We delve deeper into the creative spheres of the west and get to know some of the neatest fashion labels popping up this side of the bridge.
Hey Casey, welcome to FW zine! Tell us about your brand and what it means to ‘Hang On To The Dream’?
Firstly thank you for including me in the second edition of Forever West it’s really an honour to be apart of something community based and amongst such inspiring artists.
Well, Vander Store kind of started during lockdown last year, I’ve always been super into textiles design and pursued it all throughout school and a little after completing school, I kind of lost motivation until last year and really decided to go for it. Funnily enough I chose ‘Vander Store’ because just ‘Vander’ was taken but I’ve fallen in love with the name and think it has a catchy ring to it.
The phrase “Hang on to the dream” came from a trip to Brisbane with my partner, we visited a local art museum and just at the end of our visit we saw a DIY kids crafts station where anyone could make felt affirmation signs. I was in awe at what some of the phrases these kids had used, and there it was, “hang on to the dream” I thought about it for weeks after and it just kind of inspired me and stuck with me even now, 2 years later. It really did help push me to start pursuing all my creative projects.
What inspired you to start Vander Store?
Nothing in particular really inspired me to start Vander Store besides just having a love for fashion and textiles and just wanting to be really creative with my pieces. Something that did inspire the first drop we did was film photography and travelling, I travelled through Europe the year before last and found so many quotes that inspired me to create the ‘Metamorphosis Tee’ and ‘Lost Time Crew’.
The phrase “I miss my time with you” came from a similar quote I saw in one of London’s stations travelling from Paris stating “I want my time with you” in-captured in a neon sign created by Tracey Emins. The lost time crew was inspired by this saying and the feeling of missing people near and far and the memories I’ve made along the way!
It looks like a lot of content creation goes into running a clothing brand, do you do a lot of this work in the west, and what are some of your favourite locations?
The thing I love about owning a clothing label is that I can be as creative in all aspects including other art forms I love, like film photography! For our second drop of the shorts a bunch of my friends and I went to Werribee Mansions Rose Gardens to take some photos. Most of the photos you see displayed on our social media were taken on my Olympus mju ii and Olympus infinity stylus with some help from my partner. The shoots are my favourite part because I already love spending time with my friends and it’s just a fun day out with a free grazing plate for them and a good photo opportunity for Instagram haha. But yes all the shoots we have done so far have been local, in the future it’ll be super cool to collab with other local artists in West and find some hidden gems in our area that we don’t know about.
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own clothing brand?
I’d say to definitely plan everything out first and do your research, I definitely jumped head first into it without realising how many factors actually go into the business aspect of the brand and manufacturing. How many little niche costs there are to set up for just your name alone. This is something I wish I was taught but I’m so grateful to have gotten some great advice from my friends with their own clothing labels. BUT once you have all the technical stuff down go as wild as possible and really believe in your designs because confidence really shows in your photos/designs and just rock whatever the outcome is whether it’s good or bad and be proud for trying your best!! You’ll feel really empowered by your first stranger purchasing a piece YOU designed and honestly all the love and support from friends and family really can be beautifully overwhelming.
When can we expect the next collection and can you give us any hints about what might be dropping?
Next collection in the next few months! I’ve loved taking a small break after drop 2 to really recharge all my energy and creativity and I’m finally wanting to focus it back into my pieces, I’ve been casually talking with another local designer with amazing designs, so maybe a future collab is in store!! I’ve really been wanting to customise some cool thrift pieces or design one off pieces, so that could be something you might expect this year too.