Fashion Lecturer Laura Jones takes on fast fashion
Where can you help slow the frenzied pace of ‘fast-fashion’, bring together a community and train the clothing makers of tomorrow - all under one roof? Crediton in North Devon may not be the first place that springs to mind but BA (Hons) Fashion Design lecturer, Laura Jones’s new venture, The Makers Boutique and Workshops is designed to do just that.
As well as selling handmade clothing and jewellery from UK makers, Laura will be running workshops from the premises. The aim is to help people in the community understand more about where their clothing comes from, the skills required to make them and how to be more eco-conscious.
"I think production is going to come back to this country to some extent, but no one's actually training anybody in the skills and the technical skills people need for that," said Laura.
The shop has been set up with learning in mind, its open plan design means that customers can see cutting tables and machinery. Anyone who walks into the shop will be able to come up and look at how things are actually made.
"The idea is to get people making things. If people understand the way things are made, all these processes, all these machines and how much skill is involved, then they're ultimately going to start respecting the process and then ultimately be willing to pay for what things actually cost."
The ethos of education is carried through to the shop's staff. Plymouth College of Art graduates are gaining experience as machinists and assistants in the store. BA (Hons) Commercial Photography students, Charlotte Ralph, Bailey Moate and Maia Cazza have also used their talents, creating the images of the store and it’s stock you see here.
An entrepreneur at heart, Laura is interested in the boundaries where art meets science and commerce. Her impressive career includes time spent as a freelance costume maker and stylist on films like Batman Begins and Tomb Raider 2. She has amassed a wealth of experience as a menswear designer, pattern cutter, garment technologist and consultant for high-end labels such as Nicole Farhi and Vivienne Westwood as well as running her own fashion label.
For this most recent project, it’s the joy of creating something that Laura wants to share with others.
"I have this thing about people making things from beginning to end, and there's a sort of therapeutic aspect to that as well.
"I've got big ambitions for the project, but ultimately we're a shop selling nice local, sustainable handmade things."
Laura hopes her shop can bring people the same sense of pride her students feel when they've created something themselves. More importantly she hopes learning about processes will lead to customers questioning the financial ethics of fast fashion.
"I would love people to think, 'God, that's only five pounds, we know the fabric costs that much; we know the process will take six hours; how is that even possible?'
"I'm just a bit in love with this idea that you have this relationship with the people who make your clothes and they know you, and they know what you like, and they can make things for you," said Laura.