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Background: The story so far…
Ciel is a great new designer womenswear label, hip, luxurious and special this range benefits from the most gorgeous fabrics that have been developed with eco-philosophy. Using a range of super soft organic fabrics, cottons, alpaca and lama knits as well as high tec 100% Azo Free fabrics in satin quilts and sumptuous faux furs. It’s a fashion label that already attracts an A-list following and is worn by Cate Blanchett, Macy Gray, Sienna Miller and Zoë Ball. Currently stocked in good stores & designer boutiques in the UK and Japan. The label sells alongside Future Classics, Tsubi, Preen, Y-3, Margiella, Eley Kishimoto, Maharishi, Jessica Ogden, Emma Cook, Temperley, Rick Owens, Missoni, Chloe, Peter Jenson & Margaret Howell. With a diverse selection of influences from Biba, Art Nouveau and 40’s tailoring to Bauhaus via collectible Japanese Kimono prints.
Design Creative background
Coming from a talented fashion background, Sarah’s mother was a fashion lecturer at Brighton College of Art and taught Barbara Hulanicki, who later went on to make BIBA a landmark in fashion history. Sarah inherited her mother’s flair for fashion, her education culminating in a degree at Bristol. On leaving college she flirted with several possible career paths in fashion journalism and worked as a model with local photographer Glen Luchford in the early days of his career in Brighton. She soon realised that she would rather be the other side of the camera and was encouraged to pursue her creative talent as a designer. Searching for an eco-style statement in the early ‘90’s and being a great nature lover, Sarah set up “Conscious Earthwear” her first label. From anarchic beginnings cutting up and de-constructing clothes, radically re-making them into fabulously wild creations, implementing her own strong belief in the need to be eco-conscious, as well as having style and individuality. Her first collection was initially sold in Brown’s in South Molton Street and later that same year Sarah was asked to participate in the “i-D now” exhibition  in Florence & London. This led directly to her collection being bought by the V&A Museum in London for their permanent collection. Which was exhibited in their highly influential “Street style” exhibition , with an accompanying V&A book. As Sarah developed the Conscious Earthwear concept, she explored working with many different types of eco fabrics from post consumer-waste to organic and modern hi-tech fabrics made from plastic soda bottles along with Oeko Tex certified fabrics. This first hi-tech range of garments was initially shown at “The Jam” exhibition  at The Barbican Centre, London. This exhibition also toured with the British Council to Brazil. Subsequent collections shown at London Fashion Week Exhibition were sold to boutiques and department stores from: Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols & Urban Outfitters in the Uk and Internationally in Isetan in Japan, Joyce in Hong Kong and Fred Siegal in LA. Sarah was invited to participate several times in the Cool Britannia showcase in Sydney & Melbourne in Australia [1997/8] and also as part of the exciting British Hot wave Shows in Tokyo, [1998/99]. She has recently created a new label called Ciel, which is having its own impact in the design world.
Reach up for “the Sky’s the limit”, that is the philosophy of Sarah Ratty the designer behind Ciel. “I chose the name “Ciel” because it makes you feel good when you work out what it means…like the secret smile on the Mona Lisa! It makes you feel warm inside – it has Prana, life force! Blue sky, open vistas…an ocean of possibilities. It infects me with a sense of freedom and passion for what I do; it makes me feel inspired and alive! I make clothes to make you feel good, sexy, strong and empowered- like you matter.” Ciel cares not only about the quality of the fabrics used but also the manner in which they are made and works in harmony with the factories to ensure it is in line with fair labour laws as set out at www.labourbehindthelabel.com. Sarah is constantly researching new fabrics to work with utilising a wide variety of fabrics that have an eco-philosophy and aims to use a minimum of at least 60% in any collection so a constant eco-content is present in all the ranges. Sarah is currently developing a modern Skaal certified organic cotton underwear line, which is available for next season. Ciel uses only 100% Azo free dyes for fabrics, using fabrics certified by Oekotex and Confidence in Textiles labels, preferring re-cycled and recyclable fibres wherever possible, ensuring great performance along with eco-intelligent design made in accordance with ethical production. Organic fair trade cotton’s for T-shirts and Linen for summer with Alpaca organic natural undid colour blends for winter. The aim is to make more of an environmental choice available. “I design clothes for cosmopolitan, busy, funky and fashionable people who may well care about the planet but don’t want to sacrifice style for content. They know that if it has a Ciel label stitched inside, they can feel confident that it has “eco-philosophy” at its core and is covetable and conscious as well as designed to look great! Ciel has that all important feel-good factor of knowing YOU have made a difference.”
Since the Conscious Earthwear project and developing Ciel, Sarah has been invited to take a more active role in working with standards in the textile industry. Sarah is at the forefront of modern fashion with eco-philosophy and is working with both PANUK on the Organic Cotton UK working group and the Soil Association UK Textile Organic Standards development board as a design consultant where she advises on ecological design practice for the fashion industry, she is also working with The Ethical Fashion Forum in the UK. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines: Vogue UK, USA & AUS, i-D, The Face, Elle, Flux, Dazed & Confused amongst others. Along with inclusion in several publications: “Street Style” by Ted Polehmus 1994, ”Subcultural Style…” by V&A 1996, “Channel London” ALC Press Japan 1997, “Unsung Heroes of Europe 4/99” Sodra Cell, “Rankin Works”, Booth-Clibborn Editions 2000,“Living Organic” By Adrienne Clarke Time Life Books 2001, “Careers un-ltd” by Jonathan Robinson Pearson/Momentum 2003, “Eco-Design Handbook” by Alastair Fuad-Luke Thames & Hudson September 2004. Last year she was asked to participate in the “Common Threads” show in Tokyo & London in Autumn 2004. The V&A have recently acquired a further 4 outfits for their permanent Dress Collection which will be available to view in late 2005. The long awaited website will launch in late Summer 2005.
For sales, commissions and to send comments to the artist.