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Behind the Brand: Meet the designer giving denim a new life

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Wild Daisy is an Instagram-based shop offering handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces made entirely of up cycled denim. Here, we chat to founder Daisy Bailes about her exciting foray into sustainable style.

How and why did Wild Daisy come about?

Wild Daisy is a continuation of my final major college project. I’ve been concerned about fast fashion for some time and have always wanted to create something that is loved and lasts. I did a survey to find out people’s favourite clothing and why we throw clothes away. I found jeans were the most popular, they were a staple in everyone’s wardrobe and worn regularly until they no longer fitted or were damaged. Denim production has a huge impact on the environment and so this seemed the obvious starting point for Wild Daisy’s upcycled clothing. 

Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

It’s clear that Wild Daisy is the product of a very secure set of ethics - can you tell us a bit more about its specific roots?

Upcycling is a big passion of mine. I have always hated waste and I’m a hoarder for little things that could one day be turned into something else. Creating something that is going to be loved and looked after out of things that have been thrown away for me has always been the most obvious method of creating ethical and sustainable products. 

Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

Thanks in large part to your commitment to upcycling, right now Wild Daisy is a really special way of getting some beautiful, hand-made, and unique pieces of denim.  Is Wild Daisy something you hope to continually grow, or are you happy with its more intimate, hands-on nature?

I hope it will grow. I’m working on it step by step. At the moment I’m doing every piece individually for the customer as made-to-measure pieces. My next step is to launch a website on which I can sell some of the ready to wear collection I’ve been working on. I have big dreams for a Wild Daisy shop one day.

Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

You use all vintage fabrics; in terms of material sourcing, how do you make it work?  Are people in the industry often willing to help you out? 

I used to work at Rocky and Kook vintage shop doing their repairs and alterations. We had an influx of denim that needed altering and I had bags and bags of offcuts that were most ideal for patchworking. I was also given some damaged unsellable stock for fabric. People continue to donate worn jeans that are either damaged or no longer fit. And charity shops always have a good supply of second-hand denim. 

Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

So your material comes from a wide variety of sources - when you receive a commission, do you design clothes based on the material you have available, or do you design first and then hunt for fabrics that work?

I’ve never been much of a designer, more of a do-er. I’m very precise with my pattern cutting but with the patchwork, it has always been and continues to be a series of experiments. I find the materials I want to use and just go from there, only really having a vague idea of what it will look like at the end. For example, this week I used a pile of old pre-cut fabric samples in perfect squares so this week's design was made in checkerboard effect. All of my designs are zero waste, as whatever is left over from one project will be remade into the next, no matter how small.

Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

It’s clear that your background and your break into the industry is quite unorthodox, stemming less from fashion and more from a desire to change an industry. Our readers are interested in the fashion industry but come from a huge variety of educational backgrounds. How have you broken into the industry?  

I studied an extended diploma course at college whilst also working part time at Rocky and Kook vintage shop. Working with vintage clothing greatly influenced my final major collection in design ideas, ethical principles, and fabric supply. After I left college, I carried on with my project, taking orders to recreate some of the designs in different sizes and eventually selling a collection in the shop. 

Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

For those hoping to get their start in the fashion industry, what advice would you give as someone who’s done it?

Set aside time to experiment and find your style and find what you enjoy doing. You need to be excited about what you’re creating for it to work. If you love what you’re creating, then others will too. Stand by what you believe in and you will be surprised how many people share your views. The rest is easy when you have a loved product.

Daisy with some of her creations // Image courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk

This is the last piece in our Behind the Brand series. It’s been an absolute dream getting to know some of the key figures in sustainable fashion and hearing all about their innovative ways to change the industry. The future of fashion is looking much brighter thanks to them and their colleagues!

Lead images all courtesy of Daisy Bailes @wilddaisyuk




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