Menna Angharad Evans is a 21-year-old designer who’s located in South Wales. She’s currently in her third and final year of studying Fashion Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Her brand “naturesthreadss” follows on from her graduate collection Gypsy Soul. As a designer, she’s heavily inspired by nature. Growing up, her childhood was spent with her horses, surrounded by the most beautiful things found in nature. She spent many days creating and exploring, making dens in the ferns, running barefoot with handmade flower crowns in her hair, and simply feeling free and happy. She has fond memories of hours spent exploring the countryside, the feeling of freedom and connection to nature flows naturally within her. This way of living taught her to appreciate the beauty of the natural world, teaching her to make use of what she has around her and to source naturally and sustainably. Connecting her childhood to that of the Romany Gypsy’s, her collection Gypsy Soul is based around the life of the Romany Gypsy’s, taking inspiration from their free-spirited souls and love for nature. Their freedom to travel, explore new places, and live a slower pace of life truly resonated within her. Inspired by the Gypsy way of ‘making something from nothing’, She has sourced materials she free-spirited to create unique designs. She simply sees the beauty in sustainability, therefore her designs within her collection are focused upon giving discarded items a new purpose. Re-using found objects repeatedly through numerous textile techniques. Her designs are very textile-based, using traditional techniques such as macrame, crochet, natural dyeing, and felting to create beautifully handcrafted designs. The main focus of her collection is to create little to no waste through her design processes, textile-based garments are made with great care and precision. Her fabrics are primarily up-cycled, sourced from pre-owned cotton linen, giving her garment a free-flowing, relaxed silhouette. Natural dyes add another element to her cloth using the technique of rusting to add another layer of texture and achieving a unique print.
Sassy & Co recently caught up with Menna and here’s what went down:
How did you get into the fashion industry?
Growing up I was always encouraged to be creative, my mum is very creative herself so inspired me to have a go at lots of different arts and crafts. My attic has always been “mum’s sewing room” and it is full to the brim with fabrics, trims, and everything I ever wanted, giving me the freedom to make anything. I have fond memories of using scraps of fabric, cutting them up & tying them around myself, making different dresses for myself to walk up and down the room as if it was my catwalk. I will always remember my mum telling me that art could never be wrong, nobody could ever say what I made was wrong and that I could truly make whatever I wanted. I loved that. Once I was in comprehensive, I then began to have textiles lessons, which I absolutely loved as it was a lesson that I felt really confident in because my mum had taught me to sew years prior. After school, I knew that I wanted to proceed on to something textiles-based, fashion just seemed perfect for me as I just loved working with different fabrics and textile techniques to create something beautiful.
What do you like most about being a designer?
What I like most about being a designer is the freedom I have to create whatever I want. Like my mum said, nothing I make can ever be wrong and that’s truly just beautiful.
What do you like most about being a designer?
For me, the downside to being a fashion designer would be people taking my work for granted and not noticing the time and care that goes into making my garments. My designs are very textiles-based, meaning they take an incredible amount of time to create. Often people don’t realise the time that one simple t-shirt could take to make let alone a handcrafted dress.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
Being a beginner within the fashion industry I have not yet had many major experiences. But something that stands out for me as an achievement within my fashion design journey so far would be my mini collection I created in my second year. This was the collection for me that really made me fall in love with what I do. Before then I had found it extremely difficult to find my true aesthetic, I honestly felt lost and out of place on my fashion course. But within my mini collection, I really focused on my textiles & I discovered what I loved most! This collection then went on to inspire my Graduate Collection.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
The most interesting people I have met through the fashion industry would be my fellow fashion designers. I would say fashion has quite the stigma of being a clicky industry but from my experience, I have met the most genuine people within this industry through social media (Instagram). I’ve had nothing but positive support and the kindest messages about my work and I feel that it is such an inspiring industry to be a part of.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned would be to keep going. I find the process of making & designing garments can be daunting at times. I’m a perfectionist, I love adding finishing touches and finalising designs but the period of time when my work is half-finished can be very difficult. It’s sometimes hard to see past the half-finished garments in front of me and vision how it will look once finished and sometimes this can cause a lack of motivation. So, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is just to keep going, even if you feel anxious about how your work looks just know that it will all work out in the end!
Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
Yes!! As previously mentioned my mum is extremely creative herself, she loves seeing my work and often helps me with my fashion work, she always says she wishes she could be doing my course too!!
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I don’t think I’d do anything differently. Of course, there are certain garments I look back on and think “oh my gosh what was I thinking” but once I take a step back I realise despite disliking the garment my aesthetic has most definitely developed from it initially. Everybody starts somewhere and I am very happy with where I am now so no I wouldn’t change anything.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to be true to yourself as a designer. Make sure that your project is something that you’re truly interested in, something that really inspires you. A collection doesn’t happen overnight it’s something that you will be spending months on, so it has to be something you have a genuine interest in! Make the collection true to yourself and the experience will be much more enjoyable than doing choosing something just because you’ve seen somebody else do it.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I plan to develop my brand from my Graduate Collection and create my own sustainable business. I would like to create one-off garments as well as homeware and accessory pieces. With my brand, I’d like to collaborate with other creatives and offer classes and talks about my textile and sustainability process behind my brand. I am so excited for the future and am ready to take any opportunity!