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 Roma, founder of Periodical. Roma's own quest for comfortable clothes to wear whilst feeling the discomfort of being on her period led her to develop her own range of comfortable loungewear designed for effortless style, made from 100% natural materials. To keep her collections sustainable, the whole process, from hand screen printing and dying the fabric, to sewing the garments and putting in the tags, are all done through a family run tailor in Jaipur. Working towards a zero-waste model, they also use the off-cuts for smaller items such as scrunchies and masks.
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
Hey I'm Roma, I'm the founder and designer of Periodical. I create Period-wear - effortlessly stylish and comfortable clothing, designed to be worn whilst on your period.
[Photography by Alys Morrison, models left Chelsea Covington & right Natalie Hones]
How or why did you get started?
I started Periodical after completing my degree in Fashion Buying Management and after some experience working for larger fashion companies I felt very disconnected from the disregard for a sustainable approach, with the ever-growing pace of fashion and trends. Additionally, I have always suffered with very uncomfortable periods and I had started to associate the days before and during menstruation as a very negative time of the month for me. I also often felt very uncomfortable in my own skin during my period, which would lead to me wearing loose styles, often tracksuits and baggy t shirts, which didn't help me to feel much better. This sparked my idea of designing a range of loungewear that looked great but also felt great and could be worn at work, with friends or just in bed. I also began wishing that there was somewhere I could go to get things that could help me have a happier period, so I decided to create a one-stop-period shop connected to my Periodical period-wear, where I am continuously looking for brands who care about creating products that you would want to use whilst on your period.
[Photography by Alys Morrison, Model Karis Griffith]
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
Showing that periods are not a taboo subject or something that women should be embarrassed about talking about. I love telling people what I do, as often they are a bit awkward to begin with (especially men), but after having a conversation about my designs and concept 9 times out of 10 they are visibly less awkward than when they first heard me mention the word period. I think it is so important to have enough casual conversations about menstruation to break down the barriers of it being considered a subject to avoid.
What are your plans for the future?
For the near future, I am going to be doing a pop-up stall at the Bohemia Place market in Hackney Central at the weekends again, starting on the 25th of April. I also plan to take part in some longer pop-up spaces, so keep an eye on the instagram (@periodical_powers). Product-wise, the new collection will be dropping at the very beginning of Summer and I am in the initial stages of developing a range products to help with period pains and PMS - which is all very exciting!
[Photography by Alys Morrison, Model Chelsea Covington]
What is the most challenging thing about the work that you do?
Spending a lot of time on my own, I am often working on my laptop and designing from home, so I will spend long stretches of time without talking to someone in the day. I can't wait to be able to work from inside cafes again, with lockdown lifting - I love being around people and those little social interactions you can get being out and about.
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop or live more ethically?
There are some great small business markets, online and physical, which often have a strong stance on sustainable production. I recommend looking up some of these markets, as you'll find a huge range of beautiful products and small businesses to support.
[Photography by Alys Morrison, model Karis Griffith]
What’s your favourite thing to do with your free time and why?
I love being out doors and to travel as much as possible - I find a lot of inspiration in nature and find that a walk can help to reset your mind in all sorts of situations. Being in the sun is definitely my happy place!
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don't worry so much about other people's ideas of you - the majority of those on my university course went on to work in Fashion Buying and I felt like a bit of an outsider as I did as much of my work experience as I could in smaller companies. But I learnt so much and found this was the right path for me, so I would have advised to trust myself without the worry of what others thought as I knew what was right for me in the end.
[Photography by Alys Morrison, models Chelsea Covington & Natalie Hones]
What would be the top thing that you would change about the way we treat the planet if you could?
Reduce the consumption of animal products, I really recommend being as vegan as you can be - it makes for a happier time for the animals, the planet and yourself (in my opinion)!
Where can we find you on the internet, buy your work, or join in?
[Roma Collin, founder]