Manufacturing denim takes huge amounts of resources, often distributed across a vast global supply chain. Revival London is retaining the value of those materials and processes and finding a second life for pre-loved denim in a luxury brand.
“Manufacturers often want to know why I won’t use fabric rolls,” says Rosette Ale, the brand’s founder. “It’s harder to make clothes by deconstructing pre-worn pieces, but I love it – you can learn so much about how garments are constructed and the skill that went into them by pulling them apart.”
The idea for Revival has been in Rosette’s mind since 2013. She says it took “years of fear” for her to be ready to set up the company, in which she focused on developing her own skills and knowledge while maintaining her own full-time job.
A Fashion Foundation Diploma in 2014 gave her some of the confidence to start building her own brand, as well as the practical expertise to start physically making her own garments. Even so, Rosette has invested years in developing her own abilities and identifying where to bring in specialist skills in disciplines like pattern cutting and grading to help overcome the creative challenges of working with pre-worn garments.
Although Revival focuses on a small number of designs in its core range, every piece will be slightly different due to variation in the materials – which means customers bring home something truly unique.
“Crop tops really need to be the size of the jeans they’re made from, but the garments that use patchwork can be far more flexible,” says Rosette. “We’ll always try to keep within a specific colour range too, which means I’ve had to develop a very good eye for shade-matching!”
The possibilities open up with access to a wide variety of high-quality denim. Although finding a supplier can be a challenge, it was one of several that Rosette managed to solve during last year’s national lockdowns as she prepared to build the brand.
Through engaging with online networking outside of her full-time job, she has connected with a community helping her put the pieces of Revival together. Those new contacts include local makers and even the training programmes for women at HMP Downview, supporting Rosette’s vision of a socially and environmentally responsible company.
In addition to keeping valuable denim in circulation, the brand is committed to being as inclusive as possible, embracing all body types and backgrounds to ensure a sustainable wardrobe feels accessible to all.
“There just aren’t many Black and brown designers in the sustainable fashion space, or even among models and how sustainable brands are marketed,” Rosette explains.
“At the same time plus-size fashion influencers are crying out for more sustainable options. These are all ways I really want to drive positive change with this brand. Our crowdfunding campaign is demonstrating that people are willing to invest in clothes made the right way.”
An all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign that launched on 14 June is raising funds to get Revival’s production up and running, building the supply chain and investing in tools, equipment and packaging. In exchange, donors will be able to purchase the brand’s pieces at discounted prices, creating the first wave of customers and brand advocates.
From there, Rosette is keen to start running pop-up shops over the summer, getting into physical spaces where customers can see the bold and eccentric designs in person. More designs are due to be released after the Kickstarter campaign ends, with the aim of sharing the message of upcycled, sustainable, inclusive fashion.
“I’ve spent this year figuring out the plan for this brand and now we’re ready to get into production,” Rosette says. “It’s exciting to think where we could go next.”