To find out more about the fashion industry, I interviewed designer Katie Gannon for a college project. Her eco-friendly label "Mother Maria" is dedicated to her late Polish grandmother, Maria.
Katie started sewing as a teenager, remodeling her own garments from retro pieces she picked up at local op shops.
She's still inspired by vintage magazines and retro patterns. Many of her unique garments use vintage fabrics collected over the past 15 years.
I love the way that Katie's label and cool blog have a strong social conscience. Her clothing is always created under ethical work conditions, using sustainable fabrics, such as recycled vintage pieces, and organic cottons.
Since 2004, Mother Maria has grown from piecing together individual garments on a home sewing machine, to now producing seasonal ranges for stockist's Australia wide.
Here's some of our Q & A...
I am usually up at about 6am. I start work at 7, check my emails for about an hour, then it's to the sewing and cutting rooms where I am either designing or getting production ready. I also have to make time to fit in a bit of book-work, web-maintenance, and research before I finish at around 5pm.
Definitely when a new range is finally finished and we get to shoot it, and start marketing the clothes.
I would have to say sewing the same designs over and over many times if I have a lot of orders for it.
When I started looking into the behaviours of major fashion labels and their impact on the environment, I was rudely awakened to how destructive this industry is.
I sew a lot of my garments, and I also have several local sewing ladies with whom I contract work out to. I used to produce clothing overseas, but after working with a few factories and seeing the conditions, I decided it wasn't the direction I wanted to take.
All of my sewers are now paid between $20-$25 per hour. This means that every piece of my clothing made under the Mother Maria label has been sewn by someone who was paid fairly, and was happy to create the garment, not forced into it due to poverty.
If you want to make beautiful, quality clothing, don't ever try to compete or compare yourself to cut price made in China garments that are all over the shopping centre. If your designs are unique, you will set yourself apart from mass produced clothing. Stay true to yourself and have confidence in what you do!