Brooke Hammond is a designer, pattern maker, artist and fashion label owner who is based in Toi Auaha. Her practice is focused on sustainable fashion and designing garments that will last, as well as being contemporary.
She spoke with us about her label, Sumor.
Tell me what it is you do?
I own a fashion label called Sumor (meaning Summer in Old English), which I run out of my studio at Toi Auaha. It’s a new business built on my lifelong passion and practise making clothing. I like to call it fancy streetwear – a combination of comfy t-shirts with interesting hand drawn graphics with more complicated garments made from natural or up-cycled fabrics.
I spend most of my time patternmaking, sewing, designing, and doing admin for the brand.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on an autumn/winter collection. It includes a pleated woolen skirt, a long sleeve dress, silk bloomers, and long sleeve tops. The clothes are very flexible in how they can be styled and layered to suit different seasons.
What is your process for your creative work?
Sometimes an idea starts with found fabric, sometimes it’s seeing a garment that you’d like to make your own version of, and sometimes it’s based around an idea of an imagined person. In the simplified and linear version, it’s; design – source materials – pattern make – construct – photograph. But each of those stages intersect and have processes in themselves.
With patternmaking for example, I like to make very rough mock ups and then play around and change details once it’s fabricated, sometimes the design completely changes, or I’ll decide to make it in a different fabric to change the look.
Photography also involves a lot of decision making, it’s essentially constructing a whole visual identity for the brand. Design also can encompass drawings, painting, graphic design, experimentation with fabric.
And all decisions are ultimately limited/informed by ensuring everything is done in a way that is responsible in caring for the planet.
How are you finding being in Toi Auaha?
Amazing! Last year I was working from home, and although I was really fortunate to have a spare room to work from, it was very isolating and unhealthy. Toi Auaha is refreshing – everyone is friendly, interesting and interested. Being able to do my mahi in a creative community environment has made a huge difference to my mental health and creative output.
Where are you finding inspiration from at the moment?
Always women! And always nature, recently I got some omega plums and have been obsessing over how beautiful the skin is; I’d love to create a fabric print which looks just like that. Also, the alien costume design in Star Trek : The Next Generation (haha) fantasy, sci-fi, and period costume always has such interesting design details to pull from.
How do you feel about creativity in Ōtautahi right now?
I’m fairly new to Ōtautahi so can’t speak to how the creative landscape has changed over the years, but it feels like there’s a lot of opportunity for growth here. The community is so friendly, and I’ve found some really inspiring craftspeople who live here. There are a lot of people doing natural dying and using resources the whenua gives us, it inspires me to work slower and more holistically.
Check out Brooke’s amazing designs here: