Today we’d like to introduce you to Jillian Clark.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jillian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I spent my early career as a costume designer for television, film, and theater. I had no aspirations to be a fashion designer or even own my own company. MeWe Clothing Brand started, as so many businesses do, out of necessity. It was the solution to a problem I didn’t see anyone else tackling. I was distraught over the amount of waste produced on movie sets. Everything from catering, to scripts, to plastic water bottles and yes, even clothing. I knew my skill set as a designer and seamstress, combined with my access to nearly endless amounts of fabric and textile waste, had to potential to start something revolutionary.
What started as a small side project, to ease my guilty conscious about working in such a wasteful industry, quickly turned into my passion. I educated myself on the global effects of the fast fashion industry. I began collaborating with other brands, using their textile waste to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Boutiques and markets in and around Los Angeles began to notice, not only MeWe’s designs, but also the importance of our mission to reduce textile waste… We currently are running our first pop-up outside LA, in San Fransisco. We have collaborated with Ficks, a hard seltzer company, to create custom upcycled tote bags and coasters.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
HA! Has anyone ever answered ‘yes’ to this question? No, it has not been an especially smooth road. However, I have had an endless amount of support and help from my friends, mentors and the small business community. Nearly every struggle I have encountered, there has always been someone I can call to ask for help or advice. I had to learn very early on in starting MeWe, that it is OK to admit the things I don’t know. This was not a ‘fake it till you make it’ situation. I didn’t go to business school, I didn’t go to fashion school, I had to learn how to get a business up and running, WHILE I was getting a business up and running! So yes, there have been plenty of missteps. Everything from learning how to work with factories to trademark issues to keeping up with demand for new product (this isn’t one I will ever complain about, but it is still a struggle when you’re a one woman show!).
MeWe Clothing Brand – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
MeWe Clothing Brand is an upcycled clothing line, as well as a source of information on sustainable fashion. Our intention is to help reduce the nearly 13 million tons of textile waste that ends up in US landfills every year. All our products are one-of-a-kind and made entirely from upcycled materials. Our designs are constantly changing, as we create based on what materials we collect, rather than the other way around. We collect our materials from factories, warehouses and production houses in and around Los Angeles. We have partnered with several brands who are looking for ways to reduce their own waste. Our most popular design is our Cactus Jacket. I source second hand denim jackets and customize each one with a cactus pattern on the back panel.
Each cacti is then embroidered by hand using the Sashiko method. Sashiko is a traditional Japanese form of mending, which highlights a garments flaws, rather than hiding them. It’s a poetic sentiment, especially for MeWe, considering all our garments have a history and a story worth highlighting. We also have the Denim Repair Lab, which is a mail in denim repair service. After filling out a form on our website, you’ll receive an envelope in the mail, in which you send us your damaged denim. We will then repair your denim using the Sashiko design of your choosing. The most common feedback we receive is that customers who’s jeans have the visible Sashiko mending, those jeans become their most complimented garment. Each repair is completely unique and turn your old threadbare jeans into their new statement garment!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There have been so many small and big victories over the past two years, that it is hard to choose my proudest moment. However, in thinking through all those victories, the one that left me feeling the most excited, most validated, most nervous and most supported, was when I was invited to move the company out of my studio apartment and into Comunitymade. Comunitymade makes premium shoes and gives back to local non-profits, while also creating a community with events held in their Arts district location. Having a company, whose product and mission I highly respected, look at my company and say ‘yes, we believe in what you’re doing and we want to help’ was my proudest moment.
- Website: www.meweclothingbrand.com
- Email: Hello@meweclothingbrand.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mewe_clothing_/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeWeClothingBrand/
Alex Lark, Ayla Kell, Joshua Haaland