I am always amazed at some of the talented individuals I come across here in New Zealand, especially in the No Brand New Movement. This week its particularly important to recognize that there is a story behind each business, each label, each stitch on each piece of cloth. Today marks the end of Fashion Revolution week or the "Who made my clothes" campaign. Much of the global fashion industry is opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging and desperately needs revolutionary change. So we encourage others to ask brands "who made my clothes" to demand greater transparency. Its not just about the major brands though, its about our grass root creators, designers and sewers, its about realizing that there is a person and their family behind each piece of cloth on your body or child's body, its about the rich story of the fabric...a story that can be retold and reused respectfully.
Some of our fabulous No Brand New fashion extraordinaire s. Meet Sharn, the mother of one behind "Mushama & Me" who makes practical and stylish waterproof products from vintage sheets and duvets which are then waterproofed to make adults and kids raincoats, bibs, and cotton bloomers. Meet Bea Lorimer. Mother, colorful upcycler, painter and cuppa tea lover the creator behind "Heke Design". Drawing on a fashion background and passion for recycling, HekeDesign is creating unique colourful fashion, utilizing resources we already have.
Meet Gabrielle the talented designer & sewer behind Retrolicious Baby, mama of 5, sewer, vintage lover, with a big community spirit.
It is a honour to welcome Retrolicious Baby as new vendor to the No Brand New Directory, and to pay tribute to Fashion Revolution week I would love to talk a little more about the wonderful lady behind the brand. Talented mother of 5 Gabrielle runs Retrolicious Baby from her Instagram account, where there is no shortage of vintage uniqueness and style. Made mostly of vintage and upcycled fabrics from the likes of woolen blankets and pillowcases sourced from op shops and emporiums in New Zealand, Retrolicious Baby creates one off bespoke pieces for your special little person.
An op shop, vintage and sewing enthusiast since she was a teenager Gabrielle was the one at school in a 1940's cocktail dress and doc martins. Once her eldest child came along (now off exploring the world) Gabrielle started sewing children's clothes using the classic Plunket layette pattern to make her little gowns. All her children wore vintage and handmade and Gabrielle sewed for friends and family. Over the years a collection grew of fabulous bits of vintage fabric, 50c vintage pillowcases and vintage baby dresses (Much to her three youngest boys delight) Retroliciousbaby started after having a small stall at the schools FiaFia day as many mothers started asking where she got her childrens clothes.
"It was also a way of using some of my fabric stash, getting to use some girls vintage patterns, as well as offering some alternative clothes for boys as their really wasn't much choice when my oldest son came along 11yrs ago" says Gabrielle.
Retroliciousbaby was then started on Instagram where you can find photos of her adorable 3 year old son Otis in his vintage treasures and photos of her handmade pieces. Gabrielle found Instagram to be the perfect place to share her hobby with others as it has helped her meet like minded crafty mums in the business of upcycling. Retroliciousbaby has enabled her to sew a few extra pieces, use up some of her fabric stash and have an excuse to buy a little more at local opportunity shops.
"I love the idea of upcycling and using vintage fabric and blankets to create new garments. I also shop at some of the emporiums who have end of bolt fabrics, and I do use some new fabrics but try to go for organic where possible" says Gabrielle.
Retroliciousbaby is getting support from other mothers who love being able to make custom orders, the uniqueness of design, its sustainability and quality of craftsmanship. I two have ordered some pieces from retroliciousbaby and find myself asking why would I ever buy my childrens clothes another way? Gabrielle is one busy lady and also works fulltime and enjoys parenting her 4 lovely small people where they try to live a somewhat green existence in the middle of the city and still find to time to go adventuring. Going forward Gabrielle is focusing on finding the balance of keeping her sewing an enjoyable hobby and sharing her love of handmade, vintage and upcycling with some of the cool mamas through Instagram.
Find Retrolicious Baby on the No Brand New directory:
Or on Instagram under @retroliciousbaby