Chat to Kalaurie Karl-Crooks, founder of Kalaurie, with us.
Creating modern heirlooms with Kalaurie Karl-Crooks of Kalaurie

Creating modern heirlooms with Kalaurie Karl-Crooks of Kalaurie

Written by Jasmine Mayhead.

Creating modern heirlooms with Kalaurie Karl-Crooks of Kalaurie

Kalaurie Karl-Crooks of ethical label Kalaurie creates each of her garments by hand with meticulous attention-to-detail. The final product is a timeless heirloom designed to be cherished for decades. We spoke to Kalaurie about reversing the effects of fast fashion brain-washing and educating the consumer that you can buy clothing that lasts a lifetime.

Kalaurie Karl-Crooks of ethical label Kalaurie creates each of her garments by hand with meticulous attention-to-detail. The final product is a timeless heirloom designed to be cherished for decades. We spoke to Kalaurie about reversing the effects of fast fashion brain-washing and educating the consumer that you can buy clothing that lasts a lifetime.

What made you start your Kalaurie?


I always knew I wanted to work for myself doing something creative or making things with my hands. When I finished my fashion degree, I started getting orders for pieces from my graduate collection so I decided the time was now to give it a shot.

Do you have a morning routine? If so what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?


Every morning I wake up at 7am & have coffee with my partner. We chat about our day’s ahead & spend some time together before we both split to start our work. I usually go for a 30 min walk through the neighborhood without my phone to clear my head & set an intention for the day before getting stuck into my work.

What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business?


The biggest barrier I’ve experienced is really getting the customer to understand the importance of clothing with ethical values and how that can be a beautiful lifelong investment.

Years of fast fashion brain-washing have disconnected customers to where, how, and who makes the clothing they wear. It has also trained them to expect certain unethical price tags & to only shop during sales.

Often people are really surprised when I tell them that I make everything myself and that it’s a very laborious process. As part of being in the fashion industry, I take great responsibility to educate and bring awareness to how clothing can be made in a mindful way through a traditional craftsmanship practice.

Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of Kalaurie, who made the things you sell? Can you tell us a bit about them?


‘ I made your clothes ‘ – I design, pattern-make, cut & sew all your orders meticulously from my Melbourne studio. I am passionate about traditional craftsmanship, slow making & environmental consciousness.

Why did you pick the fabrics you have chosen to work with?


Since the beginning of my fashion career, I’ve been passionate about using premium dead-stock fabrics & trims in my collections. Like dead-stock clothing, these are materials that are leftover and considered undesirable for reasons as basic as being not quite the right colour. Ultimately, they can end up in landfills or being destroyed, which sadly an industry-standard practice.

I’ve always found it really exciting to take what is considered undesirable and give it a new beauty and life. My shirts are made completely from dead-stock materials, right down to the buttons and fusing. It’s something that I’m incredibly proud of! As a more mindful way of creation, collections are created around the materials I can source rather then creating demand for new materials.

Best piece of advice you have ever received?


Be in it for the long run.

What’s next for you and your Kalaurie?


I’m working on a special new circular fashion project repurposing unconventional salvaged materials and leftover studio materials into one-off collectible garments.

One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?


Not super related to everything we’ve chatted about but I think everyone should read ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith as it’s a testament to true friendship and a love letter to all starving artists teaching us to stay true to your creativity, trust in the process and never give up.

Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?


Grace Forrest for her work against modern slavery and Courtney Holm of A.BCH for her work in promoting and educating people about circular fashion.

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