“At Use UK we love beautiful things as much as we love being eco, so we make sure that being eco-friendly doesn't mean compromising on style”, Nicola Prodromou, founder of Use UK
Use UK was founded by Nicola Prodromou in 2005 following a love of beautiful design, and her mother’s influence from an early age to be eco aware. ‘My aim was to make Eco-friendly home and fashion accessories more desirable to the design conscious and so encourage environmental awareness in design’.
Originally I wanted to find a use for recycled cardboard and after much research and trial and error I developed a prototype cardboard chair. This then led to our range of lampshades printed with designer patterns on recycled card which brought us to the attention of the press and since then we have been featured in many magazines and newspapers. As sales and environmental awareness grew, so Use UK grew and I found there was a need to bring a partner on board, the perfect person was my mum Val who joined me part time in 2007.
Since then our range of limited edition prints has been expanded to include a range of lampshades available in Habitat in Dublin and notebooks made from 100% recycled paper and card, using cadmium free, recyclable spiro bindings.
Always on the look out for eco materials to create beautiful accessories, our cushions were created when we bought a stack of fabric sample books because we couldn’t bear to see beautiful fabrics go to waste. The result was our one off and limited edition cushions, each individually designed and trimmed with ribbon.
After much searching for raw materials in the UK our next find was some leather remnants from the furniture industry, originally destined for landfill but rescued by us to make clutch bags. Each bag has a vintage buckle and silk lining and is a one off. Appealing, as we hoped, to the more discerning customer who wants more than a throw away fashion item, the bags now have something of a cult following. Always on the lookout for vintage buckles we once managed to source a batch that were perfect, unused and interestingly still had their original price tags in shillings and pence, mostly 1s 3d. We still have some of these and you can tell which they are because they are quite intricately carved and mostly green or blue.
|Use UK Notebook
As our clutch bags became more popular we decided to try to appeal to a wider customer base and design larger bags. The range now includes larger totes and handbags, all of which feature our signature beautiful linings and some, our vintage buckles. Simple and timeless, all our bags are hand made by ourselves in our studio in Kent, as are our cushions and lampshades.
Wherever possible our products and raw materials are sourced from UK and our range now includes hand poured soy wax candles made in England.
We are always searching for materials to be made into beautiful items so who knows what we will come up with next.
Click here to view Use UK one-off cushions and notebooks >>
Click here to view Use UK unique bags >>