Clothes for the Future
Reverse H&M; that’s one of the ways fashion designer Jason Hewitt describes his eponymous label, writes Fabia Pryor.
“Part of the reason for doing limited editions is that we can limit orders. It’s reverse H&M – you don’t see 50 of the same people wearing the same thing.Apart from the fabric, it’s all made and sourced here.”
The Jason Hewitt business model is pioneering.And practical.For a small, designer-led label which refuses external stockists, this model is business efficiency at its best.A continuously evolving product range is released on a monthly basis.Every item is made to order and is part of a numbered, limited edition, ensuring as little over-saturation as possible.
The environmental and cost-saving benefits of this model are immediately evident. This means no unnecessary spending on products that go unsold or are marked down for sale.This means waste reduction.This means time-saving.
When we go to Jason’s studio for this story we find him surrounded by toiles.He is in the midst of preparing for the launch of his NSFW - Not Suitable For Work collection.
Described as an abstract insight into the private world of our collective browsing histories, NSFW is provocative.Think camo prints formed from a collage of gay porn (although you have to be told to actually make this out) and slogans taken from Grindr texts.The collection overview reads; It’s the glow of the laptop screen on your face at night, the closed doors, and the quiet understanding that everyone else does it.
This is not your stereotypical sustainable label. While sustainability and ethical considerations underpin the business, Jason is quick to point out that these are not things he wants to make a song and dance about; “Sustainability should underpin as a standard, not be your selling point”.He points to luxury European fashion houses Bruno Pieters’ Honest By and Maiyet, as successful examples of this. “Anyone doing things ethically or environmentally responsibly without making it look that way are to be appla uded.Pieters’ work is beautiful.It just also happens to be sustainably produced.Maiyet is the same; a luxury fashion brand supporting small-scale craft.”
Jason’s own label follows no seasons, instead adhering to the motto: We make clothes that are for the future, not just for the present.
The designer talks of offering customers the opportunity to purchase real clothing, designed and made with care for them and which is the result of “an actual creative process”.This focus on real creativity draws a clear line between brands with artistic underpinnings compared to those producing cookie cutter fast fashion.
Jason’s label aims to have the smallest possible impact on the planet, whether by sourcing as much as possible from local producers, producing every item in-house, or ensuring that the production process generates as little wastage as possible. Deep thought is put into the fabrication of each piece. Wool, silk and recycled leather are the only animal-derived materials you’ll find in a Jason Hewitt garment and all dyeing, screen-printing, and hand painting is done in house or by local artists.
Metropolitan orders are delivered by bike and the label is set to establish a repair service where garments can be brought back for mending to increase their lifespan.From his high-ceilinged Collingwood warehouse studio, Jason has strong visions for our local fashion industry. The future he paints is one where a company’s success is judged by its creative output rather than financial indicators. This philosophy is embedded in the Jason Hewitt label which has been established to be self-supporting but was never intended to make millions. Jason says, ”All I want is to make enough money to fund my creative practice. I don’t want to create a legacy. I have my own business so that I can work just enough to enjoy life. I spend less, to work less, to enjoy life more.”
In Jason’s eyes the future of our industry is one where slow fashion has surpassed fast and there’s been a return to cottage industry instead of mass production.To reach this point, the far-sighted designer cites consumer education as pivotal.“People need to stop seeing clothing as disposable,” he says.”They need to recognise the value and skill that goes into making clothes.This needs to be seen as a craft.Be it a pair or socks, a t-shirt or a gown from Givenchy, each of these items should be seen as valuable and worth keeping.”
See the Jason Hewitt collection at www.jasonhewitt.com.au
Photography by Troy Campbell at Myth Soup,
Simon Koloadin plus lookbook shots thanks to Jason Hewitt