However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t about racing to make as many clothes as possible. I wanted to slow down, reconnect with my clothes and enjoy the manufacturing process as much as the final product. Likewise, I didn’t want to replace buying clothes with buying yards and yards of new fabrics, whose provenance I didn’t know – a practice that isn’t exactly sustainable either. I was going to take it slow and use as much as possible of what I already had.
I decided on a cardigan as my first project because I had a bunch of yarn in various colors waiting to run out. Alone, there wasn’t enough of each color to make a finished garment, so I took a patchwork approach, sampling different stitches and shapes and tiling them together. It was a slow process, involving a lot of detangling and reworking to perfect the silhouette, so I picked it up as and when I felt like it. It is not finished yet. I don’t know when I will finish it. But I learned so many new techniques that I wouldn’t mind if the project ran for the whole year. It’s the antithesis of fast fashion.
The same goes for wanting and waiting for something for five years. (You’re lucky if you have five minutes of contemplation, such is the pressure of buying now, think fast fashion rhetoric later.) As I entered the swing of my founding year, I was struck by the fact that I was completely free from the constraints of what was trending or in stores. For years I coveted the fleece hoodie my friend always completed her outfits with, but never found a version I liked. So, I grabbed a pink and orange plaid scarf, traced around a hoodie I owned and made myself. In just a few hours, I had created something unique that I had wanted for years. From there, my creativity and confidence flowed.
Inspired by the padded laptop cases I had received endless advertisements for, I made my own from an old pink puffer jacket. With an extra cable pocket, it’s better than anything I could have bought, plus I had a lot of fabric scraps. I turned this into a drawstring purse, adorned with beads cut from a charity shop bracelet and finished with a charity shop necklace for the handle.
Over the course of a few weeks, I carefully tested, adjusted and tweaked a vintage blouse pattern until it was good enough to recreate in an 80s fabric I had been too afraid to cut into. ‘last year. When it first came out, I wore it with a pair of contrasting jeans I made from two old pairs and a sleeveless cardigan I designed and crocheted. I felt like I had taken a big step as a manufacturer.