Posted on 04 October 2019
Ah, where to begin?! A million thank you’s for all the support and helpful suggestions I received in my last post about moving forward from a negative place. In a nutshell, my mental health is doing much better and I’m implementing a few preventative strategies to keep it that way. I’ve also reconnected with why I started Theo in the first place and believe so strongly that it can be a giant force for good, to such an extent that I’ve booked a flight to Bali and am creating a handful of beautiful summer pieces that I can be proud of in the next few weeks! (Are you on my mailing list and following me on Instagram? I've been sending out polls for design decisions so you can have your say in what you'd like to see from me!)
So how does one perform a mental 180 in 6 weeks? Oh, the beauty of rest and travel, and the perspective, confidence and gratitude that come from it! I also attribute much of my healing to your support. I’ve saved all of your comments and emails of encouragement to my ‘happy bank’ (you should make one!) so that I can build confidence regularly and remember I’m not alone.
(Tim & I in Cologne, Germany, September 2019)
One comment was particularly helpful and in line with what I had already thought to do with Theo, but didn’t find the space to make it happen. ‘Instead of concerning yourself with the seasons and the fashion cycles…can you have products available all season in classic styles and essential basics, that never go out of fashion?’ Yes, yes I can! This was, in fact, the original plan for Theo, but as can happen with many other areas of life, I lost focus, got caught up in the day to day as well as, let’s face it, the way to pay (bills), and my designs started to slip away. While I don’t think I ventured into ‘trend territory’, I definitely lost the aesthetic that I would personally wear, and instead of slow and steady, I sought to churn out pieces for the sake of it.
Having just spent five weeks travelling through the UK and Europe with a 20L backpack, I have relearned what I love about fashion (as well as what I don’t), rediscovered my personal style, and been inspired to use both these things to redirect Theo for the better!
The first learning was all about the travel capsule wardrobe. The term ‘capsule wardrobe’ is used to describe a small selection of garments that are considered essential and timeless for everyday wear, therefore eliminating any pieces that would say, only be worn once or twice before being discarded.
It’s also commonly said that we only wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time, so the idea is to keep things simple and practical, and overcome some of the negative impacts of fashion and over-consumption, such as decision fatigue, a high turnover of clothing ending up in landfill, overflowing closets (and yet having nothing to wear!) and all the big implications of mass-production (environmental pollution and slave labour among many others).
(Being cute and stuff in Oslo, August 2019)
I’m not sure why I agreed when Tim suggested we take carry-on only for our entire five week trip, but I’m so glad I did! My capsule travel wardrobe packing process began much earlier than usual (around 6 weeks before leaving) as I had to ensure the clothing I picked would mix and match effortlessly (yes, lots of white, black and grey!) as well as be practical (being rolled into a backpack more times than I care to count) and functional (catching the end of summer and being in the northern parts of Europe meant temperatures ranging from 10 through to 26!).
I’m working on a video to share what Tim and I packed in the end but overall, the garments that made the cut were in neutral colour ways, quality fabrications (natural fibres only) and were super easy to layer. Not once did we utter ‘I have nothing to wear!’ but instead were extremely satisfied with our decisions and truly enjoyed the travel experience without the hassle of luggage. In fact, we plan to only travel this way in future!
The whole experience was a bit of a metaphor for life. We can fill it with shit we don’t need and dull the experience, or we can be intentional about what we need and allow ourselves to be fully present. It reminded me of why clothing is essential to modern life, but more specifically for myself, that creating beautiful, ethically-made clothing is an important contribution to the world. When the realities of climate change and global poverty are constantly at the forefront of my mind, these are easy things to forget.
(The Tate, London, August 2019)
Tim and I threw an extra challenge into our travels by matching our outfits in a ‘his hers’ style (see our Instagram for our OOTDs for the entire trip!). It ended up being very fun and playful, another important side to fashion that I had lost sight of until now. This, and the importance of clothing and fashion will be covered more in my next blog.
If you haven’t already, please head here>> to help me make some decisions about new summer designs! I would love your input and I value your opinion. I am, after all, here to make clothing for people that care about sustainability and the future of fashion - you!