Clothes by Rubes is an eclectic fashion label you might have seen on Instagram or at our Brisbane Rummage. Ruby started her sewing journey in high school (schools with sewing machines rule). Lockdown was the catalyst for expanding her range as she needed something new and exciting to do (we can relate). She speaks to us about design inspiration, moving away from fast fashion and her future aspirations. Check it out!
Can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do? Hi, my name is Ruby. I am 16 and in year 11 at school in Brisbane. I run my own small, handmade clothing business, Clothes By Rubes, and I love selling at the Suitcase Rummage.
Why do you do what you do? I really love to create and sew funky clothing. Personally, when I am wearing something fun and eye-catching, I feel more confident. Selling my creations on Instagram is so much fun. I love seeing other people following my journey and purchasing things. Recently, I have been selling at the Suitcase Rummage and have been loving preparing all the items and selling them to all the lovely people on the day.
How did you get started making your own clothes? I received a sewing machine for my birthday in 2018 and with some help from school home-economics classes and YouTube, learnt how to sew. I started to make clothes and accessories sporadically but wasn’t very committed. When COVID hit at the start of 2020 and the everyone was put into quarantine, I found myself being quite bored and looking for creative things to do at home. This is when I started sewing more frequently and got into fashion. I made my first ever top, a world map crop (which I still sell today), for my sister and decided I could make some more to sell, as all my friends were asking for one. I set up an Instagram account called Clothes By Rubes and in less than a week I received over 20 orders. That was enough to really motivate me to start making new designs!
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start learning to sew and or making their own clothes? I would highly encourage anyone who’s wanting or thinking about making their own clothes to start! Personally, I find it very rewarding finishing a piece and being able to wear it out and about. Every piece will be unique and it makes my day when people compliment me when I’m wearing one of my handmade pieces.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Can you tell us about your creative process and rituals? I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok looking for inspiration for new pieces. So much so that my TikTok for you page is all sewing or fashion videos and tutorials! I use sewing as a time to relax and spend time away from technology. I love chilling in my room, listening to a good playlist and creating new designs.
How do you feel about fast fashion and what ways are you working to reduce your environmental impact with your small business? I truly believe that fast fashion is one of our Earth’s major problems and we as consumers should do our part in discontinuing these fast fashion labels by buying ethically. This could be by educating yourself on which brands contribute to the fast fashion problem and avoiding them, buying from second hand/thrift stores, and purchasing from and supporting small businesses such as mine. I frequently try to upcycle my old clothing into new fashionable pieces rather than contributing to the fast fashion problem by purchasing new items from big labels. For example, I have recently been using old-fashioned jeans, shorts and denim skirts and upcycling them into trendy denim tops.
What do you enjoy most about attending suitcase rummage? I think that Suitcase Rummage is a brilliant idea and I love selling my handmade clothing there. I enjoy the atmosphere of the live music and chatting to all the lovely people as they buy second hand and support small businesses. I find it very rewarding when people are looking through my pieces and feel very grateful when they purchase something.
Can you offer any tips for setting up a rummage stall? All the people shopping at the rummage are always so lovely and up for a chat! Greeting them when they come to your stall makes them feel more comfortable and more likely to stay longer. I also recommend making the prices available for the customers to read. This just makes it easier for them to shop and not be having to ask all the time. For hot days, a good umbrella and lots of water is a must!
Do you have any big dreams or exciting plans for the future with your clothing label? For now, as I am still in school, I am planning to just keep selling on Instagram and at the rummage. However, when I graduate, I would love to study fashion fulltime and grow my brand.
Where can we find and follow you? You can follow me on Instagram @clothesbyrubes to see new designs and purchase clothing pieces