“I am the seasons, I think sometimes, January, May, November; the mud, the mist, the dawn. I cannot be tossed about, or float gently, or mix with other people.”
― Virginia Woolf
As the last few days of August creep up on us our minds are inclined to ignore the warm, sunny days and look ahead to the crispness of Autumn and the promise of new ideas and knitwear. As is usual with a clothing business as the leaves turn brown the collections also change over to something more seasonally appropriate. This season brings a bigger change for us than normal, and we’d like to let you know why.
Since opening our Lifestyle store two years ago this August we have evolved from a bespoke bridal and occasion wear design studio to a store that creates sustainable, hand made collections of clothes evocative of a simple lifestyle. This ‘lifestyle’ is something we have been honing for a long time, since its humble beginnings when our creative director Frances tentatively put a small collection of half a dozen garments in-store alongside our bridal wear. Inspired by a lifetimes love of fashion and the clothes she and the team craved to wear on a daily; drop-crotch trousers and easy-wear tops in low maintenance fabrics.
This then grew into seasonal collections that adapted with the weather and soon took over from bridal as our main passion. In October 2018 we moved away from making bridal entirely, finding we wanted to focus all our attention on our small production, design-led lines of lifestyle clothing. This has now become, in just over a year, more than 40+ styles incorporating various natural fabrics. Colours and styles were edited seasonally, for the S/S collections in April and the A/W in September. As we were finding our feet, understanding our customers and endeavouring to satisfy our creativity this meant the Chaos brand has been on quite a journey. Still passionate about muted, natural textures we were often distracted and diverted by exciting colours and ideas. Although we’d never say we didn’t like what we have done we think it’s healthy to look back, reflect and think ‘what would we do differently next time?’
Now next time is here, and we’ve been whiling away the summer days thinking of canvas, linen and lambswool, our muses from days gone by and the clothes they used to wear. Our two main passions at Chaos are making sustainable clothing and designing it from a place of fascination and inspiration. We love anything old and otherworldly and so research will play a huge part in each of our collections going forward. This will be implemented from this season partly due to myself (Agy), a part-time member of the team since its beginnings, becoming a full-time member following my completion of a fashion design degree this summer. I’ll work as a junior designer at Chaos helping to shape each season's identity within the brand. We believe that our customers want more than just clothes. They want clothes they know have been made as ethically and as sustainably as possible. They want clothes that support local businesses, the high street and small, British manufacturers. They also want clothes that mean something, inspired by something bigger and more important than them. This is what we’re hoping to focus on in the future. Quality over quantity; carefully considered, hand made garments that tell a story of who or what inspired them, and who goes on to own them.
Therefore we are changing our tune only very slightly. In the past, we have had every style of linen garment in every colour for that season. This makes production tricky, from the initial making to photographing and listing everything online, not to mention keeping the store fully stocked. It can also mean that quality is compromised. We would, therefore, like to do less really well rather than the other way round. We want each garment to have a firm place in the collection where it works with all the other pieces and is the best it can be. This means going forward we will have a core collection. A selection of steadfast styles and fabrics that continue throughout the year, regardless of season. Then, each season, there will be new additions of fabrics and styles to suit the time of year and reflect the inspiration. We hope this makes sense but if not all will become clear when October comes around.
Our online shop will close on September 13th for the changeover. We will also be moving the online shop onto our website, so everything will be in the same place. Alongside that, the website will relaunch on October 1st with a lot more to explore; showing more of our studio and the team behind the clothes, our design process and much more. The launch (in-store and online) is a little later than usual and this is because this particular change over is so significant and has needed more time to come to fruition. We promise you it’s worth the wait.
Another blog post will be posted this month discussing the inspirations behind this coming season, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Thank you if you’ve read through this whole ramble, and we can’t wait to ramble on here more in the future.
Agy @ Chaos
P.s Saying all that, sometimes it's just about a bloody good jumper- and we promise we have plenty of those this Autumn.