For a while now, we have been keeping an eye on an Instagram and twenty-two year old photographer Sarah Grace and her up-cycling clothing brand Purple Guava.
To be honest we absolutely love the name and her brilliant reels showcasing her amazing talent. We just felt why not give some shine to this brand and amazing fempreneur brought up in the town of Sunningdale.
While the graduate always knew she was a “creative” with a talent for ‘textiles’ it was the spectre of covid, isolation and time to think that ironically saw the birth (so to speak) of Purple Guava.
Taking old materials like jeans and turning them into handbags is like some David Blaine trickery. Indeed at a time where we do need to talk sustainability, Purple Guava is an independent project that we need to holla about.
We had a brief phoner with her a little while ago to talk about her and her brand. She had time, she was in Dorset waiting a full hour for a bus home!
Before getting discussing your your amazing brand-have you always wanted to be a creative?
I come from a highly creative family. My mum was a weaver for a lot of her life, and she has always brought me up doing textiles, making my own clothes, and encouraging me not to buy anything but finding ways to make my own clothes. It was really challenging at the time but really exciting because I learnt a lot of really complex skills at quite an early age.
With that foundation, I always knew I wanted to be an artist involved in the creative world. I come from a family of four siblings, and they are all creatives. I watched my siblings train in their chosen professions and become really skilled.
It did make it difficult because I knew I was creative, but it took a while for me to find my creative medium.
Then you found photography.
Well when I was doing my GCSE’s I was given a camera to help me with my fine art stuff. That was a pivotal point for me. I had that ‘eureka’ moment. It was in truth a dream. I finally found my medium and naturally I started organising my own shoots. I loved it and now the camera is my main creative medium.
Purple Guava how did you create such a great name?
Thanks. I liked the idea of something that did not make sense. Colours that do not work with different fruits or adjectives that do not work. I wanted something that felt like a brand, which felt like a fashion label and would look great on a label.
I made this list of ideas over period of time and in the end, I had two names that I liked blue grape or Purple Guava. I thought that Purple Guava rolled off the tongue the best.
But I wanted to be sure about the name. So I asked my loved ones and friends about the two names. Without question they all opted for Purple Guava.
How did Purple Guava become a business?
A business was not the main idea. My friends always knew I could sew so I was always patching up things for people. People giving me jeans to turn into a bag. It always felt very casual getting money here and there.
When lock down came I had so much time. I began sewing for myself and then posting it on my Instagram. It actually felt great to get back into it. I was designing just off the top of my head and people were responding really well to what I was doing. I realised in fact I can make a little bit of money from this.
So this idea is really new?
Purple Guava has been casually going on for about two years but its only very recently that I have been taking it seriously.
I had the opportunity in July to have a stall at a festival, Lotus Nova, organised by my amazing partner who is an event planner. It was a festival a mix of market stalls, exhibiting artists and musicians.
I had just graduated at the time so I had to pull together a mini collection in two weeks and I was so stressed, and I really did not think it would go down well.
But in fact, it was the wildest time of my life. My clothes were literally flying off the rails. I made about five hundred pounds in the space about four hours. Like okay, now this is real.
I realised if I could commit to a couple of weeks of creating and pull that off, I could maybe achieve anything with this idea. I created my first collection, got my website up and officially launched the brand in August. It feels amazing that it is physical now and I am just so happy to be making every day again!
What is happening next?
I have been amazed by the response I have had from just a few months of being public. I now have my designs stocked in two UK stores. A Dalston based anti-fast-fashion store, FFF (Fashion for Future) on Stoke Newington Road. It is a community based initiative hosting clothing swaps, affordable upcycling workshops for locals while giving a platform for young sustainable designers to sell their work (with a low commission). The second is a little boutique in Dorset called Barefoot & Bo, who are stocking my upcycled corset and handbag designs! Very exciting and affirming.
Also I am working on my Spring/Summer 2023 collection that will be released in March. It featured one off subversive streetwear and luxury accessories, all made from 100% second hand materials. Keep an eye on my Instagram and site to keep in the loop!
Anything you want to add?
It is important to help close the gap of accessibility between the ordinary person and the sustainable/small business world. Often people shop fast fashion as its all they can afford. When this low quality clothing inevitably does not last, it is thrown away and replaced with the same inferior quality and low cost option.
I am hoping to bring both the skills to create – and to afford – sustainable clothing, within reach of the everyday person. Helping people make the clothes they already own last a lifetime and remove the necessity for new textile production. That is the dream anyway!
In our collaboration with Purple Guava check link for 20% discount on all merchandise by typing in ITCHYSILK in the store.