Sustainability as the norm is the story of new fashion label, ‘Left Edit’
Who is the Left Edit Woman and how did you design for her in mind?
The Left Edit Woman is making a difference. She is detaching from society's expectations and finding her own thriving space that aligns with her values. She is optimistic about the future of change and wants to support brands that are making a difference but refuses to sacrifice personal style. She have been exposed to different cultures, seeks out unique travel experiences, and loves to document her experience. The Left Edit shopper has a sophisticated taste, embraces her own personal style and believes in human rights and environmental conservation.
Can you talk to me a little bit about why you decided on a capsule collection, and how this ties into the idea of versatility and outfit repeating?
We decided to launch Left Edit with only 5 styles, as we believe we exist in a world of far too many options. We wanted to simplify in quantity, but not colour. For us, fashion should be extraordinarily fun, exciting, vibrant and unexpected. We also built our styles with versatility in mind - the Vera Slip dress can be worn with the zipper in the front or the back and easily layered; and the Wren can be worn as a dress or opened up as a duster. For us, it was all about building essentials that make an impression - styles that show up but also have the potential to be reinvented by the wearer, depending on how they infuse their own personal style into them.
Tell us a little bit more about why it was so important for you to produce in L.A and support the local manufacturing industry?
When you are creating a brand, it’s difficult not to think Global. You start thinking about growth, scalability, and opportunities for expansion. For us, we had to decide early on how we were going to go about manufacturing. There are many ethical factories abroad, some of which were personally recommended to us by colleagues, and their offerings are alluring - especially considering the benefits brought with the margins, but we kept coming back to community. There is that famous saying “if you want to change the world, go home and love your family”. To us - this local community is our family. At the end of the day, we want to support people close-by who are going through the challenges of the industry with us, and provide them business to continue to have opportunities near their home.
What are some of the key features and details you wanted to make sure you tackled in the design process - from the perspective of style and aesthetic, as well as materials?
We are always on the move. Ensuring our pieces were cut out for our lifestyle of movement AND style was key to us. We really focused on ensuring our designs were comfortable while still flattering the body. Pairing the right silhouettes with fabric helped keep the integrity of the design and its shape. We used Tencel Linen for our pieces that hug the body, as they also are breathable. 100% Tencel was used for our designs in which we wanted to see the movement in every turn. Cupro provides a silky finish, and works wonders in our Vera dress, as it flatters when draped in the mid-section.
I admire how you both talk about changing the way sustainable fashion is visually communicated. Can you tell me why we need to bring back the element of story-telling to editorials and campaigns? What is the story you want to tell through Left Edit?
We are visual creatures. A good visual has the power to evoke an action or not which pretty much determines the fate of your brand. The brands we love the most are typically the ones that caught our eye amidst the noise and were able to communicate a feeling through an image. We both see the value of storytelling and continue to ensure that everything we do is through the lens of the story we are trying to tell.
For this first collection, we focused on what makes us feel powerful. As women, our power is often taken for granted, taken away from us, or overlooked. We wanted to emphasize our power, design styles that allow us to move comfortably and confidently, but also show up -- styles that don’t allow you to fade into the background. Left Edit is for the woman that embraces who she is now -- but knows it’s powerful to continue to explore who she wants to be.
What have been some of the pleasures of creating a fresh, new label? And what have been some of the challenges?
Being innovative in design is one of the most exciting and most challenging elements of creating a new label. It has been exhilarating bringing our vision to life from concepts to branding to launching our Kickstarter. Knowing that the end product is an outcome of the work you put in has made for a very detailed and thoughtful process.
In the same vein - being truly innovative is difficult. There are so many brands in the world and only so many options for materials / solutions. Making sure we were being true to our vision and not falling into the trap of comparison was a challenge throughout our process. We had to really push each other to maintain a mindset of innovation when challenges would arise and an easy solve would have been to go down the path most traveled.
What is one thing we can do right now to support the Left Edit label?
SHARE! We are a few weeks away from the end of our campaign and need as much support as possible to hit our goal.
You can contribute by purchasing one of the 5 Left Edit debut dresses on our Kickstarter campaign or pledge an amount to help us hit our goal.
Any and all support during this phase of our brand is so appreciated.
What is your ultimate dream for the future of sustainable fashion?
That is it the new norm. Retailers are motivated to provide sustainable products because the demand is there. Mainstream shoppers ask questions about the story behind their products, like it’s a no brainer. People across the world and throughout supply chains will be paid living wages, and the fashion system will continue to iterate to reduce its environmental impact and transform its dirty nature.
Head on over to the Left Edit Kickstarter page to support the work of designers, Kestrel and Holly. You have until Friday, December 28 2018 1:45 AM AEDT.
As an independently run platform, free of advertising and sponsorship, we'd hugely appreciate and wholeheartedly accept any contribution - small or large - as a token for the work we continue to do in the fields of sustainability, second hand & ethical fashion, creative consciousness, female identity/representation and community. All funds will be invested back into the tommie platform to continue to grow and make this the best community site for you to learn and share the wisdom and teachings discovered, with generations to come - as we believe this is how we will affect positive change for a fairer, safer, cleaner and more just home for people, the planet and our animal friends.
At present the tommie platform is independently run by founder, editor & eco stylist - Natalie Shehata, who also works full time in the ethical and sustainable fashion space. As a true entrepreneur, ideas generator, conscious activist and slow style story teller, she works around the clock to ensure quality content is delivered to readers, whilst juggling an ethical day job. We want to be completely transparent on this platform, as honesty and integrity are of utmost importance to us; not only in the fashion space, but in all facets of life. So, in order for us to grow and for this site to be sustainable we need financial aid to reach the goals we have set out for you as our community, our readers and fellow 'creative women with a conscience'.
These are some of the things your investment will contribute to and what happens behind the scenes to keep our platform not only running, but thriving! It takes great time and length to; research the latest change-makers & innovators, conduct in person and over the phone interviews, transcribe conversations, source second hand outfits for the tommie shop, source photo-shoot locations, edit photos, upload images, write copy, manage social media content, email and liaise, host events, design and manage website, pack orders, measure clothes, write style descriptions and copy - this is just a small intro. These donations will help us to continue to do research and also allow the team to grow and provide other 'creative women with a conscience' paid work. We have been inundated with requests by other women wanting to become apart of the tommie team, but as we'd like to keep this site ad free, we don't have the financial means at present to offer paid work. We don't believe in unpaid positions and want to shift the culture in the creative atmosphere so that all individuals are acknowledged for their efforts, skill and expertise.
We're asking for *your* help so we can keep the site ad free, so you're not bombarded or overwhelmed with product pop ups, affiliate advertising and sponsored posts. We want to choose our content, build this with a grass roots approach and stay true to our mission and philosophy to serve you. Your donation will contribute to helping us move from infancy to tackle new and exciting ideas we're itching to work on - and will help provide casual and full time jobs for talented writers, eco stylists', activists, sustainability leaders, photographers, illustrators, graphic designers and everything in between.
Thank you more than anything for stopping by - we hope we have inspired or educated you to lead a life of care and thoughtfulness for yourself, one another, the land and our animals.
Much love and gratitude, tommie xx