our church and it seemed like a good way to get the women involved - by making canvas bags that came with every purchase. We also work alongside another project called 'Open Hand'. Open Hand employs women who have been trafficked, with HIV or widowed. The women from this project currently make up scarves and kaftans for our SS12 collection and will be making up silk t-shirts for our AW12 collection. We are working on new ways in which to get the women involved more in the production so that each and every piece can help to tell a story of a woman’s survival.’
Beulah’s on trend designs and powerful message quickly won them a host of celebrity fans including Jessica Alba, Princess Eugenie, Sienna Miller and Camilla Rutherford. Last October a Beulah dress was name-checked in Kate Middleton’s ‘wardrobe essentials’ list by the Telegraph and both she and her sister Pippa are often seen wearing the label.
Surprisingly, Natasha and Lavinia had no formal fashion training. ‘Our first creations we ever did were a complete shambles,’ they laugh ‘, we had no idea of how to put a collection together and so sadly we never ended up using any of the samples - it was a good learning curve and made us realise very quickly that setting up a fashion label was something we would have to work very hard at!’
Lavinia continues ‘,We have been very fortunate as a young business to have had interest from certain celebrities in our brand. Every moment we see our pieces on someone is a proud moment for us as it reminds us what we have achieved to date. A celebrity who personifies Beulah would be someone with timeless glamour and elegance, but also with a compassionate heart. Someone like Angelina Jolie, Rachel Weiss, Laura Bailey or Livia Firth…’
The SS12 collection includes a striking scarf with a heart print. The United Nations invited the girls to the launch of their Blue Heart Campaign and they decided to collaborate; hence the proceeds of sales of the scarf now go towards this good cause.
Beulah recently launched its online shop so that sales are no longer limited to the Kensington showroom.
In addition the Beulah collection now includes a Bridal range. ‘We are actually designing a wedding dress for Natalie Pinkham this summer which is very exciting! There are so many celebrities we would love to see in our dresses; Angelina Jolie, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Laura Bailey...and many more…’
Watch this space – and look out for Beulah’s designs making a positive global difference on the red carpet!
More at www.beulahlondon.com