RUTT is an Australian brand consisting of unique knitwear that aligns a deep respect for traditional craftsmanship with a renewable, technically innovative approach to fibre. Working in the fashion industry since she was a teenager, Rachel Rutt became acutely aware of the damages of fast fashion and the growing value of waste reduction and creating a circular fashion economy. Her roots as a craftsperson in hand knitting and weaving ground the brand in a simple philosophy of quality, gentleness and care in each and every aspect of our pieces.
When we crossed paths with Rachel, we knew that she would be a perfect fit for our slow made, waste-led processes. Read on to discover more about the brand and the talented designer behind it.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how Rutt came to be.
A: My name is Rachel and I live in Australia. Since I was a teenager I worked in fashion - first as a model and then growing into designing through my love of knitting. I used my love of textiles as an artistic expression for many years, starting with wearables and moving later into handwoven pieces. Finally, last year, I decided it was time to align my love of knitwear and my career working in fashion together to make my own brand.
Q: How did you learn to knit?
A: When I first immigrated to Australia, I was 15, and didn’t know anyone or anything about the culture here. It felt truly isolating. My mum and I were on our own and there were many difficulties in starting a new life. She tried very hard in that first year to help me find activities and hobbies to keep engaged. One of her friends, a fellow migrant from Hong Kong, showed me how to knit. When she was growing up, outgrowing her jumpers meant that her mother would simply unravel them and make a new one from the old yarns, adding on for size. I loved this concept. The possibilities for reinvention, for recycling, and the heirloom aspect really drew me in. Then the method and rhythm drove me further. I fell in love from the moment I tried my first cast on.
Q: Tell us about why you wanted to explore working with deadstock and your experience of working with The Endery.
A: As a hand maker, I have come to appreciate deeply the beauty of slow craft. Traditional textile craft offers a window into the historical past of our humanity, but is also a driving force into the future of sustainability and mindful consumption.
Because I have worked in the fashion industry for my whole life, I have become increasingly aware of the damage fast fashion garments are doing to our planet. It made me realise how important it is to reduce our waste in every way possible.Aligning these two concepts became the ground rules when starting RUTT. My products had to tick the boxes of being gentle on the planet, increase awareness of slower and hand made methods of production, celebrate the value of artisan craft, and reduce waste as much as possible. Thus, working with the Endery on a deadstock collaboration was a no brainer!
Q: We know you’re as passionate about mending as we are! Why is mending important in today’s society do you think?
A: Firstly, because it’s practical! Secondly, because by spending the universal commodity of Time to mend something, we instantly create a deeper bond with it. We are less likely to let it go, more inclined to care for it well. Also, because we might not always be bothered to mend, it encourages us to invest in higher quality pieces so that we don’t have to mend as often! Lastly, it creates genuine and potent conversation. Not just about upcycling and reducing waste, but showcasing personality and flair, too.
A: I adore cabbage as a vegetable.Q: What is the main inspiration behind the brand and the collections you design?
A: I design pieces that I would like to find in the world myself. I am using memories from my childhood, colour, and texture to evoke feeling. The beauty of knitwear is that it is versatile and comfortable, and those are defining factors. My overall goal is to create modern heritage knitwear.
I want the world to know that artisan or hand made doesn’t have to mean Etsy. It doesn’t have to mean Grandma or wonky. It means clothes that speak a unique and vibrant language through their quality and craftsmanship. It means Vogue. It means the future.
Q: Do you have any final tips for any budding female entrepreneurs, or knitters?
A: There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who believes in herself. I’m learning that. Every day. Find what you love. Say all the excuses you can make to not do it. Then laugh at them and yourself. Make a small goal and take a tiny step towards it. And I mean TINY. It all seems to be one tiny step after the other until it’s not.
A: I’m so excited about my next collaboration with the Endery arriving at the very end of the year! Shhhhh…..it’s swimwear! Watch this space.