The backlash over fast fashion is in full swing and the homemade is all the range, but certain connotations still linger over the term “shopping sustainably”: namely that all eco products fall somewhere on the spectrum of 50 shades of brown.
Takako Copeland has been challenging this perception for well over a decade with Family Tree, a mecca of independently crafted interior accessories and gifts with an ethical edge in Exmouth Market.
The story of how Takako came to lay down roots in this crafty corner of Clerkenwell will be a familiar one to the hundreds of thousands of expats living in London. She left her rural village in southern Japan in the mid-90s to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins, with no plans to stick around but fell in love with the city and never left.
She undertook further study in gemology and silversmithing, and began selling her illustrated textiles and prints at a stall in Spitalfields Market before setting up Family Tree with her husband Matthew in 2004. Fast-forward more than a decade and Family Tree has cemented its position as a go-to for people who appreciate interior accessories and gifts that have been manufactured using responsible methods.
Takako has partnered with textile designer Jo Waterhouse to stock their own ranges of jewellery, printed homewares, accessories, toys and stationary, plus a carefully curated selection of products from independent designers. But though the name has grown – Takako has had commissions from Liberty, Tate Modern and the V&A – the message has remained: good design, small runs, responsibly sourced materials, and plenty of help from local manufacturers.
“We mostly work with local makers who are our friends and family [hence the name of the shop], if products are coming from far away, we make sure they are produced responsibly,” Takado says. “These products are always more beautiful and special compared to anything that is produced en mass.”
Family Tree, 53 Exmouth Market EC1R 4QL