greater goods: the upcycling brand making streetwear sustainable

When Jaimus Tailor aged 23 failed to sell an old North Face jacket on eBay he could’ve never imagined it would lead to this new venture. But after one long night, lots of broken needles and the drive to create something sustainable, Greater Goods was born.

It’s more vital than ever to be environmentally aware and do as much as we can to slow down climate change.  Greater Goods head honcho hopes his designs inspire people to stop using single use plastic, buy a reusable bottle and show that street wear can be sustainable.

I caught up with the London based graphic designer to find out exactly how he ended up working as an upcycling seamster and how he plans to take Greater Goods to the next level.

Did you ever expect to be selling upcycled accessories?

Not at all. I’ve always been a creative type and have always wanted to explore my limits on what I can solely create. I studied graphic design while at uni but for projects I would always produce something more physical and tangible. I knew I would be making physical objects with a connection to sustainability but I would never have guessed it would be within fashion and textiles.

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How do you source the jackets for Greater Goods?

Mainly through online markets, I found that charity shops and thrift markets can be overpriced here in London so I prefer to hunt around for damaged outerwear on my laptop. I’ve always been a keen secondhand buyer so sourcing worn clothes online is second nature. I have also become known as the guy who will make use of damaged or scrap materials so quite often friends or family will source things for me or give me their own jackets or garments.

What gave you the idea to turn coats into totes/bottle bags?

The concept all came about when I wanted to sell my old North Face HyVent jacket. I picked up the jacket from eBay and it was my first solid waterproof rain jacket that I was proud of buying. I wore is religiously for years in all seasons. It was a secondhand all black HyVent with the standard pockets and fold away hood. But due to its poor condition no one was buying it. I was also learning to sew at the time and I knew that taking apart something is the best way to understand how it works. So I took apart my North Face jacket and decided to reconstruct it into a bag, I stayed up all night to finish that first bag and I broke so many needles doing so.

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What’s been your most successful seller for Greater Goods?

Probably any product that is all black, it seems to go with any outfit so it’s understandable.

Do you manufacture the items yourself?

Yeah, I make all the products myself. I’m a bit of a one-man army at the moment but I love every second of it. I’ve learnt so much and am still learning as I go, I’m also lucky to have talented friends to help out on photoshoots and support the project.

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Is Greater Good your full time job and if not what else do you do to support this venture?

It’s the main thing I am focusing currently, it requires so much time to work on all the different aspects it does take up the majority of my time. I do freelance as a graphic designer here and there as well.

Have you noticed an increase in people wanting to buy upcycled rather than brand new items?

There is definitely a trend currently with upcycled fashion, which is amazing and I feel the demand is increasing. For me personally I have always been drawn to used/secondhand/upcycled products, they hold so much more of a story and there is something nice about product that show its been functioning for a long time.

Have you got any big plans for 2020?

New collections, collabs and interview pieces.

How would you like to expand the business?

I aim to branch out into new areas such as furniture and clothing. Woodwork is also another big passion for me so it just makes sense.

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What do you do in your every day life to be more eco (other than making eco bags)?

I grew up in a very eco-household as a kid, we didn’t use any gas and lived off woodburners. We rarely travelled and I spent most of my days drawing and making things. Not much has changed to be honest. I have stopped buying new clothing totally, and have learnt to wear things to their max.

What other designer/brands inspire you?

Patagonia with their Worn Wear project. Pia Schiele (Loutre) and her reworked fabric creations, and Jay Nelson and his treehouse projects.

If you could see any celebrity with one of your bags who would it be and why?

Shia Labeouf. That Patagonia fleece, blue hoodie and tactical boot combo is the greatest outfit I’ve seen.

Has social media helped to grow Greater Goods?

Most definitely, social media has done so much for me business wise as well as personally. It’s an instant global audience, which is something that cannot be achieved easily with a physical store. Although the goal is to one day have a physical space.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Hard to pin point a single point but I would say the constant development and work that is needed is the biggest challenge. Waking up and deciding whether to work on marketing or the making side is a real challenge. There is no path to follow; instead I’m just paving my own which is challenging but exciting.

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How long does it take to go from jacket remains to finished product?

It really varies on the design but on average I would say 7 hours each. No two designs are the same and I don’t follow a pattern for any of the tote bags, each one is very unique because every garment is so different. My skills have developed more with each product which has been very clear to me so I’m always looking at new things to add and new techniques which adds a few more minutes or hours to the designs.

If you’d like to see more of Jaimus’ hand made products head over to the Greater Goods website

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