XV Stripes - The Brand On a Voyage To Making Sustainability Stylish
Close your eyes. Feel the wind in your hair.
Take a deep breath of fresh, cool air. Open your eyes and see the sunlight dancing across the water.
There is no question that being out on the water is an invigorating experience.
This is exactly what the homeware range, XV Stripes, created by co-founders Izzey Hung and Vicky Sanders evokes.
Throwing yourself in
Yet the pure joy of being out on the ocean is not something that has been with Izzey all her life.
‘I had a fear of water’ she says, ‘so I came to sailing quite late, purely to try and conquer that!’ Now an avid sailor, based in the Isle of Wight and competing in races all over the world, it is Izzey’s fearless attitude that led her to start her own company.
Rewind a few years and you’ll find Izzey on a futile search to try and find the perfect blue and white striped bedding set. Nothing seemed to offer the bold colour, stripe width and fabric feel she was looking for.
Many of us would have settled for something that was ‘close enough’ but for Izzey this wasn’t the solution. Whilst escaping the city for a six-week sailing sabbatical, she made the decision to make her own.
On returning to the UK, Izzey resigned from the corporate world and set about bringing this new dream to fruition. What did this illusive bedware need to be? A vibrant blue and white reflecting her love of the sea, to be woven – not printed, to have exactly 15 stripes and to have sustainability at its heart.
Why 15? XV is the roman numeral for 15 and ‘X’ well, that is a nod to the friend who gave her the nudge to go it alone, whilst sat beachside on her life-changing break.
Having spent her life working in corporate roles, some within luxury retail, Izzey reached out to her network for support in getting started. This led to an introduction to her now business partner, Vicky Sanders.
Izzey describes their partnership as Yin and yang, ‘We’re polar opposites,’ she says, ‘but that’s why it works so well, she notices the things I don’t.’
Vicky is a talented artist and designer. Having worked as Head of Design for Matthew Williamson and now with her own business as a bespoke wedding dress designer, Vicky’s stunning artistry made her the perfect person to compliment Izzey’s business know-how, in order to bring her vision to life.
A vibrant blue and white, to be woven – not printed, to have exactly 15 stripes and to have sustainability at its heart.
Despite their differences, the two are united by a mutual love for ‘fresh lung-tingling air, clear blue oceans and a healthy way of life.’ Vicky and Izzey have therefore built wellbeing, both personal and for the planet, into the foundations of their Isle of Wight based brand.
A major challenge, however, was not being able to find the right manufacturing partner here in the UK. Venturing slightly further afield, the pair are working in partnership with two other talented ladies in Portugal, from whom they are sourcing the sustainable materials for their range.
All their fabrics are OEKO-TEX accredited and hold the Confidence in Textiles mark to evidence that no substances used are harmful to wildlife.
‘Helena and Patricia are amazing,’ says Izzey, ‘we are so lucky to have found them.’ It is the partnership with this pair that has enabled XV Stripes to create the stand-out vibrant blue of the nautical stripe that truly sets the brand apart from any other.
You don’t have to look closely at the brands Cowes range to see quite how deep their signature blue really is.
‘It’s not printed, because anyone could do that,’ says Izzey with pride, ‘it is woven.’ It is through the development of this technique that the duo’s attention to detail has really come to the fore.
The bold blue of the signature stripe is woven into the top of the fabric, therefore it is not visible on the underside and the blue thread is not diluted by the white.
It took 18 months and six different versions to get this technique right, but it is well worth it and has helped to establish the brand’s unrivalled colour palette.
An Obsession With details
A factor that really sets this brand apart is how seamlessly Izzey and Vicky have interwoven the heritage of the Isle of Wight locale into their Signature range. Right from the start, the pair took a few days to explore every inch of the island; Izzey is a local, Vicky is based in London.
Here they foraged driftwood, explored the shoreline, visited shops and spoke to the residents.
The beautiful toggles on the cushions and duvet covers are made from driftwood that is both foraged and handcrafted on the island.
Old shipping charts purchased from a second-hand store served to inspire Vicky’s designs for their Solent Cardinals range. In fact, it was this range that prompted the family of John Bury to get in touch, the man who actually devised the navigational system. An incredible nod to the quality of the designs and the power of the story they can tell.
It transpired through conversations with John’s family that he was never credited for his work, so now every order of this stunning grey and yellow range will include a note detailing the origin of the navigational marks, sharing John’s story.
The Finishing Touches
As self-confessed sticklers for quality and detail, the presentation of every order from XV Stripes is an aspect that has not gone unnoticed.
Receiving something fresh and new to your home is always exciting, but it’s that ‘unboxing’ experience that is one of my favourite moments.
Describing why this is so important, Izzey explains, ‘In some Asian cultures, when someone buys something from you, it is important to give them something else.’ It is this consideration for other cultures, learnt from her father who is of Asian descent and her previous role in the corporate world, that stood out to her as a way to differentiate XV Stripes to her customers.
‘With every order, we send a little gift of thanks,’ says Izzey. The chosen gift is something the pair like to keep as a surprise for their customers. However, I can share that it is something made by hand on the Island, that will add a sensory dimension to your experience of the brand from the moment you open your delivery.
Where To Find Them
Delve into their website to explore their striking collection. This summer, you’ll be able to meet them in person at Lymington Seafood Festival and perhaps a few others, when Izzey is not out racing on the water.
Pieces from XV Stripes vibrant range are being snapped up and placed in homes, yachts and holiday retreats both in the UK and overseas.
Indeed there are few better ways to embed memories made out on the water into your interior, than a homeware set from XV Stripes.
Find them over on Instagram @xvstripes
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