The lovely Charlotte Campbell of the self named (with a twist) label Campbell Charlotte was lovely enough to take time out to chat to me about her beautiful new collection. Read what she had to tell me below in her own words.
Tell us about Charlotte? Hello! My name is Charlotte and I run an emerging, Melbourne based label called Campbell Charlotte. I graduated my Fine Art Bachelor in 2014 and experimented with exhibiting my work. During this period I always felt there was something missing from my practice. It seems that I was creating pieces that could be worn and utilised, acting as a canvas for my artwork and textile designs. These days I work form my home studio in Balaclava, developing the collection.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Gao
What was your inspiration behind your recent collection?
This collection has been designed with the Australian Autumn Winter season in mind, with a versatility that can be carried through the entire year. The focus when sourcing my fabrics was to find both luxurious and interesting fibre combinations- so there is a lot of hemp, yak hair and silk blends within the range. The Season 2 printed textile was inspired by the palette and movement of kelp and other sea vegetables.
How do you start designing your collection?
The label investigates the relationship between printed textiles, the textures of natural fibre and minimal silhouettes. It explores how an garment may alter overtime, embracing the softening and creasing of fabric- allowing each piece to grow with the wearer and assume its own identity. This is generally my starting point when designing, I find I need to consider the life of the garment when it leaves my studio and ensure it maintains its wearability over time. After researching the darker side of the textile industry during the final year of my bachelor, I gained a new perspective on the way I dressed myself. I knew I wanted to make a change not only in the way that I consumed clothing and textiles- but the way that others perceived what they wanted vs. what they needed.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Gao
Do you ever get designers block?
I actually don't! It is sometimes a little uninspiring when the designing is over and its admin time but apart from that I've always got new ideas buzzing around months before its even time to design the next collection. I try not to be too influenced by current trends. In fact I find myself looking away from the ‘new cool thing’ and try to dig deeper to a more wearable aesthetic. The longevity of a garment is really important within my label, both physically and stylistically.
Whats your favourite item from the Season 2 collection and why?
My favourite piece is probably the Crush top. I've previously only ever made it from printed linen, however this time I'm working with both a black and off white crushed hemp silk fabric. There is a strong possibility this will become a CC staple item! The crushed nature of the fabric means you can unpack it from your bag, give it a shake and its ready to wear.
Photo Credit: Christopher Robert
Does your work have an environmental agenda? Tell us about it.
I personally work with natural fibres whenever possible and prefer to use linen over cotton due to the environmental costs of production. There are a couple of digital textile printing studios here in Melbourne, so I can keep things very local when possible. I prefer to use this printing process as it uses natural pigment inks and there is no water wastage during the printing process. I also design all of my garments considering fabric wastage, next to nothing leaves the studio for landfill.
How do you contribute to the sustainable, slow fashion industry?
At the moment as Campbell Charlotte is still a very small operation, I have machine sewed everything myself in my Melbourne studio up to this point, however I am looking to employ the help of a local machinist to take the load off. It is hard work but also allows me to be in control of my entire production process, which at the moment is very important to me.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Gao
What does "Sustainable Fashion" mean to you?
Of course, it is hard to fulfil all criteria when it comes to working with sustainability- which is where my individual priorities come into play. Working sustainably for me means following my supply chain closely and using unbleached natural fibre whenever possible. Foremost I am interested in exploring the way in which we shape our identity with clothing, and I aim to make a change in the way that clothing is perceived as a trend based, disposable facet of our lives.
What would you say to consumers who think sustainable, ethically made clothes are unfashionable?
I think that five years ago this was a lot more common. These days there is a lot less tie-dyed organic cotton and a lot more quality basics made from the material. I would direct them towards the new Ethical Clothing Australia website to check out their directory of ethically certified Australian labels. For further inspiration on styling and an insight into the ideas surrounding a slower approach to fashion, I would suggest they visit the Intent Journal website or Instagram.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Cambpell
Finally, what do you think the future of sustainable fashion looks like?
I am so excited to see what happens to the future of sustainable fashion. The industry in Melbourne alone is heading in such a promising direction. The informed choices by designers to work with organic and recycled materials is becoming more popular with each season.
Documentary films such as 'the true cost' have highlighted the destructive nature of the industry to many customers. As well as looking at the environmental impact of their material, it seems that the entire life of a garment is being considered more often with less of a focus on fleeting trends, and more on the production quality of the piece. It is also fantastic to see an increase in up cycling and recycling pre loved garments through the emergence of Facebook selling groups, and consignment stores.
Photo credit: Charlotte Campbell