Hi internet ❤
Ruby here, the founder of girl of the earth. We do things a bit differently than other brands, so thought I'd offer a little explanation of the process manufacturing our boutique line (vintage fabric womenswear):
First, we find vintage fabrics in really unconventional places. It has taken us years (even decades!) to cultivate relationships with suppliers, antique dealers, and eccentric grandmas, who offer us gorgeous old fabric remnants. Our supply chain is super unconventional and requires my expertise (I grew up in downtown Manhattan with nutty antique-dealer parents— I was GROOMED for this), and a lot of luck.
The rule is that something becomes technically 'vintage' at 20 years old (that means I'm definitely vintage— a bit depressing, right?), so I buy textiles dating pre-1999, but more often my taste and requirements result in fabrics circa the 1930s, 70s, and 80s.
I have a ton of requirements when sourcing, for example the asking price per metre (it has to be reasonable to maintain our retail prices), "hand" (the feel of the textile), fibre composition (I avoid polyester, even if it's cute), condition (do we need to avoid a spot or tear?), and history (it's nice to trace its story back to the original owner).
Sometimes we'll buy an entire roll, sometimes just one remaining meter. Technically our stuff is made of fabric remnants, which means every boutique piece is what I call 'few-of-a-kind™.' If you buy a top from us, on average you're one of only FOUR owners of that identical top! It sucks to wear the same thing as everyone else, so I adore this.
A NOTE ON 'DEADSTOCK':
Have you heard about 'deadstock'? Fun fact about me: I wrote my uni dissertation on deadstock clothing at London College of Fashion.
Deadstock refers to over-ordered fabric that wasn't used or didn't sell, that supposedly would end up in a landfill or burned, if not "rescued" by "eco-friendly" brands. These days, sustainability in fashion is becoming really hip. Don't get me wrong— that is a great thing! But it arrives alongside a lot of greenwashing, aka misleading or exaggerated information in attempt to market "eco-friendly" products (that sometimes aren’t eco-friendly at all).
So why do I think deadstock is greenwashing? Deadstock fabric is actually quite a typical part of the traditional fabric production process. As much as brands would like you to believe it's a new thing, it's truly ancient. Mills or brands manufacture fabric and then sell their excess to fabric stores. Where else do you think your grandma is getting her fabric for sewing club? Deadstock is unfortunately just a long-established point-of-sale in the traditional textile supply-chain. It's DEFINITELY better than manufacturing fabric from scratch, but, on the other hand, supporting/purchasing deadstock fabric just encourages mills to over-produce MORE excess fabric (which even is frequently cheaper for them than shutting off expensive machines after an order is filled). The point is, deadstock is only as 'sustainable' as an outlet store. Yuck.
We do not like to call our fabrics deadstock. Our pieces offer a second life to already existing, truly vintage fabric, meaning upcycled vintage materials with zero-impact on the environment. Not to be dramatic, but this is the #1 most eco-friendly way to shop.
You’re not shopping— you’re recycling™ <3
THIS OLD THING?
I design every boutique style based on what I wish I were wearing right now. To me, this is the easiest part of the whole process because I know exactly what I want. In a word, I would describe the style as effortless. My goal is never to look like I tried too hard while getting dressed, like this backless silk halter top and tweed mini skirt just fell onto me. Also, I'm not naive enough to think you will wear head-to-toe girl of the earth, so I often design, style, and photograph with that in mind, pairing a backless girl of the earth cami with vintage jeans, or oversized girl of the earth shorts with another brand's basic tee.
After designing (usually on an airplane or in bed at 2am), I make a preliminary pattern and sample, then make a few edits, and then choose which fabrics to cut the style in. Often we'll make a style in as many as 10 different fabrics/colourways, because on average we can only make 4 alike units from the fabric remnant.
CUTTING & SEWING
Finally, we have our amazing seamstresses cut, sew, press, iron, and deliver the final girl of the earth boutique garments. We've previously worked with seamstresses in Lisbon, Madrid, and NYC. Currently, our favourite seamstress, Cici in Queens, NY, is in charge of all manufacturing. She's an ex-couture seamstress who has recently gone out on her own, and we're so excited to be working with her! We're also excited to be able to say 'made locally in N Y C' ❤