Aimee is one of my dearest friends and the first person I asked to make a garment for. I knew her interest in improving her consumption habits and was glad she agreed to take part in my project.
In my first year of studies, I had already begun designing basic garments, including the first iteration of what became Aimee's top. I knew even in the early stages of developing the garment that it would be perfect for her style.
She was my (very willing) guinea pig. It was my first ever appointment and I had yet to explain my project in such a direct way to a 'customer' instead of just to my academic peers. It took over two hours for Aimee and I to explore all her options in colour, fabric and print.
In the end, she liked about the idea of using one colour in different tones. She wanted to use two different fabrics to achieve these multiple tones, as well as having a variation of structure and drape. The two she chose were a hemp and organic cotton blend, and Tencel. These two fabrics are particularly soft, which was a big part of the appeal for Aimee.
As seen in the image below, I created a lot of toiles to get the shaping right across Aimee's bust. When I suggested this garment for her, she liked the idea because she sometimes she finds similar top styles difficult to fit her bust properly.
So I created many front panels to get the seaming just right. Meaning - no accentuating nipples with too many seams meeting at one point, and no panels creating unflattering shapes.
We also added extra straps to work with Aimee's proportion - balancing out her shoulders and her bust.
The only change at the back of the top was removing the centre bottom triangles to prevent ruffling at her lower back. It resulted in creating a lovely angular shape that really added to the garment style.
Aimee also liked the idea of having a nod to what her top is made from, but she wanted to keep it subtle. So I added a small onion pictogram at the front left corner, hand stitched in bamboo silk thread.
Finally, we also made her a cushion using the waste from making her top. This included the print paste I had made from reducing her onion dye bath. I printed up a few extra pieces to fill the gaps and add some interest in the pattern.
The image was taken in Aimee's house and the cushion fit perfectly with her vintage Ercol rocking chair and reupholstered seat, covered in Irish woven tweed.
A quick chat...
What did you enjoy most about being part of this project, and what did you learn?
Aimee: I enjoyed the initial appointment and being involved in the creative process. Choosing cloths/colours/style and generally being involved in the design process was really fun! The creative process of the garment dyeing was also really interesting to me.
As consumers I feel its so important we are conscious about where our purchases come from and try to choose ethically sourced products (where you can) or at least be aware, so learning about every step of the garment making process was important for me - making the experience very special (and worth every penny).
Who are your style icons; past, present and future?
A: My Mum and older Sister - Emma always dressed alternatively and quite grungy which I thought was really cool and tried to copy (mens checked shirts and docs) I remembering buying my first pair of docs with her, burgundy ones! Both my mum and sister have always shopped second hand which is probably why I do, I was brought up that way.
My mum is also my present style icon- she always looks great, even when going to the supermarket- I’ve never seen her wear a t shirt. She’s always been stylish and taught us to look good at ALL times!!
I take inspiration from the people around me at the time so it depends who’s in my life in the future!
Are there other sustainable/ethical brands you shop with?
A: I try to shop as sustainably as possible, I was always aware of fast fashion but after seeing the documentary " The True Cost" it really showed how brutal the industry is not only in terms of the environmental impact but its well-fare of the people working within it - being that there is none at all, with the majority working in slave labour conditions.
I try to buy locally if i can, second hand, local designers but on a wider scale ive shopped with:
Celtic & co
All my skin care is organic and ethically sourced.
How do you plan to style/wear your garment?
A: I have quite the collection of high waisted pants and skirts so styling the top with any of these will be perfect! The colour is happy and versatile that will go with pretty much anything and brighten the look.
It's also a perfect holiday top with high waisted, wide legged linen trousers, shades, sun hat! Good to go! Beer in hand, yes please, Pinterest bitches watch out!!
If you are interested in creating a similar garment with me, please do get in touch.
Finished garment images: Gabriela Silveira