Sunday, June 5, 2011

Alex Trimmer, designer of SOSUME

Sourcing eco-conscious materials from across the globe, SOSUME designs tread lightly on the earth. Alex Trimmer, the brains behind the three year old Melbourne-based label, tells of the journey so far...

Fill in the brackets: My name is (Alex Trimmer) and SOSUME in three words for me would be (sophisticated)(timeless)(understated)

Put your itunes on shuffle - what is the first song that plays and explain why it is there/why do you like it.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Ain’t No Easy Way. It’s there because my mate used to make these amazing mixes for us all when we backpacked. This was the second track… It’s a good sounding track, what can I say?

You originally have a degree in commerce - have you always been drawn to fashion, or has your involvement begun recently?
I’ve always had an appreciation for some types of fashion but yes, I’ve only been seriously drawn to it in recent years, since the inception of SOSUME.

What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
Go with your gut and know how to turn negatives into positives.

SOSUME was established in 2008 - can you recap where the idea first came from and how it was evolved?
I saw a gap in the market for contemporary sustainable fashion. I remember always seeing very dull, clichéd garments that were claiming to be organic or “green” in some way or another. The fabrics were coarse and the drape was unflattering. I embarked on a mission to source sublimely soft jersey that are cashmere to the touch and are sustainable, even more so than organic cotton. I’ve evolved over the seasons and offer a larger range of styles with varying sustainable fabrics.

If I could only eat at one cafe/restaurant/friend's kitchen forever, it would be: my mother would rank highly although I would have to say Il Solito Posto in Melbourne

Why is 100% Australian manufacturing important to SOSUME?
It’s about quality control, flexibility in manufacturing cycles and processes, keeping the Aussie textile manufacturing industry alive, supporting Aussie jobs, minimising freight costs (and pollutants!), and retaining relationships.

What inspires you?
What I see on the street through to history and even costume design from old films. Everything really. Colour usually comes from interesting interiors- they always seem to nail colour coordination.

Fill in the brackets: As a child, I really liked (BMX bikes), and hated (spiders)

If you were reincarnated as a character from a book/film/myth, who would you want to be?
A bird. Flying is awesome.

SOSUME's designs use emu leather from North Queensland, lyocell (made from vegetable matter/wood pulp) from South Korea, micro modal (made from 100% beach wood cellulose) from France, GOTS certified sheep wool from Uruguay and PETA certified raw silk from India - What is the importance of sourcing ecologically conscious materials, particularly for the fashion industry?
It’s showing that you don’t have to sacrifice your current style to wear sustainable clothes. All of these fabrics have beneficial properties such as high breathability, good absorption rates, warmth, comfort, etc, not to mention have significantly reduced water consumption, potential landfill issues, and reduced chemical runoffs to their conventional counterparts.

My favourite place in the world is: New York

What actions have you taken to reduce your personal carbon footprint?
Well I started an eco-friendly company in the hope to take over the market share of other non-sustainable companies… besides that I sold my car, work close to where I live, wear a lot of my own designs and use energy saving lights throughout my house!

What is your favourite piece from SOSUME's newest collection? Why?
The Long Coat (see middle picture below) because I’ve never made a piece like it and it feels so dramatic. When someone wears it, they look so powerful and dominant.

If you could make a public holiday, what would it be called and what would the day's customs involve?
I would make a public holiday the day after another current public holiday and call it “another day off” and you wouldn’t have to do a thing. Everyone loves 4 days off ☺

Describe the process, from inception to the final product, of how your designs are made.
Source inspiration (history, interiors), sketch and annotate images, discuss with pattern maker, go to toile, fit, correct if needed, go to first sample, fit, correct if needed, go to second sample, fit, should not need any corrections. Duplicate for sales and press, then start showings! Apply to about 40 designs and hey presto!

From where does the name "SOSUME" originate?
“So sue me”. It was first reaction to the fact that someone in Canada had the naming rights to my original brand name idea!

If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hmmm, white tee, black jeans, leather jacket, and desert boots. Seems like that would work. Or Pyjamas- gotta be comfortable!

Do you have a favourite artist/artwork?
I actually love a lot of the works you see in cafés around the neighbourhoods of different cities.

Where do you see SOSUME this time in 3 years?
I would like to see a collaboration of some sort, whatever that might entail. I would also like to expand my Australian wholesale accounts, not to mention keep slugging away in the US. I would love to see a following from Europe but I’m really interested in expanding in East and South East Asia first.

If you were a serial killer, what would your trademark be?
A smiley face- it creeps me out.


  1. Love the last question albeit it is a little creepy :P

  2. hey,
    the story's quite simple - it's the place nearby my cousins, we were just walking on the first spring/summer days:)
    i see your blog evolved and it seems to get only better and better! do you feel this somehow inspiring vibe too? i see you're doing lots of interesting stuff fashion-related, that's great. i'll keep on reading for sure.

    and the name of the label is just perfect!

  3. This interview is so inspiring! I live in Melbourne and I have never heard of Sosume before. His values seem similar to mine (I sew clothes) but like, without fashion school I wouldn't know the figures in the Australian textile industry. I'm wondering if there's a black book for that? Haha. Fantastic interview, again.