What does it all mean?
Modern, fashion-forward clothes with a strong sixties mod influence. My most popular keywords for people finding my website or Etsy store are 'mod' and 'sixties fashion'. It's a niche market, but it's a market I love. I can't remember where I heard this advice (probably in a guest lecture at uni) but to successfully work for yourself, you need to be obsessed with your work. I'm totally obsessed with sixties fashion, so I tie it into my work.
I love doing formal and bridal for custom work, but for the label I need to focus on one thing. Bell Street is a daywear label.
I really enjoy doing original, handmade fabrics and I thought I should incorporate them more into the label. This includes dye techniques, screen printing, stamping... and anything else I come up with!
I've written about zero-waste pattern making before (the short version - designing clothes so there are absolutely no scraps of fabric leftover). I think I'm a long way off doing completely zero-waste designs, but I am aiming for minimum waste. When I design a garment, I re-work the pattern over and over until there is as little waste as possible. This also means designing collections with more versatile fabrics that would work for a few different pieces.
I want you to love and use your Bell Street clothes! Minimum waste only goes part of the way in making clothing more ethical. If you're only going to wear it once, it wasn't worth the effort. I want to make clothes that people will wear over and over again. This is why I love making things reversible - whether it's back-to-front reversible (like this tee) to offer a different neckline, or inside out reversible (like this skirt) to offer different colour options. When I get an idea I like to look at it and think about how to make it more adaptable somehow - what can the wearer change to make this garment more versatile? Maximum use also means adding elements that make a garment more practical - like pockets! I love pockets.
What makes a piece of clothing seem 'useful' to you? For me it needs to be easy to care for, go with lots of things in my wardrobe, and of course have pockets!