Respect Your Mother - CAGEY'S PLANET
22 August 2018 by Sancho Murphy
Environmental awareness and ethics in business practice is something that is fast becoming a routine in the retail industry. Which is neat! Increasingly, consumers are consciously choosing to avoid specific brands or items due to environmental concern and negligent business practice. With the digital age, the world is more connected, having greater access to information and free platforms to exchange that information in order to take informed action for the benefit of the planet!
At Dirty Laundry, we carry majority stock that is for the most part emerging indie brands – mainly as a way to support independent artists and designers in a retail 'brick & mortar' format, as well as to offer a choice of something different than what you can pickup at the mall. Pieces are limited and the production runs are significantly smaller - meaning less over-consumption & wastefulness. It just happens to be that a significant amount of the brands we carry have sustainability as a must in their business methods and advocate for the concern of the environment - which demonstrates the mindfulness of the next gen. This serves to positively influence buying behaviour to drive change - whilst making some dope limited products!
One of those independent brands is Cagey's Planet. Cagey’s Planet began as a creative outlet to combine an independent, ethical and local streetwear label, with a brand that was able to make a difference, raise money and awareness, and support other local businesses. The brand has managed to donate money to different causes that tackle climate change, support the LGBTI community and help some of our most vulnerable youth. Keeping everything as local as possible is also one of the main goals of Cagey's Planet. Embroidery and screen printing of ALL the products are done in either Melbourne or Sydney supporting other local businesses.
Encoded in radio signals emanating from our source, we made first contact to Carolyn Cage from Cagey's Planet and be-booped about where Cagey's Planet came from, the process of creation, what other ethical brands she is vibing and how what we buy as consumers can make a difference on the Earth's problems.
When did Cagey’s Planet first spawn into existence? How did you come up with the name and what does it represent to you?
Cagey’s Planet was first discovered in 2016 somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. In vain, it’s named after myself (Carolyn Cage). It represents a utopia – a place that picks up where our planet sometimes falls short. Somewhere that has social equality and a lot of compassion in taking care of the planet.
Your current focus with Cagey’s Planet is to make a product with sustainable practices/social responsibility. Sustainable in the sense of being ethical in production, and social responsibility in that proceeds of sales go towards supporting a selected charity. Can you tell us a bit more about this? How do you select the charities to support?
I wanted to start something where people were able to buy ethically made clothing and feel good about it, not only because they’re participating in a sustainable practice, but because part of the profits are going back into the community. The charities I’ve raised money for in the past are all doing amazing things and represent some of the causes I’m passionate about.
What are the challenges of doing this kind of work – especially in keeping the project financially viable? What have you learned along the way?
I’m finding it quite challenging to find a balance at the moment which is why the W18 collection is the first where I’m not raising money, but there’s still the awareness around ethical fashion and the environment. Sourcing ethically made products can be expensive, so it’s hard to be able to give back all the time, as much as I’d like to. Hopefully when Cagey’s Planet is financially stable again I can choose another charity to raise money for. I’ve learnt a lot that’s for sure, but it’s all part of the process!
Can you tell us a bit about the latest collection, they’re very much statement pieces about current environmental affairs in the world…..
The latest collection is about contamination. Whether it’s intentional or not, we contaminate our soil, air and waterways with chemicals, toxic substances and waste. They not only contaminate our planet, but ourselves too. I hope that it raises awareness around these issues, or perhaps those who buy from the W18 collection can start these conversations when someone asks where they got their clothes from, or what it means. Awareness leads to a great amount of change so I hope I can contribute to that in some way.
Who takes your photographs and models your clothing? How do you curate your aesthetic to suit what Cagey’s Planet means to you?
In the past, I’ve taken the photos for Cagey’s Planet but I barely know how to work the functions on a camera so I had Josh Sloot a Sydney photographer help out. He shot on 35mm expired film which gave the photos a nice grainy look, which fit the aesthetic and he did an amazing job! Some of the models are friends and family, friends of friends and strangers on Instagram (many of whom I’m now friends with). I love collaborating and meeting new people which is one of the best things about having Cagey’s Planet.
Generally speaking, in a time where multinationals and shopping malls rule the majority of retail channels and influence the type of products consumers have access to, in a world of ‘fast fashion’, why should we care about ‘slow fashion’? How does Cagey’s Planet fit within this?
Fast fashion is horrible for so many reasons. The clothes are generally made in sweatshops, poor quality and barely last a season. It takes 2700 litres of water to produce one cotton shirt (WWF) which is crazy when you think about it. Slow fashion is all about good quality, clean environment and fairness for the consumers and producers – which is what Cagey’s Planet represents.
I’ve come to somewhat understand that mass consumers are hesitant to spend money on an unfamiliar brand (whether it be questioning the quality or focus has been placed on the pace that has been set by trending brands/status symbols). How do you approach this kind of consumer mentality with Cagey’s Planet products?
I hope that my brand, and other local and ethical brands can change the mind set of people who are hesitant to support a smaller, lesser known brand. It’s hard gaining trust, but a good 70 per cent of my customers are regulars who have come back to buy from each collection, which I love and really appreciate!
Do you remember the first item of clothing you got as a kid that rocked your world? The standalone piece that was your style awakening and wore til it tore?
I had this purple puffy playsuit that was a hand-me-down from my sister. I wore it ALL the time! It kind of looked like a spacesuit and I had a bowl cut for most of my childhood which looked like a helmet. I’m not sure if it was my style awakening but I definitely wore it to shreds! Other than that, my mum would make most of our clothes on her old school Singer which had a foot pedal, so plenty of ugly fabrics and matching sets! My grandmother also owned a clothing alteration place so an interest in making clothes has always been a big part of the family.
What ethical/sustainable/indie brands are you vibing with at the moment? And why?
Two of my favourite brands are run by good friends of mine: Plant Faced Clothing, which is a vegan streetwear label and The Black Market, which sells vintage black clothes. I love that both brands put out an important message, such as awareness around cruelty free practices and also purchasing recycled clothing.
Image Credit (top to bottom): The Black Market Vintage / Plant Faced Clothing
What can we expect from Cagey’s Planet in future? Can you give us a sneak peek into any new stuff you’ve been working on?
I’d love to collaborate with like-minded brands in the future! I’m always working on something and growing ideas but haven’t got a clear vision of anything I want to do for summer as of yet. I’m sure I’ll be dropping hints over the next couple of months so stay tuned!
Other than the online store, is there anywhere else Cagey’s Planet is currently stocked? Or any brick and mortar outlets you’ve set your sights on/can recommend for any other potential emerging labels to suss for that extra retail support?
Cagey’s Planet is stocked online and in Sancho’s Dirty Laundry in Canberra. I love the brands that SDL stock and their support for indie labels such as my own. I have quite a few customers in WA and QLD so would love to take a trip and suss out places where I could potentially stock, but that’d be in the distant future after I grow my brand a bit more!