It all started with one shirt. One very unique, well designed, European sports shirt from the 70’s.
Living simply looks different for different people. What does living simply look like for you?
For me, I love the sound of my 150-year old Heinisch tailor’s shears as they cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter.
Spending time with a piece of fabric to consider how the end product will look.
Do you have a specific interest that you like to focus on in the area of simple living?
I love to rummage through op shops and always have. I seem to have an eye for the unusual. Our holidays are planned around vintage and op shopping.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey toward living a simple life. Was there a catalyst that led you to follow this path?
It all started with one shirt that I found in an op shop in 1995. I wore it until it practically fell of my back. I was so attached to the style I unpicked it and had a pattern drafted allowing me to make more.
My initial plan was to manufacture clothes on a global scale which would have involved creating fabric overseas, manufacturing and distributing without doing any part of the work myself, other than overseeing operations.
I attended a presentation by Jane Milburn, who introduced me to the concept of slow clothing, and pointed out the environmental and human cost of fast fashion. At that point I realised there was no way I could follow through with the original idea.
I had a request to make a garment out of some of the original fabric I had printed in a small run. Not wanting to ruin the good fabric, I hit up a local op shop and grabbed a pile of linen. I figured I could do test garments before making the original one. I was pleasantly surprised with the finished look, giving me comfort in knowing I can create a range of original shirts with a clear conscience from recycled fabric, making them truly original.
What do you find challenging about trying to live simply?
Recognising when enough fabric is enough.
What are some of the benefits of this way of life for you?
The many road trips, spent with my life partner, in search of the best op shops in the country, and the stays we have in our camper.
What simple pleasures bring you joy and help you to slow down?
Road trips, camping, appreciating nature from sunrise to sunset.
Are there any podcasts, books, documentaries or websites that you have found helpful?
I have been enjoying a podcast called The Quick Unpick by Brittslist. It’s a collaboration between Britt’s List and Ethical Clothing Australia. Over a series of episodes Britanie Dreghorn talks to a number of ECA-accredited Australian businesses who are manufacturing locally.
My go to book that keeps me grounded is Jane Milburn’s Slow Clothing. It’s a constant reminder of why I started on this journey and has a multitude of ideas for the reader to harness and lighten their footprint.
What is something new that you have done or learnt about in the last year?
The last year was an interesting one, with many valuable lessons. We travelled around Queensland and still have a lot more to see, spent a lot more time at home and were forced to slow down. Other than creating shirts my other passions are playing music and drawing. The extra time over the last year allowed me to dabble more in those areas.
What would you like to learn about or do in the future?
In the future, I’d like to experiment more with original fabrics, printing and using natural dyes. And more collaborations with other artist and designers
If money or time were no option what would you like to do?
I think it’s important to educate as many people as possible about what they can do individually to change from mass consumerism to being eco warriors, knowing that once something is learned it can’t be unlearned.
Taking every opportunity to educate the simplicity of creating something new from something already used.
If people would like to learn more about you and what you do, how can people follow you online or get in contact with you?