Claire From Permanent Vacation On Rejecting The Fashion Calendar

by: Rosie Dalton | 1 month ago | Features

Image: Permanent Vacation designer Claire Louise Smith.

Permanent Vacation is a local label grounded in high quality clothes, made in small production runs. After studying at Parsons School of Design in New York, designer Claire Louise Smith is now passionate about rejecting the traditional fashion calendar by making in Projects rather than seasons. Here, she tells us what ethical fashion means to her.

Image: behind the scenes at the Permanent Vacation factory.

Rosie Dalton: Can you tell us about how Permanent Vacation began?
Claire Louise Smith
: Way before Permanent Vacation was a concept, I was fortunate to work in a really progressive environment as a designer and trend forecaster at WGSN in London, which gave me insights into futurist business practices and forward-thinking concepts on sustainability within fashion. When I returned home to Melbourne a few years ago I was unable to find any potential employers that fitted with my desire to make clothing locally and ethically. So rather than taking a job with a high street retailer, I decided to start something small and environmentally responsible.

Image: behind the scenes at the Permanent Vacation factory.

Rosie: Why have you chosen to operate in Projects?
Claire
: I create each collection with a global market in mind, so it didn’t make sense to attach a season to anything. Personally, I also think the traditional SS/AW calendar is super outdated. Not only is climate change having a dramatic impact on the weather, I just don’t like the idea of clothing being tied to a specific season or moment in time. I like to think that operating in Projects is an antithesis to the overconsumption of the fast fashion industry – something slower and more timeless.

Image: behind the scenes at the Permanent Vacation factory.

Rosie: Do you feel that this helps you to reject the trend cycle?
Claire
: Definitely. It ensures that the styles in each PV collection are nuanced and wearable, and allows me to keep all Projects available online until they sell out. 

Rosie: What does ethical fashion mean to you personally?
Claire
: It’s about developing awareness around the impact you’re making on the planet and considering how to be less detrimental in your purchasing habits. Where possible, I always say to buy something that’s already been made and, when buying new pieces, consume less but spend more for something higher quality that’s responsibly made. 

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