A new brand from the visionary team at STORY mfg., Gentlefullness explores design from a new approach, reclaiming fabrics and utilising processes inspired by vintage and old knowledge, reimagined for a brighter future. To celebrate the launch at Goodhood, we spoke to founders Saeed and Katy about their first collection, working with Dan Pacitti, new clothing made from pre-consumer waste, and more. Check it...
GOODHOOD: After the successes you’ve worked to achieve with STORY mfg., what was it that made you want to start Gentlefullness?
GENTLEFULLNESS: Story mfg has always had a really strict set of rules (focusing on natural dyes, celebrating craft and art) and while we still love that there are other ideas we want to explore that feel slightly outside STORY mfg.’s world.
GH: Where did the name come from?
GF: I keep a list of lovely words on my phone and when we need something new we look through it and Katy chooses one she likes. I was working as a teacher in a kindergarten for a while and another class was working on a project where they made posters that celebrated good qualities in friends. There were things like “Trustworthiness”, “Honesty”, and one that read “Gentlefullness”. It’s not a word, but it sounds kind of right and anyone reading it would understand the lovely sentiment. I remember loving that it flew under the radar and saved it to my phone. I think that was 10 years ago.
GH: Describe Gentlefullness in three words?
GF: Trying something new.
"IT'S NOT A WORD, BUT IT SOUNDS KIND OF RIGHT AND ANYONE READING IT WOULD UNDERSTAND THE LOVELY SENTIMENT"
GH: Can you talk us through the first collection?
GF: The first collection is a bit of a happy mishmash. We found this very old deadstock woven check fabric in a store in Brighton and Oshadi, our manufacturing partner, were able to completely reverse engineer it and reintroduce it into the wild for us. We met with Dan a few times and focused on a few shapes, mainly from vintage gear made by Patagonia, and filled out a small collection of bits with details we all love. The block prints are from the 1970s, originally designed by the mother of our current block printing partner. The tees are made from recycled material and are really special because they had to be engineered for us by Oshadi working with our friend Dan Carrol.
GH: We see that a lot of your products are made from recycled pre-consumer waste. Can you go into what this is?
GF: It’s waste created in the factories which is usually disposed of. For Story we turn our waste cotton into paper for example - here we are making it into tees.
GH: What was it like working with Dan Pacitti on the collection? Can you talk us through his involvement with the brand?
GF: Dan has been working with us for quite a while on different projects, from modelling to styling to working on partnerships. He’s so easy to work with and just lovely. I don’t know how to explain his input, for GF it feels like at the design stage we have a third chair at the table. A lot of the direction comes from him, his POV and his collection of vintage clothes.
"WE MET WITH DAN A FEW TIMES AND FOCUSED ON A FEW SHAPES, MAINLY FROM VINTAGE GEAR MADE BY PATAGONIA"
GH: The last time we interviewed you a couple of years ago, we asked you ‘what does the future hold for sustainable fashion?’ Has your answer regarding fashion being in the hands of young people still a viewpoint you hold strongly?
GF: I honestly feel more and more hesitant to discuss sustainability now because it’s very difficult to be entirely pure, but yes, I still feel like by choosing more conscious options and making it part of our value we are making a difference. 10 years ago there wasn’t a company we felt we could look up to who would be in a shop like Goodhood and fit in, so I hope we are showing that making more sustainable choices as a brand doesn’t make it less cool.
GH: You really practice what you preach when it comes to being a conscious company. What’s the biggest piece of advice you could give to other brands to be more eco-conscious?
GF: We try but we aren’t perfect. Maybe that would be my advice - do your best but work with what you have. Lots of people, especially the most caring and conscious, often get stuck worrying they’re not 100% “sustainable” when their efforts are far far better than those who don’t care.
GH: Best spots in Brighton?
GF: Our studio and shop (obv), the beach, all the great coffee shops.
"MAYBE THAT WOULD BE MY ADVICE - DO YOUR BEST BUT WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE"
GH: What are you reading right now?
GF: I haven’t read it yet but in my bag is “The world is on fire but we’re still buying shoes” by Alec Leach. Katy is reading “The Poppy War” by R. F. Kuang. I’m not sure what Dan is reading.
GH: Designers you’re into that we should know about?
GF: People ask me this a lot I think me and Katy are genuinely so out of the loop. I bought a piece of Jewellery from a maker called Octi Ransom the other day I really like.
GH: What advice would you have for kids trying to breakout in the industry?
GF: Feel like we are the wrong people to ask. No one would hire me, that’s why we started STORY mfg. in part and Katy went the classic route of doing a foundation, uni, working in high street and working her way up to being a trend forecaster. I think my genuine answer would be if you are wanting to work in the industry, give doing your own thing a go. Do it in your own time, don’t expect much and don’t spend much. You’ll learn so much and even if you end up working for someone else that experience will be so valuable. Could be anything, from an archive page on IG to a full brand.
GH: Anything in the pipeline you can share with us? What’s next for Gentlefullness?
GF: We’re just going to keep exploring new things. We’re currently trying to sun fade stuff to create unique patterns and prints. Let’s see!