Meet Maggie and Tiarni, the sisters and heart behind, The Jefferson Wardrobe.
Together, their passion for sustainable and ethical fashion join forces to bring you slow fashion, without the hassle of doing it yourself.
Based in Brisbane, Australia, the sisters make their creativity for re-purposing clothing available to anyone.
Today, we sit down with the pioneers of, The Jefferson Wardrobe, and get to know them a little better.
Q: When was, The Jefferson Wardrobe established, and why?
The idea for our business came to us when I (co-owner Maggie) relocated to an area of the Gold Coast (Qld, Australia) that had many second hand opportunity shops. We had both always been a fan of thrift shopping, as most of our clothing growing up had been second hand.
With my increasing knowledge of the damaging impacts of the fast fashion industry, I began to source nearly all of my new purchases, not just clothing, from these opportunity shops in an attempt to make my purchases more sustainable and ethical.
Unfortunately transitioning to this kind of lifestyle can be costly, as most sustainable clothing pieces come at a high price. This price is definitely justified, as it is being produced locally without the underpayment of foreign workers, without poorly constructed environmentally damaging materials and at a slow rate.
So my sister and I were looking for a way to make this lifestyle more achievable for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
We are constantly receiving compliments for our second hand finds, however rummaging through disorganized thrift shops can be time-consuming and isn’t always an option for people.
We wanted to make these quality finds more easily available to people, so we came up with The Jefferson Wardrobe. We decided to name our business this when I was living on a street called Jefferson Lane and a large amount of our first pieces came from my wardrobe.
Q: How is it working together?
Working well together is something that comes naturally to both of us, we are both very passionate about fashion, with Tiarni (co-owner) having completed extra studies in fashion.
With any family business you have the unique advantage of already knowing your coworker’s strengths and abilities, as well as how to deal with any conflict resolution. We both have the same goals in mind and have very open discussions on how we wish to do things, so it is very easy to get along with each other.
Q: Australia seems to have a good position in slow fashion, is this true?
I think as more knowledge becomes available to consumers, with documentaries like the War on Waste and the True Cost, more people want to make informed purchasing decisions and transition to a more sustainable lifestyle.
I believe that Australia is definitely starting to grow towards having a strong slow fashion industry, there are so many ethical independent local designers and many projects focusing on showcasing them.
This industry is only going to grow with consumers becoming more educated and putting pressure on big brands to change their ways.
Q: Do you want to give us a little inside on how the clothes get re-purposed?
Most of the pieces we source are in good condition, so giving them a second home is enough re-purposing in itself.
For clothes that have needed mending, we are both able to sew and repair the damage.
Once The Jefferson Wardrobe has become more established we are hoping to start different projects to use the pieces of clothing that aren’t able to be sold, to create something completely new. As well as having a blog teaching people how they can re-purpose their worn out clothes.
Q: Do you hold your manufactures or distributors to any specific standards, like fair labor or transport?
When it comes to personal purchases we both hold the brands we purchase from to high standards, this includes fair labor practices, environmental impacts (including production practices, materials used and the lasting effects of the final piece) and their social impact (we are both feminists and huge supporters of brands that showcase real people and don’t push unrealistic beauty standards).
When it comes to clothing we source from thrift shops we do our best to choose pieces that are made from natural materials and are long-lasting.
We eventually want to reach a point of only including brands that we believe in, however our main goal is to reduce the waste of these pieces and stopping them from ending up in landfill.
This means some of our products do not come from reputable companies. We do our best to be transparent about all items by including information about the label, the material and the location where it was produced.
Q: Can people donate their old clothing?
We are always delighted to receive donations, it means giving these items a second chance before they end up in landfill. Many of our current pieces are donations from friends and family!
Q: What do you think is the future for slow fashion?
I think that fast fashion is only going to be stopped by pressure from consumers.
I think sometimes people forget that consumers have great power within the market.
If we can educate people about the effects of their purchases and over consumption then hopefully we can strengthen the slow fashion industry.
Q: Are there any specific statistics or trends to say that fast fashion is on its way out?
I haven’t found any specific statistics to say this, however I think consumers are becoming increasingly educated when it comes to fashion and are demanding more transparency from their favourite brands. In an age where consumers can easily share information through media channels like Instagram, Netflix, YouTube and Facebook, it is a lot harder for companies to hide their poor practices.
I think it is important for public icons to support the slow fashion industry and lead their followers to think more critically about their fashion purchases.
There was a recent trend on Instagram with the hashtag #whomademyclothes.
This was started as part of Fashion Revolution Week, held between the 23rd-29th of April, the 5th Anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more. There have been over 350,000+ posts shared with this hashtag, including post from celebrities like Emma Watson, Stella McCartney, Olivia Wilde and Gwyneth Paltrow.
This trend has definitely helped to put the pressure on companies within the fashion industry. (For more info: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/)
Q: Who is you two look up to regarding slow fashion?
Neither of us have one specific person that we look up to, but we both follow a few different people/companies that promote ethical and sustainable lifestyles.
As well as many independent labels!
Q: What do you do when you aren’t working?
I (Maggie) am living in Mexico and volunteering full time at a children’s refuge called Misión México, in my free time I like to go to the beach, read, hike the local volcanoes and check out the local markets.
My sister (Tiarni) works full time as a high school teacher, when she isn’t working she spends time with her husband and her puppy, she is often sewing and making her own clothing (she is super talented), she likes to hangout at the beach and to travel a lot!
The Jefferson Wardrobe
Thank you, Maggie and Tiarni for sitting down with us and giving the inside scoop behind your business and intentions.
Visit The Jefferson Wardrobe at, https://thejeffersonwardrobe.com to see the latest re-purposed styles for your closet!
Until next time….