EFWA 2018 Upcycling Challenge Interview with Janine McAughren of Ghren

Please share a bit about about the journey that led you to embrace fashion design as a career.

My mother taught me to sew when I was 11 years old. Being a middle child, I used design to express my creativity and to be unique. I have always strived to be one of a kind and show it through my clothing. I created Ghren because I wanted to be able to give other women that feeling of being fierce and confident.

I know you trained at The Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Talk about the highs and lows of studying. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

Studying at The Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University was one of the best experiences I have had, I became my best self. It was a high stress environment, but it became manageable once I accepted and embraced the work that I was doing. I was educated on the real issues of the industry, which is another reason why upcycling is so close to my heart.

It all becomes a little easier once you put everything into perspective.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you, or do you plan to, offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

I design the same way I live my life - unique and genuine. My style is generally relaxed, easygoing but always draws inspiration from the past. Ghren is my creative outlet - My Funnel of Love. I design so women can feel unique and beautiful in a one of a kind garment. 

Ghren’s new direction is upcycling, taking old clothing and giving it a new life. Each piece is unique to itself and has a handful of stories sewn into it. Ghren will offer a small selection of garments ready to purchase, as well as made-to-order garments. This will allow the Ghren shopper to be part of the creative process. You will be able have input on the perfect colour spectrum, to see the clothing used to create your garment, and it will be made to your measurements. Ghren will also offer the option of doing custom orders, with old clothing you already own. Ghren can turn your grandfathers old shirts into a sundress, or your grandmothers moo-moo into a cute skirt.  

Every piece of clothing has a story, what does yours say?

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson and Dalija Vlahov. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

I have always been a big thrift shopper, searching for treasures within the musty racks. Most pieces I find end up being altered or turned into something completely new. This is however, the first time I have dedicated my self to upcycling and making it a real aspect of my life.

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

The ocean has always been my true creative muse. I have always found inspiration behind it. It has a deep connectivity to the rest of the world, it sings to me. The garment is inspired by a cascading ocean wave. Dark jewel tones emulate the depths of the ocean; the broad and the abstruse. The colours migrate through a spectrum of blues to the crashing whites of the surf.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you and what you offer (or hope to offer) the world of fashion?

It is important for each person to know that they are truly special. You are a one of a kind, you are a gem. You shouldn’t have to change for anyone but yourself. Ghren is here to offer you clothing that is as unique, and special as you are.

What's next for you? What are your long term dreams?

I want Ghren to finally lift off and become part of people’s every day life. I want women to look into their closets and say “today, I am going to wear my Ghren original” and walk out of their front door with confidence.

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