Dress kind with For All Studio
Since 2017, For All Studio, has dedicated themselves to help women to “dress kind.” Dressing kind is a term used to encourage women to become conscious of their styling decisions and to choose ethical clothing stores that support the environment and fair work.
Charlotte Kingi, the founder of the inclusive ethical clothing store, For All Studio, joined us on an exclusive interview about her brand and the current changes happening within the slow fashion movement in Brisbane.
The Creative Issue: Tell us about yourself!
Charlotte Kingi: Well, my name is Charlotte, I’m 26, happily married and lover of all things creative! I’m obsessed with people and fashion. I love any excuse to be outside in the sunshine (life goal is to live by the ocean one day) and I love sipping fancy gin while listening to my old records! Haha!I really dislike in-authenticity (yes I’m a millennial- can you tell?), selfishness, small minds and lack of kindness.
TCI: What inspired you to start For All Studio?
CK:Well, it started when I spent a part of my childhood living in South East Asia with my family. From a young age I was exposed to poverty, corruption and injustice (which I’m really grateful for my parents for teaching me and not shying away from). Fast forward a few years and I’m working in the fashion industry in a significant Brisbane based boutique while studying at University. Here I saw how a lot of major retailers source their products from pretty dodgy suppliers! Garments would be bought for nothing and then flogged for ten times the price! The logic is- if you buy a garment wholesale for nothing, who got paid to make it? How was it made? What was it made from?
From a young age, I wanted to help marginalised communities in different parts of the world. So when I saw how dark the backside of the fashion industry was, I knew I wanted to do my part to help!
TCI: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
CK:To be honest, I just designed something I would like to wear! I think it’s hard to come by something interesting but easy to wear. I wanted to create something comfortable (so sick of suffering for fashion!!!) and classics that would look fresh through the different seasons.
TCI: Did you study, or what qualifications did you gain, to allow you to start your own business?
CK: I find this a really interesting question! I actually have a Psychology degree but no formal training in business. I’m definitely no self-confessed business guru and I’m learning a lot ALL THE TIME. For me, I knew I just had to start somewhere to start to make a difference. I think we grew up being taught we need a piece of paper to be successful or qualified… but I think millennials have really challenged that idea!
My husband has a formal education in business so he’s a lot of the nuts and bolts of the business! I think it’s so important to get a good education and would love to upskill with formal training sometime in the near future. For the record- I don’t think people should feel like they’ve got it all together before pioneering a creative idea. We would miss out on so many cool things if that was the case!
TCI: What’s your opinion on slow fashion in Australia at the moment?
CK: I think it’s come so far in recent years! There are some really established Australian brands that are making large steps towards sustainability. But we really have a long way to go when it comes to ethical production (making factories safe and paying workers an appropriate wage). It’s a really massive thing for large businesses to change to ethical production because it means not making as much money (not producing as fast or as much and therefore not selling as much). But at the end of the day, I guess it comes down to what you value more- human rights or more money!
TCI: What are you working on currently for For All Studio?
CK: We’re currently working on a new collection! I’m always working on things but that’s the exciting thing in the pipeline. I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
TCI: Why is ethical and sustainable fashion important for today’s society?
CK: People are important. Not supporting slave labour is important. I think we’re all waking up a bit to the reality that there’s a big world out there and we’re all connected. We’re responsible for each other. We’re responsible for the environment. If we don’t question an industry we can’t change an industry. I know that sounds dramatic, and people sometimes say “that’s intense”… but it is intense haha! But we have the power to shop and dress in an empowering way… in a way that empowers marginalised communities.
TCI: How is For All Studio combating the fast fashion industry?
CK: We love getting young women to think critically! Asking questions like “who made my clothes” and “where did my clothes come from”?. Pretty much shining a light on the unseen side of the fashion industry and challenging young women to think about their wardrobe. I really wanted to create a platform for young women where they’re not going to feel judged, but empowered to dress ethically. Soooo many of my friends and family now come up to me boasting of their ethical exploits and saying they were inspired to change because of For All Studio!
I don’t think we’re single-handedly going to change the culture in the fashion industry or eradicate all the slave labour all over the world, but we are another avenue (alongside MANY other brands in the ethical/ sustainable community) for women to learn, understand and be empowered to change the course of human history.
TCI: Tell us about your favourite pieces!
CK: We currently have 8 pieces to our current collection, made up of pants, shirts and dresses. We have two pieces made of handwoven black silk, which are probably our most luxurious items! All our other pieces are made from linen and cotton blends as natural fibres are really important to us. They were all produced ethically by our manufacturer in Cambodia, Fair Sew. I really wanted to create something modern, as it’s hard to find ‘cool’ ethical pieces that aren’t hemp ponchos or hippy beachwear (nothing against those things).
TCI: Do you have any practical tips for anyone looking to move away from buying fast fashion and into slow fashion?
CK: Totally! I think the first thing to do is think about what pieces you already really, really love! Like if you could wear the same thing every day what would it be? Valuing the wardrobe you already have is very important as it challenges this voice inside of our head that yells ‘you’ll be happy if you own that!’ (which is not true, unfortunately). You don’t need to burn everything and start from scratch either haha! It’s definitely a process, so be kind to yourself. Secondly, research popular brand’s production. There are heaps of resources supplied by The Fashion Revolution, that rank brands on their ethical practices (or lack of). Lastly – you can always recycle! I know it can be hard price-wise sometimes and that’s the thing that discourages people from shopping ethically (which is also why we try really hard to keep our prices reasonable) but there is no shame in borrowing clothes from friends, shopping or learning how to mend your current clothes! Women are so smart, innovative and powerful so we can do it!
For All Studio has dedicated themselves to designing versatile, timeless clothing for the modern woman. Created from natural fibres, these clothes are practical and can be styled throughout each of the seasons. Their clothes are designed to last and are ‘generously’ sized to suit the change throughout body figures.
For All Studio is currently partnered with Fairsew, an ethical garment manufacturer in Cambodia. Fairsew aims to provide safe and healthy working environments for their employees alongside the opportunity to increase and learn new skills. Fairsew also strives to pay its workers above the minimum wage for garment workers, whilst minimising waste and avoiding using toxic materials. The company is also working with Fashion Revolution Cambodia.