New to TVM this Sunday and the winner of TVM's Startup Stall initiative is Rodrigo Almeida with his ethical, eco friendly, sustainable menswear label - Indigo Monkey. Rodrigo will be cruising up the highway all the way from Bondi Beach to join us this Sunday.
"Indigo Monkey was created in 2015 after a trip to the States. I went to Burning Man, where the weather was extreme. Incredibly hot during the day and cold at night, so I felt it was necessary to have versatile clothes that can be adaptable to different temperatures. We needed clothes that were comfortable and easily add layers."
What pieces are included within your range?
We decided to create a capsule collection that is versatile and interchangeable. The current range includes drop crotch Linen pants, Bamboo drop crotch casual pants, soft Bamboo t-shirts and long sleeve Bamboo casual top.
What is your creative background?
Growing up in Uruguay my mum and dad would only buy clothes for us once a year, instead my mum was always sewing, repairing and creating clothes for me and my brothers. She would include us in the process and we could choose the patches. As we grew up I would pass the clothes to my younger brother and he would to the youngest.
When I moved to Australia in the pursuit for creativity and craft I attended CATC design school and studied Interior design, I didn’t feel very comfortable with the structure so I stopped before finishing. A few months later decided to pursue fashion and I attended a ‘hands-on’ fashion design school, In 2 mode.
Later on, when I attended a natural Indigo dying workshop with master Aboubakar Fofana was when I decided to focus on sustainability and ethical practices. He transferred the respect for the fructose indigo vat, using organic materials and techniques. Incorporating ancestral techniques and crafts.
Where is the label designed and made?
It’s designed in Sydney-Australia and partially made in Sydney and Bali.
What inspires you?
I get my inspiration from ancestral techniques and simple way of living. I’m inspired by the slow fashion and the sustainable way of living.
Latest collection consists of?
Drop Crotch Linen Pants, Bamboo Casual Pants, Travel Bamboo t-shirt, Casual long sleeve top.
What's on your mood board?
Nobel fabrics such as bamboo, linen and hemp, with organic natural colours such as beetroot red and natural indigo as well as shibori switching techinques.
What’s your creative space like?
My studio is always pumping music and is filled with natural indigo vats for hand-dying fabrics. It’s a place for me to switch off my mind and loose myself in my creativity and enjoy getting my hands dirty.
What music do you listen to while designing/creating?
Techno house music and eclectic house music.
A day in the life of you consists of?
I live in Bondi so I start my mornings with a swim in the ocean to clear my head and a coffee after my swim to get the day rolling. I like to surround myself with good music all day. I work as a social worker, so often my days are long and sometimes stressful. After work I always take time to retreat and work on Indigo Monkey and my creative designs.
I like to read “Stories behind things” blog, Reformation magazine, Maker’s row blogs, The Clothing exchange publications.
What are we likely to find you wearing on market day?
I’m always decked out in Indigo Monkey.
What are your plans for the brand and where do you hope it takes you?
I want help support communities that are affected by the fast fashion industry and be a part of the fashion revolution that promotes slow fashion and conscious consumerism. I’m currently working on introducing hand-dyed clothing using organic natural plants and ancient dying and stitching techniques from around the world. I’m planning to work with different communities around the world that have beautiful tradition textile forms, such as the Guatemalan highlands and Mali. I also want to work with African wax, bomber jackets and Chinese silk, mixing different ancient arts. My hope is that with Indigo Monkey I am able to work directly with small and remote communities from around the world and share their ancestral knowledge.