Fresh off the release of "CONTAMINATED" a stellar winter collection, we were lucky enough to have a chat to Carolyn, the founder of Cagey's Planet. We spoke about building a streetwear label with an ethical stance, using fashion as an avenue to raise awareness and funds for different issues, how the start of Carolyn's creative process looks and how brand collaborations will hopefully be part of the near future.
TNB: Hey Carolyn, thanks for having a chat! What is Cagey’s Planet all about?
Carolyn : Thanks for having me! To sum it up, Cagey’s Planet is an independent streetwear label with an ethical stance that aims to raise money and awareness around different issues.
TNB: When did you launch and what inspired you to start?
Carolyn: Cagey’s Planet started in 2016. It was a combination of wanting a creative outlet where I had the opportunity make a difference and also encourage people to buy good quality garments – where the beginning to end process is transparent – rather than indulge in fast fashion.
TNB: You recently launched your winter collection, congratulations! Can you tell us about the inspiration for the new collection and how it’s all going?
Carolyn: Thank you! The new collection follows on from the Human Error range. I’m hoping it will raise awareness around the ways in which we contaminate our planet (and in turn ourselves) and bring change through meaningful conversations. Whether it’s flicking a ciggie butt in the gutter or using plastic straws that end up in landfill or waterways – to much bigger disasters such as Chernobyl or Fukushima – we are leaving a massive footprint on our planet.
Most people may recognise Blinky, the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons –mutated from nuclear power plant’s toxic waste. The fish in Cagey’s Planet’s new winter collection is the same fish with further mutations – an additional eye, fangs, spots and a light organ – and is a symbol of how we are continuously contaminating our planet.
The new collection is going really well and I’m super happy with it! People love the turtlenecks because they are something different and the zip ups and tees have been a huge hit too.
TNB: We would love to know a little bit about the beginning of your creative process. After thinking about starting a new collection, how do you get started?
Was the process for your new collection any different to your previous launches?
Carolyn: As a journalist in my primary job I’m always actively reading and writing news which is a big inspiration for me. It exposes me to the different issues which are always sitting at the forefront of my mind. I try to incorporate something I’m passionate about into each design. I’ll come up with an idea and spend a few days to weeks drawing up designs until I’m happy with something.
This collection is a bit different to my previous collections as I took a lot more time with it. I was keen on doing something different, such as turtlenecks, which were cut and sewn using a hand sewing machine in Melbourne so the process took much longer. I still wanted to stick to small runs but bring out a few different products that all complement each other.
TNB: We know from previous chats that Cagey’s Planet donates part of its profits to various charities. In the past some of those have included: Greenfleet, to contribute to real climate action and offset carbon emissions and also Minus18 and Switchboard Victoria to help support the LGBTIQA community and its youth.
We love it and think there should be more of it in the industry!
Can you tell us a bit about your process for selecting where you give back, and if this new collection has a specific contribution target?
Carolyn: One of the best things about Cagey’s Planet is being able to give back to the community. Raising money for Switchboard was during a critical time of the marriage equality campaign, in particular for LGBTIQA youth, and I wanted to do something to help – same goes with raising the money for Minus18. Planting the trees for Greenfleet was more about tying in with the Human Error theme and reversing the effects of deforestation by bringing life to our native Australian forests.
I’d love to be able to raise money for a different charity with the new collection but it’s not possible at the moment. Hopefully for the next collection – when I’ve got a bit to back me up I can start raising money again, but regardless I hope the new collection can raise awareness or start conversations around the impact we have on the environment.
TNB: Describe your aesthetic, is it core to the brand or something likely to change with new trends?
Carolyn: The aesthetic for Cagey’s Planet is streetwear – but I try not to have boundaries so it leaves room for more creativity. I like to stick to using black, white and red and having some sort of slogan or animal on the design.
I usually skate to the post office to send off people’s orders in comfy clothes that are easy to move around in, so I try to bring that over to Cagey’s Planet. I want my products to be about good quality, comfortable clothes more than anything.
Let’s get personal.
TNB: What’s a good weekend look like?
Carolyn: I never like have the same weekend twice, so as long as I’m doing something new, I’m having a good time! I love local markets, live music and art so if it’s a combination of those things I’m happy.
TNB: Saturday night, Sunday sesh or neither?
Carolyn: I love a Saturday night boogie but if the weather is good nothing beats Sunday afternoon beers in the sun!
TNB: How’s the process of starting an independent brand been for you?
Carolyn: It’s definitely been a journey! I didn’t know anything about starting business or clothing label before Cagey’s Planet. There’s been ups and downs and a lot of anxiety around whether people will like the designs or whether products will sell but I’ve learnt a lot through making mistakes and have grown from them. It’s been hard work but also a lot of fun!
TNB: What’s the future look like for Cagey’s Planet?
Carolyn: I would love to collaborate with other likeminded brands – that’s definitely next on my list. There’s so many people out there doing cool things and I love it when people can collaborate, share ideas and create something together. In the future I hope to keep growing Cagey’s Planet and get to a stage where I’m able to give back more to the community and make a bigger difference in society.
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Photographer - Josh Sloot - Instagram