It’s no secret that rust is one of my favorite colors for garments. Vibrant, bold, but still earthy and organic. As a self-professed “colorful minimalist,” this shade makes even the most simple silhouettes feel alive and creative!
When Molly from Once and For All Clothing reached out to collaborate, I was ecstatic! I tried out two garments in this hue and settled on reviewing the Lark Blouse in Orange. I mean, can you blame me? Look at those sleeves! I love the sophisticated bohemian feel of this piece.
Beyond the stunning color and silhouette of the blouse, I was most impressed with the quality of the fabric. Molly chose two layers of chiffon on the front body for full coverage and flowing chiffon bell sleeves. The quality is quickly evident from the moment the textiles touch your fingers.
To be honest, I’d never heard of Once and For All Clothing before Molly reached out for a collaboration. Designed and made in the USA? That’s rad! Ethically sourced textiles? Still cool! Though her website is extremely thorough, I desired more insight into the story behind this brand. Luckily, Molly was eager to thoroughly answer all of my detailed questions.
When did your love of designing begin? What is the story behind Once and For All Clothing?
Well, I have been in business now with Once And For All for a little over three years. Before starting the line I was working as a wardrobe stylist and was an avid vintage clothing collector. I was shooting editorial shoots all the time and I would come up with these elaborate storylines that I wanted to tell. I needed specific things to tell these stories so I would hand make garments to fit. It was much more like costume design when I first started, it wasn’t the most wearable stuff I was designing at the time, but it was an instant flame for me. The business side of my brain really kicked about a year into it, that I needed to create garments that were more functional, more relatable, and more wearable, but that still told a story each season. It was then that design took on new meaning to me. By approaching creativity from a commercial perspective you are creating art that has to function. It’s not just creating, it’s creating for a purpose.
Why ethical fashion? Can you explain more about your ethical production standards, fair wages for your garment workers, and why you chose to manufacture your beautiful garments in the USA?
I think that it was important to me from before my business was a full fledged business. When I started, I was hand making garments. I was very considerate about the amount of my time in labor it took to make something. I was also very involved with a Human Trafficking awareness group for a few years and labor trafficking issues were very prevalent in my training. I felt strongly that until I was big enough and able to keep a close watchful eye on manufacturing overseas, domestic was the only option for a small business owner to be appropriately apprised of labor and quality control. I have close working relationships with all three of my manufacturing facilities. I think of myself as an investor in their business, as well as my own, so I value those relationships greatly.
Nowadays, people are not only interested in fair labor practices, but also in the sustainability and ethics behind the materials used in the creation of their garments. Can you share more about the sourcing and quality of your materials?
I source my fabrics through a US based company whose mills are in Japan. They are very reputable and their quality is impeccable. I have to spend a bit more on fabrics to get that level of quality, but I think that it’s incredibly important because you can’t have one piece quality and not the other. If I source cheap fabrics and have high quality manufacturing it would ruin my garments and vice versa. To be both high quality and ethical, it absolutely has to be both or neither.
When it comes to picking out an outfit, I’m a lover of color with clean styling. In particular, I love your use of deep orange. Can we expect to see pops of color in future OAFA collections?
Yes! Actually it’s funny you mention it, because this season was the first season I really started using color and that orange was so incredibly necessary to my collection’s vision that I had to wait for it on back order for some months before I could even sample it. I was just showing swatches and telling my pre sale customers, “Trust me, you will love this color!” I used to be almost averse to color, I was always designing and dressing in very minimal tonal expressions of color. I must be evolving with color, though, because for my next season (SS18) I actually used a lot of color. I am super picky about it though, I obsessively looked at hundreds of swatches until I found the right color and tone. I ended up leaning into very soft earthy colors like burnt sienna, papaya, dusty rose and sage. I think that color is very emotive and I think as I have evolved as a designer I am feeling more comfortable expressing my own point of view through color. It’s like a whole new world to me right now.
Note: Thank you to Once and For All Clothing for gifting me the Lark Blouse for review. For the sake of transparency, I was not compensated for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!