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Made-to-order Sydney label Threadgate takes pleasure in the process behind its pieces

WORDS BY KATE STREADER

“I find some limitations can be good for the design process and force you to be more creative with what you have.”

Knowing where your clothes came from and how they were made makes them that little bit more special – you can almost feel the labour of love that went into designing, cutting, and sewing the piece before it made its way into your wardrobe.

Based on Gadigal Land/Sydney, slow fashion label Threadgate invests a great level of care and consideration into the production process, making each item to order by hand. Designed and made by founder Gemma Threadgate, the label specialises in practical clothing that’s classic yet unusual.


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Offering versatile basics, transeasonal layering pieces, unique homewares and essential accessories in fun colours and prints, Threadgate is the culmination of Gemma’s deep knowledge of textiles, design, and screenprinting.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background? 

My name is Gemma Threadgate and I design and run the label Threadgate. I have a background in fashion and textile design and fashion production, which started with studying design and clothing production at TAFE in my early 20s. In 2016 I decided to study textile design and screen printing which led to the beginning of my label, Threadgate. Since then, I have worked with Australian designer Emma Mulholland on her eponymous label and, more recently, Em on Holiday and Ghanaian non-for-profit label, Yevu.

How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges. 

Threadgate was started in my first year out of studying with my final collection going into production. I had sewn and made my own clothes since I was young, so having my own label was always a dream. Studying textiles seemed the last step in building my fashion knowledge so I felt ready to go for it.

Threadgate is a slow fashion label, so most parts of production are done by myself on a made-to-order process. The challenges that arose (that still come up today) are mainly time and money to do the things I want to do with Threadgate, although I find some limitations can be good for the design process and force you to be more creative with what you have.

 

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What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the brand now? 

With Threadgate I wanted to create a label that was considerate in all steps of production to create pieces that were original, classic, versatile and that would be treasured and worn for many seasons. The ethos of Threadgate has stayed the same I have just learned what works and what doesn’t and made changes along the way to stay true to my initial goal.

How would you describe Threadgate to someone who’s never seen it before? 

Threadgate is nice, different, and unusual.

 

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Where did the name come from? 

The name came from my surname, which came from my dad.

What are you most proud of in your work on your label? 

I am most proud of the physical work that I put into Threadgate with my screen printing. It would be easy to outsource, and maybe cheaper, but I enjoy the process and I’m proud of the different print designs I have made along the way. The latest collection I screen printed while I was pregnant, which I didn’t imagine being able to do.

 

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What do you wish you knew when you started? 

I wish I knew more about the business side of having a label, like doing taxes. Initially, I had some stockists, which was good and exciting but hard for a slow fashion made-to-order label.

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now? 

Since having a baby late last year I haven’t been on top of the fashion scene, but I do follow some label Sydney labels that are doing exciting things with recycled materials, deadstock tees and fabric and upcycling. I am excited about Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp, I bought one of their logo removal tees which has been a perfect breastfeeding tee!

I also love Towelie which makes clothing and accessories out of old towels. And lastly, Gravy by artist Emma Finneran who makes one-off hand-dyed multifunctional sarongs which are great to wear, swaddle a baby or have a picnic on. My dream collaborator would be artist Maggie Brink – we have been talking about collaborating for a while, so hopefully, it comes to fruition later this year.

Who is in your wardrobe right now? 

I haven’t bought much in about two years with being pregnant and now having a baby – some key pieces I have are from Baserange, Towelie, Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp, Threadgate and Uniqlo.

How can we buy one of your pieces? 

My pieces are available exclusively through my webstore.

Browse the Threadgate collection here.

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