"I like to explore are mourning and decay, there's a real beauty in things that tend to unsettle the viewer..."
We recently came across the beautifully dark and ecxentric creations of Gloomth, a young label from Canada that makes hand-crafted clothes. We immediately loved their unique blend of fashion inspired by mourning apparel and the romantic style of the early goth days. Gloomth, a name that sounds both familiar yet intriguing, so we just had to find out more. So we sat down with Gloomth mastermind and designer Taeden to pick her brain about creativity, inspiration and making unique fashion.
"As Gloomth has evolved I've found we don't really fit in any one place, or subculture", explains Taeden, "so we began forging this idea of our world, our own strange little universe. Most of our work is to share this world and to connect with other misfits who our themes and concepts resonate with. I personally work in a lot of mediums so it was natural to bring in illustration as a way to spread our vision, the films developed as another way to use our photoshoots and give people a more "life-like" view of our designs.
Obviously there is tremendous creative force behind Gloomth. So what inspires this creativity? "I pull inspiration from so many sources, it's really difficult to pin down what has influenced whichever project. Some of the main themes I like to explore are mourning and decay, there's a real beauty in things that tend to unsettle the viewer, in what we avoid out of fear of the unknown or simply misunderstand- what we perceive as the negative experiences in life can sometimes give way to profound growth and truly moving artwork."
Do you channel your creativity exclusively in fashion, or do you have other creative outlets? How does Taeden transform raw ideas into Gloomth products? "The clothing designs usually spawn from rough sketches in my pocket notebook, I'm always jotting things down or mapping out rough ideas everywhere- on the subway, at parties, in bed etc. Some of these vague ideas go on to become actual pieces we will make and sell. I studied illustration in university, so my background is as a formal artist- I have always incorporated my weird silly drawings into Gloomth. Using them on t-shirt designs and as graphics on our website itself. We recently began offering greeting cards and adult coloring books which feature my drawings as well!"
"little refreshing burst in a sea of sameness"
So Gloomth is making apparel and accessories with unique artwork and materials, inspired by historical mourning clothing mixed with romantic details. These pieces are hand-made and available in limited quantities only. So what are the challenges for a designer when working with strictly limited series?
"We chose to produce our designs as limited editions to keep them special", explains Taeden. What appeals to me about alternative styles is that there are so many ways to express yourself that are unique from what we encounter every day, I want to keep our pieces rare and original. I get so excited when I see someone dressed beautifully and creatively when out, they're this little refreshing burst in a sea of sameness and I hope our customers will be those bursts! There are definitely challenges to working this way. Sometimes you love a piece in a fabric you can't source again, it can be disappointing."
Rare and original, that's qualities we value at The Black Angel too. As one of the oldest online shops around, we have always taken pride to only stock brands or designers that create original clothing. So we're happy to see young and fresh brands picking up those values and creating fashion the same way the original innovators of the scene did: by being true to themselves and valuing quality over quantity. Speaking of quantities, having highly limited, what are the pros and cons for Gloomth?
"I'm sure it would be far cheaper for us to have 1000 of something made overseas somewhere, but I don't think I could ever go that route. It's important to me that our products are made ethically and locally (to us in Ontario, Canada). Fast fashion (mass produced, cheaply made clothing) has enormous environmental and social impacts. Making our pieces the way we do does cost us more and takes time, but our pieces are beautiful quality and everyone who works on them is passionate about what we do."
"I'm not going to design or create things I don't like."
With all this passion put into the design, you've got to have personal favorites? "Oh this is such a hard question! I'm terribly selfish, I'm not going to design or create things I don't like. Our "Memento Mori" collection is one of my all time favorites for sure, I created it after a friend of mine and a family member had both died the same year, it was a way to process my sorrow and to create art out of something so negative. The resulting photoshoot and film are two of our most beautiful I think as well."
We couldn't help but notice on the website that there is mention of two feline "helpers" at Gloomth HQ. It is a well known fact that all goths are witches and thus cats are our prefered pets and companions when bats and spiders are not available. And we all are confronted with the same problem: how to get rid of cat hair when our fluffy little friends decide once more that our clothing is the purrrfect bedding? Does Gloomth have a magic solution for us?
"Yes, I have two kitties who live with me!", beams Taeden. "Atticus and Goblin. "Eye of newt, tongue of dog, a bit of paprika? No, no magic tricks up my sleeve for the cat hair menace sadly. I keep a sticky roller by my apartment door and will do a quick once-over before leaving home, that seems to help quite a bit. I also try to never leave anything where they might like to sleep on it. They have lots of sleeping spots without using my winter coat as a bed (looking at you, Gob')! If the furniture gets hairy a rubber glove is super effective for removing the hair.
There are no animals in our production studio luckily, so our samples and pieces are spared the hair! For de-fuzzing samples at a shoot I've always got a couple sticky rollers in my makeup trolley, and a damp washcloth does work nicely in a pinch also."
With these parting words we leave Taeden return to creating more of her beautiful designs and taking care of Atticus and Goblin. And yes, we know we still haven't unveiled the meaning behind the name Gloomth. We guess you'll just have to visit their website and find out for yourself! ;-)
Photos by Taeden & Russel Hall
Models: CheshireCat, Syringe, Kuroihitomi, Ashavari