Two Fold Clothing: Finding solace in handmade
When Morgan Wagstaff launched her label Two Fold, we instantly fell in love with the effortlessness of her aesthetic. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2017, we asked the North Carolina based creative to share a bit about starting a slow fashion label.
Many times, when we think of someone who goes into fashion or sewing, we think of someone who has loved doing it all their lives and always knew they wanted to have a career in fashion. My story isn’t quite that stereotypical. I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a fashion designer or owning my own business. I knew I was always interested in getting dressed every morning but never thought of sewing or designing. I was always very imaginative and creative, but still felt inadequate in fine arts, so I took up photography. I truly enjoyed documenting the people around me and the lives they were living.
When it was time to go to college, I decided the only topic I was interested in was photography, so I declared it as my major. But while photography was a great outlet for me, I still felt like something was missing. What I enjoyed about fine arts was the creation of something. I loved seeing a blank canvas filled with colours and shapes. Photography seemed to lack the art of creation I was yearning for. I was yearning for more tangible, hands-on creation. When searching through the majors of study my school offered, I realised they had an Apparel Design and Merchandising program. I decided to take the first class on the course list, Introduction to Sewing. It was there that my love for creating garments came to life. I finally felt like I was creating more tangibly again.
For the past eight or so years, the apparel industry has been undergoing a dramatic change. There has been quite a demand for high quality, ethical apparel made slowly and ethically. What truly shook the industry and catapulted this whole movement was the fall of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh back in 2013. Rana Plaza was one of the worst “sweatshops” in India and it’s collapse resulted in over 1,100 deaths and left over 2,500 injured. This tragedy caused people to start looking at their clothing, where it was being made, the conditions of the factories and generally started the conversation for this movement towards ethical fashion.
When I was in college we began speaking on this topic in my classes, doing research, and learning about the changes in the industry. It truly peaked my interest and I knew I wanted to contribute to this in some way. Fast forward to the summer of my senior year and I had an internship with a small designer doing exactly what I dreamt of doing myself. Since I learned to sew a couple years earlier, I had dreamt of designing and creating clothing under my own brand. During this internship, I was able to see that my seemingly far-fetched dream now appeared reasonable and within reach.
Of course, once we enter the real-world, life begins knocking on our door and we have to answer. I needed a job, so I reluctantly started working at a large retailer here in the States. While at this job, I was reminded every day of just how bad the apparel industry is. I saw how large companies become careless about the factories and the people working in them. I noticed how concerned they were with the bottom line and not the people actually involved in making the pieces they were selling. Seeing how removed the company I was working for was from the factories, their conditions, and how much they were paying their workers fueled my fire to want to provide an alternative to these big, fast fashion stores. Large retailers have become complacent and concerned only with bringing costs down because consumers are demanding lower and lower prices from them. The only way for retailers to compete is to sell their goods at a lower price. This, in turn, means the companies have to find a way to bring their costs down and they looked to the factories for better deals on production costs.
For about a year and a half, I worked on designing, creating, marketing, branding, and prepping for the launch of my brand. I decided I wanted to launch through the use of a Kickstarter campaign. I chose to go down this route because the start-up costs are tremendous and in order to be able to afford production costs for the first production run, I had to offer presales. While this was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through—cue many panic attacks because I thought my life was over when no money was coming in—it was also one of the greatest experiences. I learned to trust the process, trust my gut, and I learned how to work harder than I’ve ever worked before.
And after a very long thirty days, Two Fold was born. Although it’s only been seven months since the official launch, it’s been a long journey getting here. I’ve learned more about business, customer service, production, sewing, and so much more than I ever thought possible. Right now, I am working on the newest Fall/Winter collection and creating cold-weather pieces. When looking into the future, I know I want to continue to provide great staple pieces meant to transition seamlessly into any wardrobe. I want to have a company that provides great jobs in this industry that pays well and makes someone excited to get up and go to work each day. I would love to grow to a place where I can provide even better products and extended sizing on customers’ favourite pieces. I want to continue to help educate people about the importance of choosing ethically and asking questions about where and by who our clothes are being made. Two Fold has just begun and it’s been a joy contributing to the change this industry is seeing.