Eric Phu had a simple idea, and that simple idea became Citizen Wolf.
Eric’s words will make you want to become a citizen of this particular community – pun definitely intended. Eric Phu saw a gap in the market for tailor-made everyday clothing, and as the co-founder of Citizen Wolf, he decided to do something about it.
What made you start Citizen Wolf?
Citizen Wolf started with a very simple idea: what if clothes were made to fit you, and not the other way around? We’re seven billion different body shapes, so how on earth are we expected to fit neatly into S/M/L sizing? Especially when brands can’t even agree on what a “medium” is (don’t even get us started on vanity sizing!).
Now, if I want suiting or bridal, tailoring has existed for millennia and I can solve that problem by throwing cash at it. But what about the clothes I wear 90% of my life? No one seemed interested in solving this problem, so we decided to have a crack at it.
What has been the most challenging thing you have uncovered since beginning?
It’s been almost fifty years since man landed on the moon, so as outsiders, we thought surely someone had solved the problem of fit by now. Instead, we found an industry addicted to fast-fashion and incredibly wasteful mass production. Did you know that out of the 80 billion garments churned out of sweatshops every year, 20% will end up in landfill without having been sold, and another 30% thrown out after just being worn once? That’s 40 BILLION garments not needing to be made. Every. Year.
Rather than contributing to this insanity, Citizen Wolf is built from the ground up to create clothes locally on demand, ethically and with zero waste, starting with the humble T-shirt. But that meant going against the grain every step of the way and convincing everyone from suppliers to seamstresses to customers to give up decades of ingrained behaviors and attitudes. As a tiny start-up, it’s a huge uphill mountain to climb!
Where is your fabric sourced to make these t-shirts?
We make all our tees in Sydney using fabrics sourced from Australian mills. We also scour factories around the world for premium quality deadstock (great fabrics that were over-produced and would end up unused in landfill) for our limited edition collections. We’re particularly excited by our upcoming range that includes organic cotton that’s 100% Australian from seed-to-stitch, as well as our first CW custom knit fabrics.
One book everyone should read? why?
Wardrobe Crisis by Clare Press. It’s essential reading for everyone to rethink their relationship with the clothes they wear everyday.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
Mel Tually. Not only has she built successful fashion brands but she tirelessly volunteers her time to promote ethical and sustainable fashion by leading Fashion Revolution here in Australia. Its incredibly talented and selfless people like her that gives a voice to the voiceless in an industry rife with exploitation.
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