Introducing Kathy Seton, from Meta Designs Co!
Kathy Seton, of Meta Designs, jokingly refers to herself as the ‘accidental clothes maker’. She claims that she fell into making clothes and it wasn’t something she ever planned or trained to do. Well, however it happened, we’re so glad that it did!
Slow, hand-made clothing over fast fashion is Kathy’s main ethos. These values inspire colourful and interesting pieces with all the sourcing, cutting, sewing and finishing done by her, though sometimes with a little help from her daughter!
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I’m a graduate anthropologist who has worked for the last two decades mainly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arenas, while raising my beautiful daughter. My job requires a lot of reading, writing and being on a computer for most of the day so coming home and creating something is a great stress relief. I started sewing again as a creative outlet after a great friend gave me a fabulous pin jar for Christmas. I made her daughter (my god-daughter) a skirt and, very unexpectedly, the feedback and orders started to flow from there.
My philosophy is about simple patterns but using interesting material. I also try to cater to a variety of sizes and body shapes. I often horde material until the right pattern comes to mind. Or, sometimes the material inspires the pattern. I work predominantly with cotton and avoid synthetics. I love Japanese and African fabrics.
Why do you do what you do?
It’s not just the satisfaction of creating something someone else wants to wear but is also the engagement in the process and with people. There is a real satisfaction for me to take a piece of material and turn it into something wearable, and then have people comment on how well made it is or how fun it is, or how comfortable it is.
I love talking with the people who come through my stalls and other stallholders, everyone has a little something to share. My customers also provide inspiration for new designs, new places to showcase and the like.
Who are some other artists, crafters, creatives that you love? And why?
Every day I am meeting or discovering amazing artists doing amazing things, particularly in the handmade space. In the sewing and textile space I am inspired by Jane Milburn from Textile Beats; her slow clothing ethos and work is fabulous. In other spheres, I love Cronk and Tonic, not just because they designed my logos, but because they are collaborative. Other creatives I follow are: Sybella, Little Concrete Jungle, Itty B Clay Creations, Little Brown Dog, Ecopadsaustralia, Nutsy Nutmylk and the list could go on and on… these creators are making quality handmade products and challenge global consumer patterns.
What excites you?
Currently the challenges of starting and running my own business is exciting me… There’s so much to learn but so many positive people around me helping. Travelling also excites me, I get quite antsy when I don’t have a ticket to somewhere booked! I find going places, whether local or international, refreshes me, inspires me and makes me feel centred in the world. And the food around the world… what can I say…
We think of a rummage stall as a mini shopfront, how do you make your rummage stall your own?
Suitcase Rummage was the first market stall I ever did and it was easy at first to have a suitcase full of kids clothing. As my work has grown and diversified into women’s clothing it has become far more of a challenge to display at Rummages. I turned two of my suitcases into hanging wardrobes which has been great for displaying kid’s clothes, and shorter women’s dresses and tops. With my longer skirts, tunics and dresses the challenge remains and I rely more on interest being created by the materials than how I can display them on the day!
Can you offer any tips on setting up a rummage stall?
For me a stall always stands out if it is colourful, quirky, organised and the seller has a smile on their face. It’s not how much you have to sell but how you showcase and engage that matters to me.
What is the next step for you? What does the future hold?
This year I moved from selling my clothes as a hobby to a proper business. At the moment I am working hard to make this a full time concern by diversifying and doing lots more markets. I’ve just secured my first space in The Collective Store. This is truly fabulous and I can’t wait to see how the future unfolds for my new business.
What’s your favourite place or thing to do in your city?
My favourite area in Brisbane is the cultural precinct at South Brisbane. I love GoMA and the State Library, both architecturally and inspirationally. I love that this area has so much to offer to so many people and that it is close to the city, West End and South Bank – it is easy to lose yourself in everything these areas have to offer.
Where can we find, and follow you? (I.e. website, Instagram, facebook, etsy, markets etc.)
www.metadesingco.com.au is my website, but am still in the process of getting things fully online.
@metadesignco on Instagram is my main interface at the moment.
Creating an Etsy store is my next challenge.
What do you like about attending Suitcase Rummage?
I’ve always loved attending Rummages both as a shopper and seller because it is truly grassroots. The simplicity of rolling in with suitcases and engaging for the day makes it easy and fun but also provides a truly unique starting point for people who may wish to experiment with selling before paying for bigger markets. Rummages are also ecological and socially conscious spaces, and I have to say it… run by great people!