”I find it’s all about just diving in head first into the craft”
I found Jaimus a few years ago through Instagram. His page stood out to me as it was a mixture of incredible sketches, graphics and random photos that clearly mean a lot to him. You can almost see his thought processes through the photos he posts, capturing the moment he embarks on his creation.
I caught up with Jaimus a few weeks ago ahead of the launch of his new project titled Greater Goods.
How did you find the Basement and what do you enjoy about it?
I was walking around my Uni freshers fair back in 2015 when a dude came up to me and noticed my secondhand battered black Palace tri-ferg hoodie, which was honestly barely holding together. After advertising the Uni football team trials we briefly spoke about streetwear and he mentioned the Basement, I went home that night and joined the group.
Once I understood that the Basement was more than a place to buy and sell clothing I began to engage with the community and I’ve used the community for all kinds of advice as well as clothing related sales and purchases. It’s a solid community that has naturally grown through common interest; it shows how amazing social media can be.
Lets start with your age and where did you grow up?
I’m 22 years old and have been living in London my whole life. London for me is more than a city and can almost be seen as a mental mindset. The quick pace of living and the constant development is something I grew up with and reflects in my creative restless personality. It’s impossible to be bored in this city, I discover new things everyday and there is a constant flow of places to seek inspiration.
The diversity of the city exposed me to so many cultures and ways of living at a young age. My family is creative in different ways; the whole DIY culture was very strong in my house growing up. Making things out of used materials was the norm. Our furniture was just a Frankenstein of different pieces we have found, the dinning room table was made from scaffold boards and the chairs were all totally different. It was weird at the time but looking back on my childhood it helped me carve my way of thinking with a hammer and chisel.
What is it that pushed you into starting greater goods?
Greater Goods began very organically during my final term at University. I studied Graphic Design at UAL LCC but my heart was never into the ‘traditional’ on screen design. I began producing work that followed the brief guidelines but pushed the form of the final outcome. For example for my final year project I began to tap into the woodwork and sustainability side of me to produce a coffee table that was made totally from reclaimed wood. The table was a wild design, with modular legs, an opening top, and 4 foot of leg tube lights, not to mention the hand cut typography along the whole edge of the table, which read ‘Form Follows Function’ a famous quote from the architect Louis Sullivan.
When developing the project I was worried it would be seen as ‘incorrect’ and not in line with ‘graphic design’ but with art & design being very subjective I has super happy with the feedback from tutors and peers. Safe to say I was the only person that built a coffee table as graphic design final piece but it got the ball rolling on the Greater Goods project. I then decided to take the leap and really develop the Greater Goods brand, I was also very fortunate to take on a commission for my own Degree show where I designed and built 7 stools that were made completely from reclaimed hardwood and softwood which I salvaged in my local area, I also took on many other commissions soon after graduating which helped me reinvest into Greater Goods.
The Tote Bag Project began when I tried to sell my old North Face HyVent jacket but I had two flakey buyers on Ebay. By this point I gave up and decided to cut it up and make it into a bag to practice my sewing skills on my sewing machine which I had recently brought for the New Year.
How did you learn how to recreate goods? eg sewing and pattern cutting
I have often been asked how I learn new skills and I find it’s all about just diving in head first into the craft. Drawing was my first real craft I learnt, most people will know me as the person that drawings and other will know me as the person who makes things. Drawing allowed me to communicate ideas very accurately, which then transfers to product design and expressing ideas.
I learnt basic woodwork when I was young and developed my skills further through personal projects and through online tutorial vids. Once I was happy with my skills in carpentry, graphic design and drawing I began looking at other creative processes which would broaden my skills set and sewing was the on that list. I picked up a secondhand sewing machine around new years and began learning through family, neighbours and of course the Internet. Learning for me has always been super important and I don’t mean in an academic sense of acing tests, but more in the sense of skillset and developing transferable skills.
Where do you source the goods to recreate?
The Tote Bag project required me to source a lot of damaged outerwear, many being vintage pieces. I put up a post in the Basement asking to buy unwanted or damaged jackets and got in touch with some great people that supplied me with a range of jackets. While using the Basement to source materials I was also scanning on other sites such as Ebay and Depop as well as friends that I knew had damaged outerwear that was destined for the trash. Many of the tote bags also used elements from military surplus equipment, although the army equipment is used the build quality and durability is amazing. The bags are made from repurposed materials but are built to last a very long time.
I’m no stranger when it comes to jumping into a skip to pick up a broken chair or carrying a 5-meter scaffold board through an alleyway back to my house. I’ve had many weird looks but you get to the point where you don’t really care about the reactions. When I see something that has been thrown out and it has potential then im definitely taking it. It’s amazing the stuff some people will discard and not even attempt to recycle. Thomas Dambo is the master of reclaiming materials and is someone I’ve learnt a lot from.
What are the hardest parts about designing/recreating?
The hardest part I find is adapting to the materials and working with the limitations set by equipment. Often the materials control the direction of the design which is the main reason for each Tote Bag being unique and one of one. This is also the case with other product design projects I work on, whether its wood or textiles. I’ve always been one for embracing imperfections and with materials showing their story, Tom Sachs is my biggest inspiration when it comes to design and he showed me that the process is more important that the end result of a product or artwork. The difficulties in design are often the same reason that makes it enjoyable, problem solving is at the heart of design and I feel it’s important to embrace that.
This project focuses on Recycling, what can individuals do to reduce the amount we waste in regards to streetwear?
Buying, selling and trading secondhand clothing is the best way to be sustainable and to avoid fast fashion, there has been a big change in how people shop and I feel we are becoming very aware of our impact on the environment. Also supporting brands and companies that have a strong environmentally friendly background would be another great way to help support eco-minded companies, the first brand that comes to mind is Patagonia but I know other brands such as Maharishi also repurpose military gear.
How do you feel about brands now jumping on the sustainability wave and do you think it will last?
With the way things are at the moment it’s only right that brands move towards being more aware of their environmental impact. I feel people want to have a positive impact and support the practice of sustainability and by brands slowly changing their approach this would be a great way to promote the whole sustainable wave. It’s important for streetwear brands that are targeted towards my age group and younger to start promoting a positive message when it comes to protecting the environment.
I have no doubt that the sustainability trend will last but it might run as a side project. What I mean by this is that a brand might not completely convert to being totally eco friendly. The best example that comes to mind is that new Canada Goose approach Jacket that doesn’t use any fur, but Canada Goose are still using fur in their other jackets. It’s balancing that fine line which will wobble but I believe the line will stay strong and not totally break, sustainability at the moment is a trend but I feel it’s a trend that is here to stay and it’s up to brands and companies to adapt to it.
If you had to give two tips to someone who wanted to start a project for themselves in regards to the recreation of goods what would it be?
My first tip would be to invest in yourself. Tools and equipment are the heart of any craft, Rodger Federer (my favourite athlete) would be nothing without a tennis racket, but it’s important not to become too gear orientated. Buying the best equipment won’t make you any better, start off with what you budget allows then work your way up, equipment is often only as good as the person using it so learn as you go. Most equipment such as sewing machines and vinyl cutters hold there value so selling to upgrade is perfectly fine.
My second piece of advice would be to start today and don’t leave it for tomorrow. It’s totally possible to teach yourself new skills with just a few Youtube videos, and once you get going you will learn naturally if you are visual learner. Visit your local charity shop or jump into the skip at the end of your road to source materials, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the materials you’ve got hold of, think about a suitable design and then execute.