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Meet Our Founders - Holly Carr

We sat down for a chat about Holly's experiences working in fashion and textiles and her role as a Director of our collective. Read on to find out more.

Along side her work with Thread Republic, Holly is the founder, designer, pattern drafter, cutter and seamstress for ‘pocket’ - a slow-living label providing a new lease of life to existing textiles.

How did you get into sewing, Holly?

I’ve been a maker of things for as long as I can remember. I started sewing as a teenager, customising all my second-hand clothing to make things more unique. The first garment I ever made was a strapless dress made from two vintage silk scarves sewn together with an elasticated bodice.

What came next?

I studied design, pattern cutting and garment construction at Ara University of Canterbury whilst living in New Zealand. During this time, I felt very conflicted about the industry I would be entering into. The reality of making clothes isn't always as glamorous as it seems. It can be incredibly wasteful, polluting and exploitative.

I watched an eye-opening documentary called ‘The True Cost’ half way through my studies. It brought me to a real fork in the road on my journey. I felt I could either turn away from fashion altogether … or keep going and try to improve the path I was treading as I went along. I choose the latter!

After moving back to the UK in June 2019, I decided to start my own label and work for myself. I found a studio at Bates Mill, designed and sampled what would become my signature clothing range and started taking on commissions and freelance sewing work.

What does the term ‘slow-fashion’ mean to you?

To me, good slow-fashion should encourage long-lasting connections with items which really speak to the wearer, and change with you over time. Clothing with stories that become increasingly enriched with each wear.

It means taking the time to make carefully considered choices and place value on quality over quantity. I think it's also really important to know the origin of our clothes, and acknowledge the person behind the purchase.

I'm passionate about making a positive impact through my work and feel strongly about moving towards a more sustainable future in which we can all experience better ethics, transparency and accountability.

What was your personal motivation behind starting up Thread Republic?

Working as a small business owner and freelancer can be lonely and you can often feel isolated. There are so many talented and interesting textile practitioners in Kirklees and I felt a strong urge to reach out, connect and offer mutual support. I strongly believe in the power of collective thinking and the importance of working in collaboration, as opposed to competition.

Each of the four of us have our own unique set of strengths and talents that we bring to the table. As a collective we have big dreams, goals and ambitions to be a force for good in our communities and within the textiles industry. But being a change-maker is no small feat! We're in a much better position to effect real change by working together in partnership, rather than as individuals.


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