CREASE Studios is a London-based fashion label that makes one-of-a-kind pieces with sustainable thinking embedded in their design process. Influenced by both contemporary and vintage styles, the brand’s latest collections are comprised of several chic undergarments, corsets, and dresses all made in-house.
Founded by Kate Donald and Rosemary Lambert—who met in their final year at London College of Fashion—the fashion label has become everything they envisioned. Learning more about the environmental issues caused by the fashion industry, the pair began using reworked fabrics to make clothes that are designed to adorn any wardrobe. Since launching in 2015, CREASE has not only cemented its presence in South London, but in the world of sustainable fashion as well.
Through capsules such as CREASE’s Dreams Collection, the brand draws inspiration from various elements in nature. The range includes a line of unique prints that focus on sunsets and cloudscapes that fuse warm and cool hues onto their signature garments. Elsewhere, corsets and slip dresses have quickly ascended as consumer favorites within the CREASE Studios community. The Fleur Corset, which features embroidered floral patterns, and Long Cloud Print Slip Dress are amongst some of our favorite pieces.
We had the pleasure to chat with CREASE Studios founders Kate and Rosemary about their design process, navigating through tough challenges, and the brand’s seven-year anniversary. Read below!
When did the two of you realize you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
It really all came after the success of our graduate collection at LCF’s Press Show. We had always considered ourselves underdogs but after being awarded Collection of the Year at London College of Fashion, we had a moment of “yeah we can do this and we love what we create together!”
We were both unsatisfied with the unethical and unsustainable infrastructure within fashion at the time and knew we wanted to create a force for change, so building our own brand where we had full control of not only our creative decisions but also the soul of operations was fundamental.
Your label is all about empowering those who wear it. How do you think fashion builds confidence?
Being playful with how you dress allows you to find pieces that radiate your personality and transform your self-perception. There is a huge amount of symbolism within clothing and experimenting with different styles can help you connect with yourself which is extremely empowering.
How does your affinity for materials and unconventional fabrics play a role in your design process?
We love working with the different personalities that each fabric has. Part of our design process includes draping and it’s here where you can really experiment with each fabric’s best qualities.
Textile experimentation is also a very important practice for us in the studio and can really enhance the design process and change the dynamic of the piece. Allowing ourselves to just have fun and not focus too much on the outcome usually generates the most interesting results.
How is sustainability an integral part of your brand and your design methodology?
Sustainability is at the core of what we do and it’s our mission to reduce waste and contribute to an industry of slow, ethical fashion where everyone involved within the supply chain has fair, happy working conditions with good working hours, pay, and benefits.
We rework as many of our offcuts and waste fabric as possible into new creations. We have a line of bags and accessories made from these offcuts launching soon! This enables as much material as possible the chance to become a treasure for someone’s wardrobe.
We are also adapting the way we design to incorporate ‘no waste’ pattern cutting techniques. This means using as much of the fabric as possible in the design of garments. We work hard to embed sustainable thinking into our design process -designing for disassembly to ensure full circularity for the life cycle of each product, which means developing methods that enable the product to be easily recyclable or planted back into the earth. Using materials biodegradable and natural to the Earth makes this part of the process more achievable.
It is our belief that garments should be built to last and not contribute to the landfill mountains the textile industry has created. We wholeheartedly believe clothes are items that should be bought and treasured with the same consideration that goes into purchasing that expensive one-off buy you have been saving for so long.
What are the challenges that come with running an independent fashion label, especially in the midst of a pandemic?
We have an amazing community of people we work with so not being able to see them as much has been hard. Lots of things we had planned had to be pushed back or canceled and there were big delays on getting fabrics and components etc.
One thing we’ve noticed though is that there seems to have been a big shift towards sustainability and shopping small since the beginning of 2020 which is really encouraging and amazing to see.
Reflecting on the younger days when you two initially met, how have you encouraged one another to grow in terms of creativity and design?
After working alongside one another for so long we know what our strengths play best to and try to encourage the most out of these in tandem with each other.
When we first started the brand we had to really minimize our ideas a lot in order to be able to produce clothing that we could produce and sell. Not having the money at the beginning to be able to produce our big ideas held us back but we’re focussing now on not restricting ourselves and giving ourselves the freedom to let our creativity run free.
We have both found it so important to make time for creative outlets outside the studio, whether that’s going to exhibitions, events, or just for a dance together so that our creativity never becomes stagnant to our workspace. Our ideas are always inspired from discussions within the studio so giving those ideas space to develop organically outside of the studio allows us to come back to the project with more energy and a fresh take.
Do you have any big goals for CREASE as the brand turns seven this year?
We have so many goals, big and small! There are a few stores we’d love to be stocked in and a few celebrities we’d love to style. There are community projects we’d love to do that we held off on last year due to lockdowns.
Longer-term goals include having our own store, growing the team across the globe and being able to make real positive changes to the environment and set a new president in the ways of operating a conscious driven brand.
An ultimate goal of ours is to set up our own factories in the UK where the wellbeing of all employees is first and foremost and we can change the landscape of sustainable fashion.
Elsewhere in fashion, sustainable fashion label Her Fruit is curating eye-catching pieces!