Meet talented Adelaide seamstress Natalie Ivanov, whose work is not only detailed and beautiful, but good for the planet, too.
Currently 30 years old, Natalie has been sewing for over half her life. “I’m 30 now and have probably been sewing for 20 of those years.” Natalie was inspired by her mother, who was a dressmaker. “She had a sewing room at home and I would always be in there with her, watching,” she says. “I was forever using the scraps to make dolls clothes and then things for myself, too.”
Natalie has been working in sew workrooms for the last 11 years, and is continually gaining momentum in the industry. “I have a lot going on at the moment”, she explains. Aside from working 4 days a week at Jem Designs, Natalie has her own freelance business, ‘Natalie and the Seams’. “I pattern and sample make for various brands around Adelaide, including Acler, Vege Threads, Good Studios and most recently Cristina Tridente.” But, that’s not all. Alongside this, Natalie has her own swimwear label, titled RE-SWIM CLUB.
Natalie explains that during her work in sew rooms, she became aware of the large-scale waste involved in the cut and sew process. In her line of work, Natalie would see “off cuts filling up bins, sizeable scraps going into tubs, and ends of rolls or dead stock to sit on a shelf, collecting dust for years”.
After seeing this immense waste, Natalie decided to do something about it, and RE-SWIM CLUB was born. The swimwear line recycles off-cuts and remnants of otherwise discarded fabrics; “my intentions are to help eliminate how much waste we are putting into landfill, and cutting down on the resources used to crease more of something we already have.” Natalie explains that for a number of reasons, synthetic products are terrible for the environment – “so if I can try and use up a small quantity of them I feel like I’m achieving something”. Natalie hopes that her swimwear brand takes off and “encourages others to re-use waste”.
Natalie is passionate about the ethical and environmental impacts of the fashion industry; aside from her work in RE-SWIM CLUB, she vows not to wear or work with any animal products. “I don’t understand why we as humans feel we have the right to use animals in the way we do. We are an incredibly intelligent race yet we still cause pain and suffering to other living creatures.”
Natalie is also concerned with the issues surrounding overseas manufacturing, sweatshops and child labour, and is dedicated to continually educating herself on these problems. “As I’m getting older I’m watching more, reading more and talking more to people, and just really learning to make the right ethical choices.”
Highlights of Natalie’s career so far include completing the Advanced Diploma in Applied Fashion and Technology at TAFE, where her work was involved in the graduate parade and she “was lucky enough to take out 2 of the 3 awards of the night”. Another proud moment was collaborating with Emily Sheahan of SWOP Adelaide to create SWOP The Seams; “we used pre-loved clothing to create a unique collection paraded on the night”.
In the future, Natalie hopes to continue to work in a meaningful manner to create change, and to strive to work as ethically as possible.
All photos supplied by Natalie Ivanov.