Kathryn McAllister makes underwear in Castlemaine. She shares with Garland the experience of her successful community business.
We’re all looking for hopeful stories right now. Castlemaine’s Wonderpants offers us a glimpse of the world to look forward to post-COVID. As the pandemic dissolves many industrial supply chains, there is space for local producers to flourish.
Kathryn McAllister learned sewing in the family home and was gifted a sewing machine for her 21st birthday. She was inspired to start Wonderpants in 2010 by the case of Hiut Demin in Wales, which has rejuvenated local production by focusing on “doing one thing well” in quality standard jeans. Kathryn had found it difficult to find good quality underwear and decided that this would be her specialty.
Kathryn’s business has flourished in the supportive community of Castlemaine, in Central Victoria. The models have come from enthusiastic clients in town.
She’s also been involved in the local CUT IT OUT conscious clothing festival. Her fabric is sourced from OCC Apparel, which is knitted in Australia from organically grown (GOTS) certified cotton, harvested from certified and fair-trade farms in India.
For Garland, Kathryn has shared one of her typical days. Bunkered down for winter, Kathryn sets up her workspace with Japanese incense and boombox for a busy Tuesday fulfilling the weekend’s orders. Enjoying her first brand new sewing machine, she considers expanding to meet demands for face-masks and making her own cushions. Into her workday, she is able to seamlessly fold in her role as a friend and mentor.
Is this the work of the future?
The photographs by Keiran Watson Bonnice feature Kathryn and her daughter Bronte Pleasance. They were processed by Work in Process.
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