It first started with the dream of having a big, old Victorian house, filled with dogs and cats., Then it was having a rainbow coloured car, with rainbow mirrors and rainbow everything. Then after growing up and taking fashion in Grade 11 – this is how Lauren Mair got interested in designing her own clothes and finally founding her own company The Gypsy’s Closet in 2014. She went to school for Fine Arts, and everything what she makes is embellished. She loves colour, something funky and bright things which makes her happy.
“My mum is an artist, so I have always been into painting and expressing myself through my creativity,” said Mair. “It was not until I got interested into what I wore and then I started getting skills in sewing.”
In 2014, Mair just came back home from living at West. She was very inspired because that was the part of her life when she was doing lots of arts. However, she knew that selling artworks is hard and not many people appreciate it, even if they do, they do not have many or space for it. At this time she did a program with the government, which offered financial help for students who are interested in opening their own business.
“When you are a really independent person it is so hard to go to the job, working for someone else, and doing what someone else wants,” said Mair.
She started her own business with refurnished furniture, décor and artwork. She went to markets with her products and even though they amazed people, it was not something she could make living of.
Mair has always been into thrifting, incorporating vintage, finding interesting clothes, different than they sell in malls.
“I wore some kimonos I made in high school to these markets and I got so many compliments on them and I was like people love what I am wearing, at the end of the they have to get dressed and a lot of them want something different that is not in malls,” said Mair. “So I started bringing kimonos to the markets and they were selling like crazy and it was before they became trendy. I have just scratched the rest and started making kimonos.”
“I found something where I could design and use my creative energy, but I was using it in a way it was available to all women and kids, and even men,” said Mair.
Kimonos have become The Gypsy’s Closet’s statement piece. They come in one size, which suits everyone. They also reflect Mair’s personal style since Indian fabrics, patterns and gypsy things have always amazed her.
“When I first started the company, it was basically all custom orders, each kimono was made of completely different fabric, it was pretty much any vintage fabric I got my hands on, so every single one was different. Obviously I ran into the problem when everyone wanted the exact same one and I could not make the fabric appear it was just what I found,” said Mair.
Now she works with new textiles to duplicate kimonos, but also with fabrics she founds in thrift stores and second hand warehouses to make custom orders.
“I get fabrics from anywhere; primarily, I have been collecting them since Grade 11,” said Mair. “A lot of them are really special for me, it is not only a second hand and environmentally friendly, but it has a story.”
Anything from cotton to silk to chiffon is hard to work with when it comes to sewing a kimono.
“I have an industrial machine so these fabrics sometime rips and I have a big mess on my hands. Heavier fabrics are easier to work with,” said Mair.
Mostly, Mair makes the orders that come through the website on her own. However, when she has a big order or she is preparing for a show or a market, she gets a local girl who knows the pattern to help her out with sewing and selling.
The most awarding thing about being a fashion designer for Mair is when she sees someone wearing what she has made. “It warms my heart,” she said.
Mair said the most challenging part about being a fashion designer, for her, is time management. “I am still young so I think to myself this is my job, but at the same time I can’t let my life pass me by and I have to enjoy every second of it,” she added.
She has a little dream to do a North America tour. “I want to get a bus and a sewing machine at the back, be a little hippie for a while, get some girlfriends and go around to different music festivals and markets in all the big cities. In that way I can expose myself and fulfill my dream to travel when I am young. I love North America there is so many places I wanna go, so that is definitely my short term goal,” said Mair.
Eventually, she hopes to keep doing the business and open a couple of stores. In the future, she aims to hire more people to help her with overwhelming production, so that she can focus on being a designer.