We’ve been looking at Just for You this week, and it seems fitting to close the series with bespoke denim, because fit to a tee is the name of the game at Dogwood Denim!
Jeans are such a wardrobe staple, we *live* in our jeans here on the West Coast, so why not have ones that fit properly?
We’ve all done the jeans buying trip where we try a bunch of pairs and pick the one that’s best from the group, but that doesn’t mean it fits properly, it means it’s been the best option, until now: Correct leg length, correct rise, the right weight and wash… especially for those who have harder to fit bodies.
We’re so lucky to have Alina Kroeker’s Dogwood Denim joining us to bring her expertise to First Pick Handmade. We love chatting with her about all things fashion, be sure to visit her at the show!
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 showing the impact that overconsumption is having on the world. Recycling clothing is a very complicated subject and when people don’t want an item anymore, they should do their best to rehome it. When you place your clothing into donation bins, almost all of the time, they are shipped to Asia and either sold or shredded for mattress stuffing. Very few items actually get recycled – the way we think about recycling where a piece of clothing gets made into another piece of clothing.
We’ve all heard about Greenwashing, so what do you think consumers need to be aware of? What do you see that bothers you?
I think consumers need to get smart about reading labels. Just like learning to read nutritional labels on foods, we shouldn’t be fooled with a “Designed in Canada” label. These labels are not regulated by the government. We need to pay attention to the whole supply chain of a garment and, to me, that label says the garment has been outsourced and the actual production has happened outside of our labor laws that protect employees.
On the topic of Activism, it seems that it’s local designers are leading the charge through creating their own initiatives regarding waste, take back programs etc. Even spreading the word about social issues on Social Media creates a more inclusive community. What are you doing to spark change?
I try to talk to people about clothing recycling in general and usually it’s not what they imagine. A lot of people think that if they throw something out, it can just be made into another garment and that’s simply not true. Most of the time that’s not possible. The biggest issue is with mixed fibers. If you spin cotton and polyester together, there is no way to take that fiber apart which means it can only be used shredded and used for stuffing.
Even with the rise in Sustainability, customers still want “luxury”… how does your line connect the two concepts?
MADE TO MEASURE BABY! I think a made to measure custom garment is the ultimate in luxury. Not to mention it’s made to your specific body time, you get to choose the materials and make it truly your own.
What is your favourite part of production, and why? And the least favourite?
I love meeting new people and talking denim. I want to solve their fitting issues and create a garment for them that will be in their closet for years to come.
My least favourite is probably not having enough time to make more designs.
What do you wish customers understood about the production process?
The reason made to measure items cost so much is not because of materials, but because of the time it takes to make something *just for you*.
People often think fashion is all about glamor… what’s your “average” day like?
HA! There is no average day. I spend only about 20% of my time sewing and 80% doing everything else from booking, social media, meeting with clients, networking, designing samples and future visioning.
On the subject of your collection, what’s new for Fall 2019?
Made to measure denim jacket! This was the most requested next item I wanted to design.
What’s the one thing customers should add to their wardrobe this season and why?
A denim jacket is perfect for fall! Plus I have a whole bunch of new denim – Gray/Black/Brown wax. You can really make it your own.
Let’s talk design for a moment: what is your design viewpoint? Who is the person you design for? How has your design viewpoint changed or evolved?
Luxurious Basics. I am designing for people who understand that modern luxury is really just really well-fitting clothing that you get a say in designing. Luxury is not a brand or a logo that you flash around.
How are you balancing creativity with the daily grind?
This one is really hard. I really have to disconnect myself from the world to get creative after production.
What challenges do you find yourself facing, and how does being part of the local design scene help?
Understanding that change is hard and that everyone around me gets that too. We are stronger together.