MEET YOUR MAKER
To work with denim is not like working with just any other fabric. It requires specialisation, expertise. “It’s one of those things that when I tell people what I do they ask, ‘how much can you do with a pair of jeans? Isn’t it always the same?’” tells Nobody Denim Senior Women’s Designer Lauren Samuel. “But no, it’s not always the same."
There’s so much variety in fabrication, in fit. You have to dream up new ways to keep it the perfect five-pocket, to make something that’s really traditional and heritage and can have quite masculine connotations become feminine and beautiful and modern. So people in the denim industry need a lot of creativity, to keep it interesting.” For Samuel, that’s never been a problem. “Even as young as grade four or five I remember sitting in the playground sketching dresses and clothes,” she tells. “It was something that I always had an interest in and my mum was a really great sewer so I learned to sew from her. Even going back further, my grandfather was in the fashion industry ... My parents definitely tried to suggest other careers but I was pretty determined.”
Since Samuel got her start in the denim industry about 13 years ago now, there’s been no question that she would follow this direction. “Everything was kind of fun and young and that really started my love for the denim world,” she tells. From that first job in Australia, Samuel moved to London where she worked in the denim department at Victoria Beckham. “And even though that job was being thrown in the deep end, it taught me so much.” By the time life returned Samuel to Melbourne, Nobody Denim felt like the perfect fit. “It’s pretty amazing to be able to tell people we make jeans here and it’s all coming out of this little factory in Thornbury, that we’re keeping manufacture in Australia and they’re employed ethically ... Especially in the Australian industry where most of what people do is offshore and fast fashion.
In 2017, Nobody Denim created its Repurpose Program, an initiative Samuel helped make a reality. “It’s speaking to this idea of slow fashion,” she explains. “The Repurpose collection was taking those garments or the fabrics that have been sitting on the shelf unused and making something out of them. So it’s about educating ourselves as designers but also the public and making the customer think differently about their clothes.”
In Samuel’s eyes, “sustainability practices are something that really have to come from the design stage. “I think that designers and manufacturers really have the responsibility of making that an easy choice for the consumer. So I guess that’s the challenge of making things ethical and sustainable but also beautiful and something you want to keep forever.”
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High-rise, fitted at the top ... long, straight and worn in. Something that’s already moulded to my body.
Indigo or black?
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Dreamer or realist?
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Ways to make it work: a solution.
My imagination is ...
Probably my best and worst friend.
I want to create ...
Pieces that you want to keep forever.
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