For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Katy from Make Waves Studio, a sustainable indie brand repurposing textiles to make vintage-style accessories and homewares. Based in Folkestone, Katy is also part of a:dress (read about it here). We first met a few years ago doing a market in Canterbury and have been best market buddies ever since.
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
Hi, my name is Katy and I'm a textiles & teaching grad working as an artist, social media manager and running my indie sustainable brand Make Waves studio. Oh, and a bit of craftivism on the side.
How or why did you get started?
I got into textiles very early, doing cross-stitch or knitting (of a sort) in the evening services at church. I'd get in a tangle & have to pass it along the row to my aunties to fix.
What is your favourite thing about the materials that you work with?
I work in beautiful vintage fabric- 70s tablecloth and alike, as well as discarded fast-fashion or surplus studio fabric. I have struggled with the impact my profession makes on the environment - the textile industry causes a great deal of harm, so finding a way to do what I love and still share my designs with others, has been a primary objective for me.
I sell on Etsy at the moment, and in two super cool local shops Moo Like a Monkey in Folkestone, and Made in Ashford, as well as pop-up events with my girls @daughtersofindustry
Where can we find you on the internet/buy your work?
How/has working sustainably impacted your non-business life?
It makes it harder- sourcing recycled business cards, trying to be plastic free for example, but it also relieves alot of ecological guilt too - to draw that line in the sand. It can be a more expensive route to market too, but I- like my peers choose to measure cost in the impact we make to our children's world, and solve problems accordingly.
What are you most proud of?
I was featured in The Independent online this year for one of my vintage-style wall hangings encouraging folk during lock-down. I'm proud when stylish shoppers buy my stylish items. I'm proud when someone uses their hard-earned money to purchase one of my designs & rep it proudly.
What are your plans for the future?
Continued sustainable design - growing the patch brand for personalisation and repair. Exploring other ways to do what I love doing professionally, and maintaining work:life balance - that elusive challenge when you work for yourself!
Can you recommend any other makers or businesses that work in an ethical or sustainable way?
Soooo many. That's great actually isn't it?! I'd have to refer you to the whole host I follow on IG or you'll be here a while.
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop more ethically?
Don't be too hard on yourself. Change is change - small or big. If you make a start on an ethical approach to retail, then you'll get to the end of the year and be able to see how far you've come. Try not buying new at the weekends. Try a food shop with no pre-packed plastic. Try to drop an item into the Food Bank box each shop.
If you can't see who directly made what you're contemplating buying - could you shop elsewhere? (not always easy I know- I refer you to my opening statement here)
But don't resign yourself to the anonymity of the fashion industry, that grey area is where lives are affected.