HAVN : When and where was the seed for Story MFG planted and has the vision changed since inception? Have there been any defining moments along the way?
STORY MFG : Katy and I founded the company in earnest right at the end of 2013, although back then we were just making one pair of jeans. We wanted to connect the dots between nature, craft and the kind of fashion we were into, and create a positive cycle.
I feel like every day brings some new deeply defining moment! Our perspective and practice hasn’t changed at all - but how we problem solve and approach challenges is something that is always fluid. The way we make clothing is much closer to wine making than garment manufacturing - we are always slaves to what nature has in store for us.
HAVN : Your collections are produced in an Indian village using locally sourced organic materials and entirely sustainable methods. How did you come across such a place and do you feel limited by using only natural, organic materials and dyes?
STORY MFG : Creating rules to operate by is a real double edged sword. On the one hand, we’re really limited - unlike other brands that can shop around fabric suppliers or use garment blanks, when we need something we have to make it or invent it. On the other hand, it forces innovation, discovery and has resulted in some really interesting finds. At the start it made it really challenging because all we could really do was overdye fabric and make denim, but over the last 5 years we have learned new skills and connected with new makers so we have wovens, prints, embroidery, knit, crochet and even stone carving.
How important are fashion choices in creating a sustainable future and do you have any sustainable style tips?
STORY MFG : I feel like having a level of comfort with your own style is ultimately the most sustainable thing, because you aren't constantly buying new hypewear and trying to fit in. We do think fashion is really important to the sustainability discussion - we often say fashion and food can be the most powerful forms of social activism (more detail on this in our manifesto on storymfg.com!)
You speak of teaching and learning a lot with your craftspeople so it sounds like quite a collaborative design process. What developments can we look forward to in the coming seasons?
STORY MFG : We’re really working hard right now on new woven fabrics - specifically trying to reinterpret old 90s/00s outdoor fabrics in handwoven textures (we’ve just developed a bunch of really textured ripstops and sherpa fabrics). We’re also looking at new ways of natural printing to get new effects - thats a much longer one though and will likely take quite a while!
You’re absolutely right though, it’s really collaborative, both with the people and the planet, so something new might present itself that we hadn’t even thought of.
What are the top five tracks on your playlists right now?
STORY MFG : Katy and I have really different taste so the playlist is a weird compromise:
Nick Cave - Rings Of Saturn
Joji - Slow Dancing In The Dark
Greentea Peng - Downers
Celeste - Father’s Son
Grateful Dead - Box Of Rain