On Facing Crossroads as a Label

gothic outfit from gloomth

This year we have some big decisions to make for the next evolution of Gloomth. It can feel daunting to stand at a crossroads and have to choose a direction without having every answer, without seeing where the roads lead. There’s some comfort in knowing we’ve faced these crossroads before, and persevered whatever the choice made.

medic theme dress red cross

The first time we stood at a major brand change was when I gave up doing one-off designs myself. We’d just brought on someone to begin making items I’d designed from scratch as I couldn’t keep up with the altered-vintage pieces on my own anymore, they’d be snatched up off of ebay or the site before I’d finished the next.

Around that time some stranger who was friends with some of my friends posted an enormous essay on a public journal page itemizing all the reasons my work sucked in glorious detail. This was before internet trolling became every sexist-rejected-dude’s and angry idiot’s favorite hobby so it was crushing to find that someone would take all this time just to tear down the work I was doing. The problem was they weren’t 100% wrong (100% shitty yes, but not wrong)- I had been slipping in doing creative work because I couldn’t keep up with sales alone. I confess I basically cried an entire day over that (this is doubly funny considering how hateful the internet seems lately, where now if someone posted such an essay I’d be thrilled for the advertising/exposure). So I decided to stop doing one-off’s entirely and dedicated myself to the new designs/direction. And honestly it was the *best* choice and if I knew that person’s name I’d send them flowers today as I wouldn’t have the career I love so deeply now without that push! 

Bullshit makes a great fertilizer, and sometimes great things can come from your darkest times.

gothic lolita toronto fashion

The next crossroads was renting our first out-of-the-home studio and being able to scale up the made to order side of the business from there. We could cut work and distribute it to our seamstresses, we could store more fabrics and supplies, etc etc. I loved my sad little basement work space- at least until the sewer system for the Victorian building broke and poo/water started coming up out of a floor grate one day (Poopocalypse!). Thankfully that happened maybe 2 weeks before I moved out of it.

The most recent crossroads was 2010 when we were setting things in motion to move to a production facility so we could ship our items from stock. I was terribly sick that year, I’d had a form of pneumonia for almost 12 months at the time and my life was burning down outside of the label, high stress levels would be a vast understatement. Suddenly I found out I’d have to relocate myself and that all the plans I’d made to move forward had to be halted since I’d need to direct those funds towards survival/moving. We pulled out of the facility and collaborated with our current sewing manager to make an amazing little work space and to keep employing the people we did, which we’ve stayed in since.

embroidered skull dress gloomth

What all these crossroads have in common is a reminder that I have the most amazing support network and people in my life. I’d never have taken the leap to make my own designs without our first sewing manager, would never have gotten a studio without the 80 year old landlord letting me rent it for half what my city rent is now, would never have survived as a label without our current sewing manager dragging me up by my collar and making me persevere. There aren’t words for the gratitude I have for these people, and for everyone who’s shared our photos, bought our designs, or just watched as we continued this journey.

We’re now enduring some growing pains and researching the next step. This crossroads is super scary, but I think once the research is done and I’ve explored all options thoroughly we’ll make the best decision about the next evolution of Gloomth. It’s exciting to consider the possibilities. This isn’t our final form! And I can’t wait to see what we do next!!! 🙂


6 thoughts on “On Facing Crossroads as a Label

  1. Somewhat related but I hope Gloomth participates in this year’s Fashion Revolution Week festivities. I’ve not seen a single goth/alterantive brand posting :/
    I have mad respect for your choice to have Gloomth sourced and made locally. Ethics ❤

    1. Hi! I don’t know anything about the Fashion Revolution Week? Is it like a blog roll thing or??? Sorry, I am not terribly involved in the blog scene.

      Thank you! It’s been pretty important to me to keep production local whenever I can for the label. As we’ve grown that’s become more and more difficult but it’s worth the effort to create jobs and employ people in my community. Hopefully we can continue to do that into the future. I promise to be super honest and clear about how/where all of our work is made so people can make informed choices. 🙂

      1. Sorry for the late reply. I only saw this now :C
        Fashion Revolution is a global movement that aims for transparency and reform in the fashion industry in terms of their impact to people and planet. They release a yearly paper called the “Fashion Transparency Index” that lists both positive and negative impacts brands have on those two things.
        The whole movement started because of the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 that killed over 1000 garment workers in Bangladesh.
        While alternative fashion isn’t exactly as widespread as the clothing giants H&M or F21, I feel like our community ought to care about the impact we have too.
        So happy to see that indie brands like yours publish this stuff without a need for the public or NGOs to ask. ;w;

        Here’s the site if ever you wanna check it out:

  2. While it’s past Fashion Revolution week, they still do try to repost images from brands year round.
    That sounds lovely. Looking forward to your photos. 🙂

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I can’t believe I missed that post >-<

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