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Meet The Maker With Rosie

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Rosie Drake-Knight

As part of our Meet The Maker series we spoke with the lovely Rosie of Rosie Drake-Knight. Rosie was one of the first ladies we reached out to when looking at stockists for Soror Studios.

Rosie is the designer and maker of the beautiful leather bags and purses on Soror Studios. Based in Devon Rosie hand makes each unique piece from scratch, with all of its elements being sourced from the UK.

We caught up with Rosie, chatting about her start in life, to who inspires her and what it means to be part of the sustainable fashion movement.

Hi Rosie, thanks for chatting with us. Firstly what did you want to be as a child?

I wanted to be an artist! I’m not sure I knew what being an artist was, but I knew that I loved being creative and making things with my hands. My mum always told me to ‘do what you love’!

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When did you first start making things, and at what point did this turn in to your brand today?

I’ve been making since I was tiny. My mum bought me my first sewing machine at 6 and was making dresses and cushions and all kinds of accessories in no time. It was a Victorian hand turn singer, with the most beautiful intricate roses painted on the side. She bought it from an antiques shop in the village we lived in and it was £10. That machine taught me most of my technical dress making skills and my journey of textile discovery began!

My current work developed from my degree studies. I started my business in 2013 when I graduated from Falmouth in Textile Design. During my final year I experimented with decorative leatherwork, from screen print to applique. It was only when I started out in the real world that I realised I wanted to find a function for the decorative pieces I was creating so I started to construct bags and pouches and it has developed from there. I now focus on printed leather luggage, designed for function and longevity.

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Tell us a bit about how and why sustainable fashion is so important to you?

I’ve been brought up to work alongside nature, not against it. I was taught the value of make do and mend, and encouraged to learn how to fix things on my own, rather than leave this responsibility with someone else! I have found fast fashion a kind of sickening subject ever since the boom of stack-it-high sell-it-cheap high street stores. I understand that not everyone has the skills to make, but everyone has the ability to research and be informed in their decisions. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement and enthusiasm to understand the benefits of ethical fashion. Knowledge is power!

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Can you tell our readers about your ‘One Year Handmade’ project and what you learnt from that, and how it has influenced your brand?

In August I decided to do something. I wanted to find a way to show people that buying handmade, small scale and high quality was totally doable, fun, accessible and satisfying. Cue #oneyearhandmade. I thought about the things I consume and where there might be some room for improvement. Let’s be honest, us gals love to buy clothes. Fashion is fast moving and sadly tons of clothes are thrown away every month.

I’ve never been a big high street fashion fan, but once I thought about it, I realised how easy it was for me to pick up a tee from H&M on my lunchbreak, or get a new outfit for a night out without even thinking about it. This was my area for improvement! In recent years (I suppose since life has gotten a little more hectic) my dressmaking has slowed down. I thought about my ability to sew, and how I had been wasting the talent, and decided to commit to the big one – One whole year of handmade only clothes. The rules. If you NEED something to wear, consider whether you can make it. Make as much as possible! Buy only handmade from real people. I have learnt to adopt a need/want filter and I can honestly say my attitude towards shopping and making has shifted.

There is something incredibly satisfying about making your own clothes. I know who made them, I know where the fabric came from and its composition and I know the frustrations of a wrong move on the sewing machine. If #oneyearhandmade has taught me anything so far, it’s that we should all look at how we dress ourselves from the roots of the garment, before we consume non-essential items. I’m not saying we shouldn’t indulge, far from it! But let’s be more mindful about the things we choose to invest in.

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What has been the highlight so far for you in terms on your business?

My highlights have to be working with amazing independent businesses. Supplying work to indie’s is what it’s all about. I get to know amazing people doing amazing things!

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Finally are there any specific women who have inspired you on your journey with Rosie Drake-Knight?

Without a doubt my biggest inspiration is my mum. Sadly she passed away 3 years ago, just after I had started may business. It gave me a huge push and my work went from strength to strength in her name. She taught me all of my technical skills and I have her to thank for days spent making for a living.

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You can see more of Rosies beautiful pieces here or our Rosie Drake-Knight lookbook here.