EFWA 2018 Upcycling Challenge with Kathryn Davis of slumwear208 and The Possibility Project

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

Watching my mum make something ‘out of nothing’ always felt like magic, it sparked a sense of creativity that is so common in people who grow up surrounded by sewers. I always loved beautiful fabrics and mixing things up has been a passion of mine since high school. Designing clothing is a natural extension of having a particular aesthetic, and wanting to create it for myself and others.

I know you trained as a milliner, but are self-taught in terms of your fashion design. What comes easy for you/ What is more of a challenge? 

I love to learn, but I wouldn’t say I was particularly good at studying! I trained many years ago as a milliner but the most valuable training I have had has been in fashion retail, listening to customers and learning about their likes and dislikes, ultimately my clothing is designed to bring love back into their wardrobes as I find it very challenging that people are so hard on themselves when it comes to choosing what they wear.

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?

slumwear108 is created to bring a much higher level of consciousness to the fashion industry. The last thing I actually want to do is to simply ‘sell clothing’, my work is about scaling a mindset of conscious consumerism and educating people on ways they can reimagine their fashion choices. I hope to truly slow things down, and encourage people to buy clothing that they love and will wear for many years.

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 co-founded slumwear108 with a simple aim to use as mush as what already existed as possible, most of our clothing is made from up cycled silk saris or dead runs of fabrics that we personally select when we visit our makers in India. While we haven’t upcycled entire garments we do design pieces to be used in conjunction with staples already in a persons wardrobe.

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

I am inspired by a growing awareness of the value of the makers throughout the entire supply chain, we have collaborated with LifeLine to upcycle men’s shirts and have them printed by a local printer using the artwork of a local high school student. We also want to create clothing that can be worn by both men and women, we feel blurring ‘identity’ lines takes us closer to the Unity that is so needed to restore a sense of belonging to the supply chain. We also love the growing influence of streetwear on the runway, a break with tradition of highly structured garments on the runaway is a metaphor for us, signalling an accessibility in fashion that should be welcomed.

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?

Our message is about restorative justice, providing people with an awareness that if they wear clothes, they can be part of a solution to the problems within our current fashion industry. We come back to one simple message - be kind with your choices.

What's next for you? What are your long term dreams?
Everything we do is through collaboration - so I have no idea what’s next, it just depends who emails us to invite us to do something wonderful.

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