Sustainability. A word we are all familiar with. A word that is relevant. But what does it mean to live by this word – to put it into action every day?
Anna Ferry has built a business rooted in sustainability, offering organic and natural fashion for the community of Boulder and beyond. Charlie + Me Designs creates clothing that focuses on simple, timeless designs that celebrate the raw and sustainable beauty of natural textiles such as raw silk, organic cotton, and 100% linen.
“Each piece is designed and sewn together by me in Boulder with 100% organic cotton thread either from Denmark or India,” says Ferry. “At the moment, Charlie + Me is a one-man-band with just me designing, patterning, and sewing up each piece.”
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ferry always loved sewing and designing, knowing that even if it were in a small capacity, she wanted to create consciously.
“For me, that meant being deliberate about the textiles I chose to use for each design, such as only using organic cotton fabrics which are grown without the use of pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides, and use less water than traditional cotton production,” she says. “I also use linen that is made from flax, a resilient plant that can grow in very poor soil conditions and uses way less water than cotton and very little fertilizers.”
When designing, Ferry tries to create pieces that are flattering to a woman’s physique and can work for a variety of body shapes. She spends time looking at fashion trends – what are other people wearing? How does their clothing fit and fall?
“My goal is to design pieces that are versatile, comfortable, and functional. Clothing that can be dressed up or down, worn for years to come, and clothing that uses fabrics that are easy to care for and improve with age,” says Ferry. “Many pieces like the Judy dress can be worn loose for a more relaxed fit or come with a belt for a more fitted look.”
Another popular piece found at Charlie + Me is the Tabitha jacket. Made from indigo-dyed linen, this jacket is patchworked together with cuts of naturally hand-dyed linen, quilted onto pure wool batting, and then sewn together to make the outer shell. The lining of the jacket is an organic cotton Sherpa knit made in Canada.
“These jackets take about 2-3 days to make from beginning to end, after dying each piece of linen in the indigo vat,” says Ferry. “Some pieces end up being dipped close to 20 times to achieve darker shades of blue.”
While Ferry doesn’t credit herself as a sustainability expert, she hopes sustainability becomes the norm and less of a trend.
“I think we still have a long way to go, but believe that we can each make a difference and that long-term sustainability doesn't mean just buying more organic, sustainably farmed, fair trade goods but choosing the consume less overall.”