Interview with Visible Mender Tessa Solomons of Tessa the Dresser
Tessa Solomons created playful designs through the art of visible mends, turning flaws into fun and sustainable works of art. As a part of SAMPLE Spring at the Design District in the Greenwich Peninsula, she'll be leading a free workshop on darning a jumper. In anticipation of this event, we chatted to Tessa about her unique practice and brand. Read on to find out more.
How did you start your journey towards creating your label, Tessa the Dresser?
I started out embroidering, embellishing and mending my own clothes. When friends and family (mostly my sister-in-law) asked me to add my designs to their holey clothes, I got such great feedback that I just kept going. The thing that really inspires me is how customers pretty much always tell me they love the new version of their clothes more with a visible mend.
What's your brand's mission?
My mission is to elevate and celebrate the art of repair. And to do so visibly with love and humour. I aim to offer a stylish and colourful way to invest in the clothes we already own and want to keep wearing.
What are some of your inspirations?
Kate Sekules is a huge inspiration. I love her punk attitude, creativity and belief that all mends are equal–at least I think she believes that! She has created a global community of menders through #MendMarch and #VisibleRepair that encourages sharing, cheers and inspires.
Orsola de Castro at Fashion Revolution is also inspiring for being there before the rest and leading powerful campaigns that connect us to the people who make our clothes and textiles.
Claire Press: Wardrobe Crisis is another great one, never failing to deliver a great interview.
What is your favourite project that you have worked on to date?
My friend Stephen's very holey Jumper. I remember seeing Stephen wearing it decades ago, but it had since been munched at vigorously by moths. Yet he kept it, unable to part with it. I had carte blanche to do whatever design I wanted, which is a dream. Being able to bring a cherished item back to life, create a new unique version and invent some characters is just brilliant.
What makes Tessa the Dresser different from other labels?
The great thing about my visible mending service is that every commission I get is different. Every rip or hole or stain is different and every item has its own story, and I love hearing those stories.