Building a brand from the ground up with nothing but savings while working full-time taught us to look out for the fellow underdogs.
Those tiny companies, free from corporate clutches telling them to do what they’ve always done. The ones doing it their way.
Scrolling Instagram last year we came across Greater Goods, a London based design project dedicated to up-cycling outdoor wear into bags and accessories.
Recycling is massively important in our current climate, but if something doesn’t look great, culture just isn’t going to shift quick enough. Despite being run by one man at home, Greater Goods use of reclaimed materials is far from DIY. Founder Jaimus Tailor bought a sewing machine for a new year's resolution to start sewing in 2019, and has since built one of the most interesting brands in emerging fashion.
We spoke to Jaimus to find out how Greater Goods came about, and how he balances making functional, beautifully constructed pieces alongside running the business.
How did Greater Goods come about?
It all started when I graduated from uni a few years ago. My degree was in graphic design but I had always been interested in physical design, the making side of things. For my final project I produced a coffee table, yes I made a coffee table for my graphic design final piece. It made no sense but it just felt right, my tutors understood my thinking and luckily things went well. Greater Goods was a label I could put all my woodwork creations under, everything I was making was created out of discarded materials found in my area. Then in January 2019 I set myself the new years resolution to learn to sew, I bought a broken sewing machine off eBay, fixed it and got going with the youtube tutorials. I’ve always been about expanding my skillset, and sewing was one of the main ones on my list. 3 months later I made the first small collection of tote bags and to my surprise they sold out in just under 2 days.
You don't use any new materials which is an incredible feat.
Do you see Greater Goods only ever using up-cycled materials as you keep growing?
Using up-cycled materials is the DNA of Greater Goods, there will always be an up-cycling element involved, whether that’s reworking donated products or completely deconstructing clothing to make a totally new product.
The supply of deadstock or garments to up-cycle is surprisingly pretty easy, there’s so much secondhand damaged clothing out there. I often get messages of people selling or donating their old products and on top of that online sites such as eBay are endless. I also make sure I get the very max out of every garment I take apart. I’ve still got the lining from the very first jacket I took apart, waiting to be used in a project of some kind.
Do you do all the deconstruction and manufacturing of new products yourself?
I’ve worked on every product that’s been sold and I feel is links back to how and why Greater Goods started. It’s a place to share my creations and ideas. I can’t say it’s 100% myself as I get help from friends and family along the way whether it’s through donations, unpicking garments or new contacts but at the core it’s me at my sewing machine with my foot on the peddle.
From making your own product to photography and graphic design, do you do everything yourself in house, or do you work with anyone else?
I treat greater goods as a massive passion project. It’s all in house and I’ve taught myself everything I needed to learn to make it happen. I’m grateful that I was persuaded into studying graphic design at LCC as it taught me about the core design principles and that experimentation and learning is vital for growth as a designer. To this day I’m still learning and googling, the amount of knowledge and information that is accessible from the phone that sits in my pocket is insane. Makes me sounds like a granddad but I could wake up tomorrow and begin learning a new language, advanced algebra or how to repair the timing on a sewing machine.
What's the strangest garment you've worked into something new?
My friend recently donated a Futura Labortaries x Goretex Poncho, only 400 were made and they were only available at the Paris show from what I’ve read. It’s a really wild piece. I’m still working on the final outcome, taking my time because I really don’t want to mess it up! I’ve decided to something totally new with this piece so it requires some extra thought and attention.
Have there been any old pieces you've loved too much to cut up?
I’m not a materialistic person; I love design and fashion but I’m never really afraid to cut up old pieces. I can’t grow too attached to any clothes otherwise it would make my job very hard haha. Saying that a few friends that have donated some incredible pieces which have sometimes been tricky. I’ve also kept a few old jackets, which were purchased to be up-cycled, but I found that the fabric was just too thin to be used so they now exist in my wardrobe.
You've got a pretty impressive looking set up in your home studio. How are your lock down days?
The new setup came about because of the lockdown! I spent the first week of lockdown doing a ton of woodwork and re-organising. I made the biggest shelving unit I’ve ever made and fully rebuilt my studio space to fit the new sewing machine.
This whole period has been strange but productive, it’s forced me to sit down and just make. I’ve lost track of days and don’t drink enough water but I've been sewing a lot, emailing a lot and cutting up lots of old products.
We can't help but ask. What's your favourite jacket?
Damn that is a tough one. It’s hard for me to me to pin point one but I guess the first one that comes to mind is the The North Face Flight series Paclite Gore-tex jacket. It’s nothing fancy or high-end, I bought mine second-hand from eBay a few years back for around £30. It’s just so simple yet functions so well, it has massive torso zip pockets and is the perfect blend of technical and simple. I find the best jackets are the subtlest. I’m also a big fleece lover so I have to show love to Patagonia’s retro X fleece series.
What's next for Greater Goods?
Just working on new projects and collabs. I’m terrible at long terms goals, I almost take each month as it comes, and I work on multiple things at once so it’s often unpredictable. I’m just enjoying the process and seeing it resonate with people.
Speaking to Jaimus made me get the sewing machine our straight away. I wonder if it will have the same effect on you? Let us know.
To follow Greater Goods, you can find them on Instagram here, or on their website.