BONUS INTERVIEW: Taeden Hall of Gloomth
May 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Gloomth and the Cult of Melancholy is a handmade clothing line that describes itself as “modern mourning attire and romantic frills for decadent souls.” Established by artist, designer, and sewist Taeden Hall in 2007, Gloomth is reminiscent of a mixture of Goth, Lolita, and historical fashion. With an abundance of ruffles, lace, and cupcake silhouettes, along with deep, rich colors and elegant patterns and details, this brand creates a style that is both feminine and funereal.
What does your office/studio look like? What kinds of things do you keep around you for inspiration? What kinds of soundscapes do you surround yourself with?
My home office is the spare bedroom in my apartment, all of our clothes are made in a small production studio outside of the city I live in. My home office is a tangled little rat’s nest, walls filled with street fashion snaps and inspiration images, mint green shelves, a 6 foot prop coffin, and giant paper flowers. It has the predictable things like my desktop computer and lots of drawer sets and a messy craft table. My apartment itself is where I amass inspiration, collecting objects that excite or fascinate me. I am a big fan of mood boards and have one in my dining room and the exterior of my fridge doubles as a second. As for sound if I am doing web design often I have shows on netflix playing, or simply whatever music I like that day in the background.
What does the production studio look like?
Our production studio is pretty industrial looking, large professional sewing machines, oak tag patterns, and bolts of fabric. We have a big wipe board with the current orders/info on it.
What does a typical workday look like for you? What is your schedule like?
My schedule varies week to week. It usually begins with setting up our shop blog entry for the day and making sure all of the social media profiles we operate are queued up. Then answering emails and phone calls, ordering supplies if need be, arranging photoshoots/models. Other days can be spent working on props for shoots or at actual photoshoots themselves.
What kinds of software and computing devices, if any, do you use to get your work done?
I use a pc desktop computer, and lots of Adobe software.
What kinds of tools do you use? How do you use them? What is your creative process like?
I do very little actual sewing now in my role at Gloomth presently, it’s almost entirely handled by other members of our team so I can dedicate myself to all of the other daily operations tasks, product development, advertising, and photoshoot coordination. I use everything from a computer to hot glue and pipecleaners to complete all of these jobs, I guess I wear a lot of hats with my job! When developing a new design for the catalogue I tend to sketch it everywhere for a couple weeks before I ever draft the final version, I research the theme or idea heavily, look for inspiration, source fabrics, and finally sketch the final design for pattern development. We make our patterns in house.
What kind of mental processes help you get work done?
I am pretty good at keeping myself on task. It helps to make a lot of lists and schedule myself I find, everyone works differently however. If I am not inspired I will go to museums or galleries and walk around, find new music, or pour through websites that inspire me.
What are some of the websites and music that inspire you?
The websites I look at for inspiration include things like tumblr blogs, a few artist sites, and any of the historical fashion collections on the MET’s site. My musical tastes are constantly shifting, I’ll get rapidly excited about a genre or artist and devour everything I can on that for about 6 months and then drop it completely. It leaves me with a pretty eclectic collection and difficulty explaining my tastes.
What does “handmade” mean to you?
Handmade is very important to me and my label. There is a sense of romance attached to the concept of clothes made by hand, things made with love and dedication are something modern society has largely bypassed for cheap and instant solutions. Many people have no idea about the conditions in which their garments are made, and often these conditions are quite terrible- we didn’t want to contribute to that. When I began Gloomth I knew I wanted the clothing made locally and by hand, by individuals who are passionate about what we’re doing- that sense of excitement is contagious and I think our customers echo that.
What inspires you in the creation of your objects?
Everything! I am always obsessing over something. A lot of our designs are influenced by historical eras, wildflowers, subculture fashions, and all sorts of things.
What would you say is the one thing or group of things that ties it all together? How would you describe your aesthetic as a whole?
Our pieces are frilly and feminine, everything we do has a signature darkness and strangeness to it.
What do the objects you create mean to you?
Gloomth is my little monster, it’s the expression of my creative soul and something I am so thankful I am able to do. I truly love seeing our designs being worn, coordinated in unique and original ways.
What do the materials you use mean to you?
Our materials are reminiscent of simpler eras in clothing construction- soft cotton blends and lots of hand sewn details.
How do you transfer your material presence, in terms of your self and your handmade objects, to the digital world?
Everything we sell is something I would personally wear. I’m very selfish in my design work I suppose, creating items I wish I had for my own wardrobe. My personality is present throughout the label, the world in which Gloomth exists and in our photoshoots.
How do you balance the physical and the digital? Do you prefer digitized media or analog media, etc.?
Gloomth exists in both mediums- we have a large digital presence but we create tangible clothing that people can wear “offline”, in that way I get a balance of both. Both types of media are vital to our brand and to myself, I’m not certain I could choose one over the other.
How do you use the internet to connect with others interested in the same kind of work and aesthetic? How do you interact with them offline?
Gloomth has a presence on a lot of social media websites, which helps us share our world with others. Offline we often interact with people at events or shows, or on the phone- it’s a little more difficult to express our world at a tradeshow than it is online.
Can you tell me more about why it’s more difficult?
It’s easy to share a visual sense of our world online, our website expresses it, our photographs and shoots. When you’re assembling a booth at a tradeshow they don’t always allow elaborate mini-world set ups, it becomes solely about the clothes- and that does convey our universe, but really just the tangible portion. We end up relying on projections and participating in more arts focused events rather than sales ones as a result.
Do you consider yourself part of a subcultural community? What name would you give it?
I believe Gloomth skirts the edges of quite a few subcultures but we don’t really suit any single one specifically. We often joke that we are the misfits among misfits.
With that in mind, and with the fluidity of group association that the internet allows, would you say that the word “subculture” still has meaning? Why or why not?
I think subculture still has meaning because the people interested in these topics and connecting through them are still not the “norm”. Not everyone loves “Gothic and Lolita”, not everyone gets excited for Victorian inspired apparel. It’s still different than mainstream, so in that sense subculture as a term remains valid I think. It’s just become so much more easy to connect with others with the same interests now!