Damson Madder proved to be a mainstay label at every fashion hotspot before it hit stores; sprayed across Pinterest boards, Instagram posts and the like—all ushering in a buzz that has maintained its momentum since its inception in April 2020. But there’s a reason that particular Spring presented such a tale of promise; and much of it has to do with the ethos of Emma Hill, Damson Madder’s founder. In the season of new beginnings, Hill sought to create a home for fashion that was at once unique and compatible with the modern zeitgeist while trailblazing in its approach to creating new trends responsibly. Driven by her mission to make a real difference, Damson Madder’s journey is one packed with new beginnings—with many more “firsts” still to come.
With transparency and sustainability at its helm, Damson Madder now present the Pre-Fall 2023 collection—crafted with the same organic cotton, recycled and re-purposed fabrics of its prior garments. With the same doll-core-meets-vintage-heroine aesthetic, the capsule encompasses the staples of the brand: abstract silhouettes, oversized bows, statement collars, delicate lace and elevated streetwear, and adds a modern twist. For instance, A-line mini dresses are accentuated by ruffle trimmings and a classic flare cuff sleeve, maxi denim skirts are reimagined with a low cut structure to emphasise fit and flare. Denim cargos are introduced in statement animal prints, with boxy oversized shirts offering added comfort and unisex dressing versatility.
Though the collection might just be enough to dress you for the transitional season, Damson Madder have a knack for offering option without excess—as demonstrated by its carefully curated AW23 collection. Dropping on the 20th of August, the funky yet functional hybrid of style is located once more in co-ordinated gingham two-pieces and an array of quilted gilets. With further drops and exciting new additions to Damson Madder’s lineage to come, the two freshly designed collections mark just the start of the brand’s exponentially evolving revolution.
Amidst the chaos, Rollacoaster caught up with founder Emma Hill to discuss Damson Madder’s journey so far, the inspiration behind each collection and the many “firsts” we can look forward to soon…
To shop the full collection, head tohttps://damsonmadder.com
Talk to me about the inception of Damson Madder! Where did the name come from? What was the vision?
The idea came when shopping for clothing from responsible fashion brands, I felt that very few were offering designs that were unique and exciting. We started working with recycled and organic fabric bases along with experimenting with some natural dyes, some of our favourite colours within our first trials included damson (plum) and madder (flower) and so the name was born. We launched in April 2020... 1 week before lockdown. This was tough, however, we were very lucky to have such an incredible response to the first collection and it was great to know that we were doing resonated with so many people.
Ultimately, it was all about wanting to make a difference. It was a time when the coverage of the impact of the industry was growing looking at the reality of the environmental impact and the realities of all bad practices behind the scenes.
Having experienced this first-hand, becoming a mother, and wanting to retain my love of the industry was essential in making these decisions. Certain parts of my work were becoming soul-destroying and it was in a moment of clarity, that I could choose to do better, to be better and to do things differently.
But I didn’t want to compromise, nor did I want consumers to have to do that too. I knew we could create ethical fashion but with design at the forefront. Wanting to shop more consciously by myself, at the time of inception options were very limited, either from a style or price point perspective.
Out of all of the collections released thus far, can you pinpoint any specific milestones/pinch-me moments?
I would say the bow back floral dress in 2021, after being featured on This Morning and in Grazia magazine and the green checkerboard shirt and shorts set, this sold out within a day of being online! And more recently this season our Tilly gilet in leopard print and denim - we literally can’t keep them in stock, and have repeated these styles multiple times due to the demand. Its a real career milestone for me to walk down the street or scroll on instagram and see these pieces - it f eels like we have created some real cult pieces! We have a new iteration of these for autumn and can’t wait for them to launch - watch this space..,.
How do you find creative inspiration from season to season?
We get a lot of our inspiration from vintage clothing, vintage textiles, tablecloths, tea towels... even bed linen! We love visiting vintage markets in the US and Europe for inspiration!
What can we expect Damson Madder to look like a year from now?
We believe in progress not perfection. Bigger isn’t always better. We care about our planet and we are working on minimising our impact by embedding more conscious practices. Being a small business, it can be a challenge to keep up, so we try not to get swept up in the buzzwords, but focus on constantly evolving and developing how we work.
We are committed to taking steps in the right direction with every collection that we bring out. We create all our collections in small batches, to reduce overproduction. Buying between 50 – 350 units of each line. We like to keep it small, so that there is no surplus stock and no garments going to waste.
We don’t pretend to be perfect, but we do pledge to evolve and grow and transparency is at the heart of everything we do.
With a focus on circular design, innovative fabrics and washing techniques, we are committed to making a difference to the fashion industry, so that your style does not cost the Earth. We have great relationships with all of our suppliers and have worked with most of them from the very start. We prioritise mutual trust, support and transparency allowing us to ensure both the delivery of the quality products and an ethical and responsible environment for the people creating them.
We have a really exciting year ahead and have new categories in the pipeline from hand-painted ceramics and homeware collaborations to our FIRST ever organic nightwear collection.
Words by Ella West