MEET THE JEAN CONNOISSEUR : DENIMSMITH’S STEPHANIE LAM

We welcomed Steph recently to our retail Fitzroy store on Gertrude street,  we dropped in to say hi and have a chat, here’s what she had to say…

A couple of challenging years for us, what sparked joy for you this lock down?
Water propagating my plants and watching their little roots grow in little glass jars. Of course, this was a double-edged sword as it also sparked mild distress when it was time to pot them in soil and I couldn’t go out to buy potting mix.

What does ethical and sustainable fashion mean to you?
To me ethical and sustainable fashion is clothing that doesn’t hurt or exploit people. We can choose to invest in items where we know everyone involved is paid a living wage and works in safe conditions. If you can support the creators who are making conscious decisions to do good in the world, why wouldn’t you?

What are the major challenges of sustainable and ethical clothing in your opinion?
I think one of the greatest challenges for sustainable and ethical clothing is the mental hurdle we have to overcome. These days large companies churn out disposable clothing at cheap prices, which might only be worn once or never at all before ending up in landfill. We expect to have more and pay less to the detriment of the people making our clothes and to the environment.

It’s definitely a privilege to afford ethically made clothing but I think if we could shift our mindsets, to buy less and with more intention, we can make a big difference for people and for the planet. And I hope we can build a better relationship with the clothes we do choose to invest in; that will be cherished, repaired and worn for decades to come.

What are the key factors to consider when buying the perfect fitting jeans?
I would honestly say to just listen to your heart and be open to trying different styles. Trends will come and go, but how these jeans make you feel? That could last a lifetime.

Can you tell me about one of your favourite Denimsmith jeans? And why it is your favoured piece?
I absolutely love my Aubrey’s. They were one of my favourites jeans for years even before I came to work here. All my boxes are just checked. High waist? Wide leg? Locally and ethically made? Check check check. Gorgeous. Fantastic.

Why is fair and local production important to you?
Shopping fair supports real people, not faceless corporations, and when its local as well you are investing in, and holding up your own community.

Why was it important for you to work in a family business?
The care I have received working at Denimsmith is unlike any other work environment I have been in. In the short while I have been here I have already learnt so many new skills, some sewing included! I feel I am really being invested into as a person.

What is it you like about Gertrude St shopping strip?
To me every shop window on Gertrude St is an art installation. Look into anyone and you can find something beautiful and unique. I love that it’s a collection of small companies and skilled crafts people and I want everyone to thrive.

What are you looking forward to as Melbourne opens up again?
Too many things! Immediately on my list; I’m going to go to pottery class, watch Dune in IMAX and finally hike Wilsons Prom.

Steph wears our GENE shirt and BERGEN pant.  Photo @nickblairphoto  Fashion @leonie_rutherford

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