Fashion label First Colours launches unconventionally fun collection
by Platform One·
Fashion label First Colours are full of surprises. Firstly, their soft satins and suedes are made from recycled water bottles. Secondly, their 2nd collection transforms traditional garments with colours such as bubble-gum pink and lavender. We chatted to co-founder and creative director Emily about how First Colours create these momentous and wearable moments.
Where else would we start but with colour? Em, tell us how block colouring makes you feel and how you like to play with colour through First Colours' collections.
Emily: The primary thing I focus on, and am inspired by, is the fabric. Starting with looking at them (the fabrics) and how they feel - that gives me a bit of a springboard to think about how they would feel quality-wise. And then the flow on from that is the colour.
We've tried making samples in black and white, and my brain can't even comprehend what the garment will look like unless it's in a colour. It really, to me, feels unfinished without the bright colours and that's just a part of my personal style and I grew up with a lot of colour around me - my mum always wore a lot of colour and we had really bright artworks in the house...
I think the reason why I'm drawn to colours is the way that I feel and the way I observe other people feel when they're wearing bright colours… I am personally more drawn to black when I'm wearing a garment but when I'm feeling good, whenever it's like a celebration or that kind of thing, is when I'm more drawn to colour.
I'm trying to create that moment for someone else when I'm designing.
That leads in nicely with your newest drop - from which I'm getting this sort of this party energy - a bit of a mood! What did you draw upon to dream up this collection? TW: discussion of mental health.
Emily: Maybe this is a little bit intense, but I was going through a really bad episode of mental health last year and I felt like I had this dichotomy of that I was feeling this certain way, but I also knew that I could get back to feeling good again. And so, the pieces were, when I designed them, very much a way to get me out of that.
The pieces are traditionally structured garments. Like, you've got a blazer that's quite structured: it comes in at the waist, it's got shoulder pads… it's that kind of silhouette. You've got a button-down shirt, which would traditionally be that corporate garment, but then I've paired that with the bubble-gum pink and like a suede and a satin and fun buttons… so, it was almost that representation of the structure of these garments was how I was feeling, and how I wanted to get back to was that fun vibe.
It created a bit of chaos and when I was working through it with my pattern maker. It took quite a few iterations because I think she was quite confused by it. She was like: you want to do a structured blazer with suede… that doesn't make sense … (laughs). But yeah, that's kind of where that came from and developed.
How do you work with this recycled element of recycled water bottles and what are the challenges? What's one thing you've learned about using recycled materials through this time?
Emily: What I think is interesting is that was the primary way that I started business - it's not like we moved to recycled - it was always recycled. And what I found is that it was a lot easier than everyone told me it was going to be.
I think it's definitely more expensive than using traditional fabrics, but I was just amazed that we could create a massive range of garments. Like obviously, it is primarily a polyester. But we've got the suede in this collection, we had chiffon and satin… and we're coming out with ribbing soon as well. There are so many things you can do with it, and it just felt like a kind of untapped thing. Obviously, there are limitations with the fabric... end of life and that kind of thing.
Some things were hard in terms of certain factories or production facilities can't work with it based on you the way the way the fabric needs to be cut - it's a bit more delicate - and they cost more to cut… but that would be regardless of if its recycled or not.
I think the other thing is people are always really surprised when they feel the fabric, knowing that's what it's made from. Because I think, obviously, there's a bit of a perception that because it's made from bottles, it's gonna feel plasticky and not feel like traditional fabrics. But because it gets melted down and then woven into the fabrics it really is so soft - if you didn't know, you wouldn't be aware of it.
From a sustainability perspective for us, reusing what worked in the past but reinventing it and turning it into something new and exciting is something that we really want to lean more into…
Fast facts (not fast fashion):
- The new winter collection features six new pieces designed in Sydney, Australia.
- Two pieces use 100% recycled polyester satin from their previous collection.
- For the garments using the recycled satin, there are no fastenings, so the pieces are made from 100% recycled materials.
- Labels, tags and packaging are all made from recycled materials.
Check out the ready-to-wear collection here: https://firstcolours.com.au/