by Aspect County

The Courtyard Boutique

The long running boutique, Courtyard, situated in Angel Gate, Guildford, has a huge following and many clients travel from all over the country and abroad to shop there. Proprietor, Julia Jaconelli, is determined to support ethical and sustainable fashion. On her buying trips she always has this as a determining factor when she’s looking at new brands.

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Ethical working conditions, sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and recycled clothing, plus methods of manufacture that use less water and electricity, are high on the agenda. Tomorrow Jeans and Boyish Jeans are two of the best sustainable denim brands around, using plant-based dyes, recycled water and recycled organic cotton with no animal products being used at any stage. In addition, they are a great fit with innovative styles and shapes. 

Another emerging brand that Julia is supporting is Edward Mongzar who designs beautiful dresses. He is based in the UK and is becoming well-known for his hand marbling. Again, recycled water is used, and each piece is dried in the sun, so no electricity is used. He ensures his workers practice a good ethical code and are paid fairly. 

Also new to the store this season is Conditions Apply, Storm and Marie. Fabrics from Conditions Apply are handmade and use raw fabrics including organic cotton and banana bark. They employ artisans using traditional techniques such as hand weaving, lace making and crochet giving employment in safe conditions to many women who otherwise would be unemployed.

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Storm and Marie use recycled fabrics and bio-degradable packaging. Julia hopes that fast fashion, where working conditions are horrific and pollution is terrifyingly high, is going to become a thing of the past. She hopes that the lockdown has helped people to become aware of the damage that is being done to our planet. 

We still need clothes and need to keep people in employment, but we need to choose carefully, support the people who care about their employees, and choose items that are made last and not end up in landfill after one season, due to the poor quality and nontoxic materials. Courtyard strives to support such brands for the future. 

Courtyard is open every day. Buy in store at Angel Gate, Guildford or online.

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I opened Courtyard way back in 1996 a couple of years after I had moved to the Guildford area. The shop is positioned in delightful cobbled courtyard just off the high street hence the name. I had always had a huge love of fashion and was particularly interested in new up and coming designers and wanted to open a store that would inspire customers and hopefully get them to experiment with new ideas and looks.

Guildford at the time was quite a traditional market town! The formula worked and I was soon welcoming clients not only from the local area but from all over the country and abroad. We began to get noticed and won a few awards and write ups in national papers. – Julia Jaconelli.