Social media is great for connecting with like-minded individuals and I must spend hours of my life looking through the instafeeds of people who inspire me creatively and who take art, craft, blogging, painting, creating to WHOLE NEW levels. All 731 of them are not in my close-knit circle of friends – but everyday I meet and connect with what they are creating.
Using twitter to promote one of our previous interviewees’ Natalie Vice (check the interview out here), a few people had favourited the tweet and I thought I would be a bit cheeky and see WHO! That’s when I found Jen, I went over to her website and loved the soft aesthetic feel to it.
I must admit, I have never really been great at traditional sewing but used to hand sew dresses when I was younger (when I couldn’t find anything to wear for school dances or events). Sometimes I look back and have to giggle as 1) I had no shame and 2) I usually ended up having to cut myself out of the outfit at the end of the night. In saying that, Jen’s work inspires me to actually look at patterns and create something that is timeless, lasts, can be re-used and represents me! I hope this encourages you to get back to the basics of our great grandmothers! Enjoy!
1. How did ‘Afternoon’ get started?
Afternoon began as a personal project to sew more. I thought if I wrote about it and kept a blog, I would feel more accountable to my goal. I’ve always enjoyed sewing, and setting time aside for it really nurtured my spirit, as twee as that may sound! I realised that there must be others out there like me, looking for a community of like-minded sewing folk to turn to for inspiration and advice, especially in South Africa. Dressmaking is still just one of those things that people associate with their mums and grans, and in a lot of ways, the resources available for sewing remain outdated too. I wanted to change that. So Afternoon really got going in earnest as a way to inspire fellow stitches with cool patterns, making sewing more modern, accessible, and generally badass.
2. What inspires you most as an individual?
There are so very many things to be inspired by, from small personal experiences to grand incomprehensibility of the universe! One of my favourite things to do is go to the ballet. That confluence of music, art, theatre and fashion is very inspiring.
3. I love the ‘About’ section of your blog which talks about stepping outside the cycle of fast fashion – What are the pro’s and con’s (in your opinion) on high street fashion?
Thank you so much, it’s a topic I’m very interested in! I suppose at the end of the day, high street fashion is such fun! It’s fast, it’s flashy, it fades quickly, and never gets boring. I think the problem comes in when we indulge in that fast fashion cycle – buy, wear, chuck, repeat – without regard to the consequences. There are real hands behind the seams of cheap fashion, and by participating in that behaviour of over-consumption, we are not signalling to the industry that we will not stand for exploitation. That is of course not to say that all high-street fashion is exploitative or that we must all starting sewing ourselves, but I think a greater appreciation of a garment can be cultivated by making your own clothes.
4. So as well as being involved with sewing – is it true you are a graphic designer? Has this supported the start of ‘Afternoon’?
Yes, that is totally true! Being a graphic designer is actually my 9 to 5 job. So that supports Afternoon in a number of ways, both financially and aesthetically. I can transfer a lot of those web and design skills over to the brand, which is super helpful.
5. Do you like to keep busy on new projects and what are you working on at the moment?
Yes, I do. At the moment I am very excited to be working towards the Design Indaba Expo. I am part of the Emerging Creatives programme for 2015, and will be showcasing my work at the Expo from the 27 February to 1 March at Cape Town’s CTICC. If you’re around, please pop in and say hello!
6. What is your most prized material possession?
I have a lovely big white tablecloth, embroidered with little sprigs of flowers by my late gran. It’s just a sentimental piece that I love, and I never quite trust myself to have a dinner party on it!
7. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
At the moment, time! Sometimes there are just not enough minutes in the day.
8. What do you do in your spare time?
I like to read a good book, picnic with friends or go for a hike. I’m also trying to up my cooking game! I’m vegetarian, and my wonderful long-suffering flatmate gets dished up my rotation of the same-old dishes. I’m cooking through a lovely local book called Luscious Vegetarian at the moment.
9. What advice would you give to someone looking at taking their hobby to the next level?
My advice would be to just start. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do your thing. At the moment, I’m working on a “if you build it, they will come” mentality and it keeps me from doubting myself.
10. Where do you see Afternoon in the next 5 years?
In 5 years’ time I would love to have a small studio and sewing café, where others can come to sew, chat and collaborate.
11. Where can our readers find you online?
You can find me over on afternoon.co.za, that’s where I share my sewing tips and projects. If you’d like to see the sewing patterns on offer, follow the links on site, or go directly to shop.afternoon.co.za Otherwise, I’m also on Twitter(@afternoonZA), Instagram (@afternoon.co.za) and Facebook. I’d love to connect with you.