In the Spotlight- Ethical Fashion by AK Threads
Here at #nwchfw HQ if there’s one thing we are passionate about, it’s celebrating home-grown fashion design talent from our very own Fine City.
At the Brasteds and Norwich Cosmetic Clinic Designers Show on Tuesday 14th March, we are SO excited to bring you the creme de la creme of emerging local fashion, which this year includes a collection from uber-cool ethical fashion brand AK Threads.
We caught up with the brand’s equally cool founder and creative director, Gracie Laine, who is passionate about creating ‘threads with impact, that don’t impact our planet’.
I’m going to interject here with my completely subjective option- but I literally LOVE the AK Threads label. The modern, minimalist silhouettes of the pieces, coupled with clever and effective colour techniques belie the status of the brand as ‘ethical’, which can have certain ‘sandals and granola’ connotations. The brand’s aesthetic is anything but.
Anyway, back to Gracie…
KC: Gracie, tell us about yourself!
GL: I’m an Norwich based designer and had studied fashion design for 5 years. My passion for modern clothing and accessible fashion has often been conflicted by my ethical beliefs concerning human rights and the environment. I wanted to make clothing that was both stylish, functional and affordable, targeted towards individuals like myself who perhaps haven’t been able to purchase ethical and sustainable clothing previously due to the lack in variety and [prohibitive] cost.
KC: What’s your starting point for design?
GL: I see clothing as a narrative for expression and context. I believe no women has one style, she’s a multitude of characters. I wanted to make my designs contemporary yet versatile, that have the potential to form the building blocks of any women’s wardrobe with a point of difference.
KC: Where does your inspiration come from?
GL: The inspiration for this collection came directly from my recent year in India. The Bold cuts have been inspired by Rajasthani tailoring. The abstract prints and dyed fabrics embody my fascination with the elements of Jodhpur, known as the blue city.
After working alongside women in India for a year I wanted to play with the idea of gender roles and female empowerment through clothing. I contrasted androgynous cuts with feminine silhouettes to produce an elegant, bold yet comfortable collection. The key features are over size cuts, loose and languid tailoring, traditional but minimal surface design.
KC: On your website, you say:
‘We believe that, like us, there are people who want to see change within the fashion industry and therefore we hope to create a brand that has the potential to push people above the poverty line whilst also offering something of quality and style in return.’
Can you tell us a bit more about this?
GL: The garments are made in collaboration with rural artisans, disadvantaged communities and women I met after living in India for one year supporting a women’s manufacturing unit. I saw first-hand the skills and effort required to produce garments of high quality and the positive effect sustainable wages had on local communities and individuals.
The clothes utilise Indian traditional techniques and provide rural the artisans with economic support, where there is limited access to other sources of income and work. Additionally, the supply chain and products have been carefully selected and made using eco-friendly materials and techniques. Producing garments with slow production methods such as hand loomed, natural and azo free dyes, minimal carbon emissions, fabric and water wastage.
And of course, catch them on the catwalk at Norwich Fashion Week!