Waste not, want not: Graduate business launches sustainable clothing line
20 May 2021
Since her time at Falmouth, Fine Art graduate Lucy Whittaker has been nurturing a new sustainable fashion business: the Threadanthropist. The embroidery artist is launching a new line of upcycled clothing this week, and already holds ambitions to expand her product line further this year.
Embroidery had never been a part of Lucy’s plan when she started out at university. Her initial idea of becoming a painter was soon waylaid after she discovered costume making via performance art. As Lucy explains, “I thought I was a painter but by the end of my three years I was making costumes! I think that’s the beauty of the course… Fine Art is such a broad subject and the tutors encourage you to explore everything. That really benefitted me.”
I learnt new skills that I wouldn't have otherwise acquired... My audio-visual skills have definitely come in handy for my new product launch.
Guided by her tutors, Lucy found a thriving community of creatives at Falmouth. “There were loads of people who were part of performance art groups and plenty of students put on their own shows.” It provided the perfect environment for Lucy to experiment with new ideas and harness her love for embroidery and clothes design. But learning how to assemble costumes wasn’t the only skill she acquired during a fruitful three years of study.
“The course taught me to be self-sufficient and self-motivated; time management was massive. In Fine Art you create your own briefs, so you have to be able to do things from step one and see them through to the end, which is definitely transferable to business.
“I also learnt new skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise acquired; I can make nice videos and take good photographs, which are really important for my work. My audio-visual skills have definitely come in handy for my new product launch.”
Shortly after graduating, the Threadanthropist was born, with Lucy’s freshly acquired skills evidenced across her website. Lucy’s venture joins the ever-growing list of Falmouth graduates who have gone on to start their own business; a recent survey by business technology experts Capital on Tap revealed that students who attend Falmouth University are the most likely in the UK to start or manage a business.
Now a year on from selling her first pieces of personally crafted embroidery, Lucy is expanding her business into upcycled clothing. It marks a significant moment in her artistic career, so soon after the Threadanthropist’s inception. Sustainability remains a focal point to Lucy’s work. “Rather than buying in lots of new materials (the process of making most materials is damaging to the environment) I can cut that out completely by getting donated clothes that would have otherwise been thrown away.”
And once Lucy has applied her artistry to the clothing, consumers will be keen to hang onto their purchases. “If things are beautiful and have artistry woven into them, I think it’s more likely that people will hold on to them”, the artist explains.