Lydia Brayshaw is a seventeen-year-old full-time ballet student training at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham, the vocational school in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
In response to the devastating bushfires 10,000 miles away from her family home in Devon, Lydia has turned a school project into a business, LYDIA B, and is helping to raise funds for WIRES, the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service in New South Wales, Australia.
Like so many of her family, friends and fellow ballet students, Lydia has found it difficult to ignore the devastation the bushfires have brought to the Australian wildlife, rural landscapes and communities over the last few months. It is estimated that over one billion creatures* have perished in the bushfires since September 2019.
Designed by Lydia, the LYDIA B t-shirts show a kangaroo embracing a koala to symbolise the solidarity Lydia felt but couldn’t express in words as she watched the news unfold. “I’ll take care of you” also forms part of the design intended to send a message of support to those affected by the ravaging scenes in Australia.
Ballet student Lydia said: “Despite being so far away from the disaster I felt I needed to do something. In addition to my full-time ballet training at Elmhurst, I have always had an interest in fashion and design, especially sustainable clothing. I’m aware of the strain fast fashion is putting on the environment as the second largest polluter in the world, so when I first decided to create LYDIA B as part of a school Extended Project Qualification, I was determined it would be as green and ethical as possible.”
Lydia continued: “The clothing is made from 100% organic cotton and is world-certified to avoid sweatshops. We use Broadside Screen Printers in Exeter who hand print the designs onto the clothing using water based inks. LYDIA B uses zero plastic, and packaging is entirely recyclable and ocean friendly.”
For every t-shirt sold, £5 will be donated to WIRES who are now rescuing as many animals as possible and nursing them back to health.
Lydia added: “In addition to being a professional dancer when I graduate from school in 2021, I really hope LYDIA B continues to grow so it can make an even bigger impact on the environment and support more organisations such as WIRES.”