Skip to main content
Custom Painted Upcycling | Eco-Prints | Pet portraits | Charity collaborations

Over the last 12 years, We Are Hairy People has been committed to improving all areas of our work to ensure we are as ethical as we can be. These areas are outlined below.

The Clothing

We Are Hairy People paint on to clothing made by reputable companies, who are members of or certified by independent organisations such as the Fair Wear Foundation, FSC, Oeko-Tex, WRAP & GOTS. These certifications mean that the garments are created under more-than-ethical working conditions, where workers at all levels of manufacture or 'in the supply chain' from plantation to warehouse are paid fairly and looked after well. From the members monitored by the Fair Wear Foundation, we choose those who are accredited within the top category- ‘leader’.

We have also collaborated with amazing brands such as Lucy & Yak, Lefrik, Pangaia and Big Wild Thought, after moving away from working with big high street stores, such as ASOS, Urban outfitters and Topshop, who we explored working with in the early years of the brand.

We paint on to Lucy & Yak and Pangaia’s excess stock (which can accumulate sometimes, even with the best practices used), to give them another chance of a loved life.

The Paints

All paints and dyes are Vegan, Cruelty Free and non toxic. The paint is water-based and is set with heat to fuse with the fabric in a similar manner to screen prints. They’ve been approved as eco friendly by a scientist at Pangaia, a materials science company that we respect deeply and worked with to upcycle their clothes in 2021.

Eco prints

Our eco prints are applied to our ethically made garments, using eco-certified water based inks, and printed using 100% renewable energy. 
Our prints were all painted on garments originally, to keep their painted authenticity, and then digitised for printing. The printed pieces are used as a kind of subsidy for the business, as sometimes the most ethical choices are costly. In our situation, printed sales are able to bring down the price of paintings for the customer, to make them as accessible as possible. It also allows me to create more complex paintings without having to increase the price, as I have had to be incredibly strategic in my painting techniques and designs in order to ensure I can paint effective garments at a suitable price- being able to indulge in some extra detail has been lovely.

We are also able to do collaboration garments with influencers, activists and creators, to raise funds for various charities.

The Packaging

The main part of our packaging is a recycled double walled paper sack, with recycled paper order notes & recycled card tags. In circumstances where clients such as Asos required Polybags, we used biodegradable bags with compost instructions.

The Studio Guidelines

All waste is sorted for recycling here at WAHP, as all pieces are made to order, we don’t have any excess stock.

We use a renewable energy provider to power our studio.

We also love planting trees, to more than offset our carbon footprint. Just sign up to our newsletter and we will plant another!

Collaborations and charity

We have eco-printed (not painted) carbon-neutral charity garments available, where we split profits between our work and various charities.

Animal welfare

No animals, animal testing nor animal products are used in either the painting studio in Bristol or by our trusted suppliers.

The Next Step

We switched to 100% organic and recycled materials in 2017, to reduce worldwide water consumption, and reduce pollution. However, we're mostly passionate about customers sending in their own wardrobe pieces to be painted, or something they've found in a charity shop, and saving imperfect brand clothes from going to landfill.

In 2020 we increased awareness of our custom pieces and the option to send in clothing, so as to push that aspect of our work forward and decrease buying new items in for painting, even though they’re sustainably made, we want to upcycle more clothing. 

In 2024, after a 2 year break, We Are Hairy People is relaunching with a reduced selection of new products, pushing upcycling as the main service we want to back. We can see this is the most sustainable service we can offer. The number of new garments made per year is now on average 1000 units. The number of garments upcycled per year is now on average 2000 units. Compared to H&M, who make 3billion new garments a year, and an estimated 80-150 billion clothing items are produced worldwide, and about a quarter aren’t actually sold, they’re disposed of. So let’s get upcycling together and take control of our clothing choices, the amount we love and wear them, and not give any more support to those trashing the planet.

Social enterprise

From 2018-2022, We Are Hairy People also created and funded a community art studio, to create space for artists fighting mental health difficulties, where we could create together and be a supportive community. This was self funded by Sarah at £15k per year, and also managed by Sarah while running the business too. We had a great time and all the members have graduated on to the next part of their journey, and are still supportive friends together, after having been through a lot as a team. 
Rather than bringing this model back, new plans are being explored which could have even more positive impact without so much pressure on one person, so watch out to see more loveliness in the future.