Kerry Mounsey from Verry Kerry talks us through the entire design process of their beautiful, ethical loungewear – from the initial spark of an idea, to the finished piece arriving at a customer’s house.
I get an idea in my head and begin to sketch it down roughly somehow so I don’t forget it. I always carry one of my upcycled sketch/note books in my hand bag.
I then either create it or elements of it by hand using water colour and colour pencil, or I create it directly in Adobe Illustrator, or both. It is usually a combination until I capture the right feel. Then I spend some time playing with different colour combinations until that makes me so excited I can’t sleep. That’s generally how I know – If it doesn’t make me squeal with delight, I don’t run it. The next quite tricky part is deciding on the scale. I print off many versions of scale on paper, and, from holding it up against my shoulder, twisting backwards in the mirror, together with a strong visual mind, I know relatively quickly.
Then off to India I go. My first point of call is my amazing family run screen printers that have been perfecting their craft for generations, in Delhi India. Once the design and scale of the print has been finalised, the screens are made and the testing process begins.
I buy my raw fabric, like bamboo and organic cotton from a certified, sustainable and ethical supplier. Colours react very differently on the different fabrics, and, as each colour for each screen is created by hand, there is long testing process to make sure the colours are just right.
The inks used are certified azo free, chemical free dyes and are all mixed by hand and by eye by the master – not machine. An incredible process, that is a true craft and joy to see and experience. Each colour change or tweak in the development process takes time. A wonderful, thorough and crucial part of the process. How the colours behave on the fabric is everything to the final result. Once signed off, they print around 10-15m of each print so I can get the relative samples made to take home with me to photograph.
I take the new prints to my garment factory who I have been working with since the beginning. There I work with amazing, skilled, well paid professionals and friends who I adore. From the core pattern cutters, to embroiderers and machinists, to the people who sew on the labels, pressing and packing, I value each and every one of them, and make sure I visit them, practicing my (terrible) Hindi on them, and deeply thanking them for everything they do. While waiting for the production to arrive, I photograph it and get it ready to go online. I don’t work seasons in advance like every other brand.
Every production usually gets packed individually in plastic. that means every kimono would arrive wrapped in its own plastic. I’m very proud to say that we pack 5-10 kimonos into a biodegradable bag! It took some effort, research and insisting, but we got there in the end, and I am even more thrilled to know that my factory now uses these bags for all of their clients’ production.
All our lovely pieces get placed in either a reusable fair trade cotton tote bag, or reusable upcycled fabric drawstring bag. The totes are to encourage taking a reusable bag with you at all times, so when you pop into any shop, you have no need to use a plastic bag.
The drawstring bags are amazing little travel bags, and can be used to separate your dirty socks and jocks from the rest. We use unbleached, natural, recycled paper mailing bags for shipping our orders as well.
You can read our interview with Kerry in the April 2019 issue of Natural Mumma Magazine – find out how Kerry spends her days, where she gets her inspiration from and pick up some tips on living a more sustainable and passionate life.