First Pick presents (Ag) + (Au) Clothing

We’re carrying on our Reclaimed Textiles, and who better to give us a Sustainability Pep-Talk than Kaitlin Martin of Victoria based eco-label (Ag) + (Au) Clothing?

We’re always inspired (and awed) by Kaitlin’s clean lines and wearable pieces at our show, and the fact that her brand is made with such care to even the finer details makes it stand out. Using dead stock textiles that would have gone to waste, organic textiles when using “new” fabrics and buttons made from shell instead of plastic, (Ag) + (Au) Clothing balances sustainability and style without compromising either.

We can’t wait to see Kaitlin’s offerings this fall, in the meantime here’s a chat we had recently.

Sustainability is huge right now, but what do you think needs to happen to take it from “trend” status to how the everyday person is living?

I think we just need to persist.  People are always wary to jump on board with things right away, especially if they can’t see where this current ‘trend’ will take them. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s education, education, EDUCATION. People need to be beaten over the head with this idea that we only have a few more years to make massive changes to our consumer economy before we’re in deep trouble, and they need to have this explained to them as many ways and as many times as necessary.  So much of the world still has such a laissez-faire attitude towards sustainability and responsible consumerism, and it won’t become a part of our ethos until people understand WHY they need to make a change.  We also need to put a LOT (I mean A LOT) more pressure on governments and big business to make changes, which is why voting with your dollar and supporting responsible business is so important!

Even with the rise in Sustainability, customers still want “luxury”… how does your line connect the two concepts? 

(Ag)+(Au) Clothing is designed specifically to tackle this problem. I try to create luxury items, pieces that make the wearer feel strong, sexy, luxurious & powerful but are also all made sustainably and responsibly, The key is in the fabrics. High-end, beautiful, organic fabrics are more expensive, yes, but they last longer, they are (often, not always) made in better conditions, and they feel amazing on the skin which in turn makes YOU feel amazing wearing them!  It’s in our name: silver and gold are precious metals – they are extremely durable, they don’t lose their value & have been prized throughout society for thousands of years. We design (Ag)+(Au) to be durable & beautiful, items that you will wear and covet for many years!

What is your favourite part of production… and the least favourite? 

My favourite part of production is designing within the strict parameters I place on myself.  I do my best to use only plant-based, natural fabrics, which often means that my garments don’t have a lot of stretch (no nylon, polys, spandex etc.) This creates a range of unique challenges when I design. This season I’ve also challenged myself to create more “plastic-free fashion” as well as experiment with zero-waste. I’m working hard to phase out any plastic items (plastic buttons or zippers) from my collection, which has been…difficult, to say the least, and to use my scrap fabric in interesting ways – such as quilting with it to create new fabrics that can be used as linings etc.  (Ag)+(Au) is slow fashion. Sometimes these experiments don’t work out as planned, and it’s back to the drawing board.  There is a reason I sometimes only release one new item a year – I won’t release a piece if it doesn’t meet all of my parameters for responsible design.  

People often think fashion is all glamorous… what’s your “average” day like? 

I think I’m more project manager than a designer. Very little of my time is spent as most people imagine – daydreaming and sketching and looking at pretty fabrics etc. Most of my time is spent emailing back and forth with my manufacturers or patternmakers, updating social media & the website, blogging, arranging photo shoots, and harassing stores to try to get my product in front of their customers!  Some days I do get to daydream and sketch and look at pretty fabrics too, and those days are wonderful. 🙂