The following Interview Is With Sustainable Brand: RESPONSIVE TEXTILES
Produced by Alison Hernon
1. Please tell us the designer/owner name:
Kristine Rodriguez (Kristine of RESPONSIVE TEXTILES)
2. Can you please tell us about RESPONSIVE TEXTILES? How did you get started?
RESPONSIVE TEXTILES is a sustainable knitwear brand, handmade out of my studio. Let’s just say, this is not your grandma’s knitwear. My start into knitting happened almost by accident. I was finishing up a degree in graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design when I discovered the knitting machine. It was in an elective class of all places, and it turned out to be a game changer. Knitting has as been my path ever since. I moved to San Diego after college, bought a machine of my own and continued to teach myself the craft. Since there were not many fashion jobs in town, I threw caution to the wind, started RESPONSIVE TEXTILES and jumped right into this dream job of mine.
3. How do you represent “Slow” Fashion (Sustainable Clothing)?
Proudly, RESPONSIVE TEXTILES represents slow fashion in several ways. First, the yarns I use are either natural fibers or eco-friendly ones. Secondly, our manufacturing is completely in-house and mechanical. Every garment is created by me on my hand-powered knitting machine. So rather than electricity, these pieces are a product of human energy, focus and care. They are created on a made-to-order basis, which results in very little waste. And since all pieces are sold directly to the customer, shipping materials and travel are kept to a minimum.
4. We love that everything at Responsive Textiles is handmade! What is your thoughts on clothing being handmade vs mass produced?
As you may have guessed, I prefer handmade over mass-produced clothing. It boils down to quality vs. quantity. Fast fashion makes it possible to own a lot of cheap clothes, but no one really needs fifty-two seasons in a year. On the other hand, owning handmade garments is really owning wearable art. Their high-quality craftsmanship and materials means they will last longer than their fast fashion counterparts. And their production is much kinder to the environment, using less energy and creating less waste. As a fashion lover and human on this Earth, supporting handmade clothing as much as possible just makes more sense.
5. Where does your yarn come from?
I source my yarn from all over, but I like to focus on mills in North and South America. For example, most of my wool comes from Massachusetts, but I get some from Uruguay as well.
6. Please tell us about your philosophy on the brand?
Our philosophy is that clothes are your second skin, and they should be as unique and human as you are. RSPNSV TXTLS honors this through slow fashion and thoughtful design. The brand strives to push beyond what is expected of handmade knits, while still maintaining the ease and comfort inherent in the craft. The result is clothing, which is polished, intentional, and most importantly human.
7. How did you get your name and what is the significance of it?
Our name is indicative of our mission: to create clothing that is RESPONSIVE to your individuality, body and lifestyle. Though slow fashion and thoughtful design, we create well-made, functional pieces that offer an element of the unexpected.
8. How long has Responsive Textiles been around?
Since October of 2014, three crazy years.
9. Where are you based?
Currently, we are in Augusta, GA.
10. Do you personally only wear sustainable clothing? If so, what brands...
Sadly, I do not. However, my closet is intentionally curated by Vivienne Westwood’s “buy less, choose well, make is last” philosophy. I have found this to be the best balance between sustainable living practices and my budget. So even though I do not wear only sustainable clothing, there is very little excess in my wardrobe. I do not shop often. And when I do, I prioritize supporting independent designers and brands, who represent quality craftsmanship, good design and low-impact practices. I mostly wear RESPONSIVE TEXTILES, but some other sustainable/low-impact designers I love include Lily Stan Design Studio, Untitled Thoughts and Ryan Roche.
11. The Pom-Pom piece was featured on Summer Rayne Oakes for Jejune’s next editorial feature. What do you think of that and especially since Summer is such an advocate for Sustainable/eco-friendly branding?
I love it! It is very rewarding to see my pieces on empowered, intelligent women like Summer. The fact that she is also an advocate for sustainable fashion, which is a huge priority of mine, made the collaboration even more special.
12. Any celebrities wear your product?
Honestly, I have no clue. I do not think so. We are still a very small brand.
13. What kind of press have you received?
Our press ranges. Recently, a passion project of RSPNSV TXTLS, the “We are Woman” series, was featured in Makers Magazine. We were also recently included Slayed Magazine’s feature of the wonderful yogi/business woman Kerri Verna, and in Glamour UK’s September issue.
Featured Photo, below are the credits:
Summer Rayne Oakes Wearing RESPONSIVE TEXTILES
RESPONSIVE TEXTILES INTERVIEW BY ALISON HERNON
Model: Summer Rayne Oakes @homesteadbrooklyn
Photography: Kira Bucca @kirabuccaphotography
Fashion Stylist: Alison Hernon @718blonde
Hair: Damion Monzillo @damianmonzillo
Makeup: Joshua Barrett @joshuabeauty