Connie KalerHello, I’m Connie, the owner and founder of Fabulist Costume. My business grew from a love of dressing-up and partying: from the moment I arrived in London, fresh faced from Devon in 1991, I began to explore the underground club and party scenes that London had to offer. My journey began right at the emergence of UK Garage in the early 90s, moving on to the mixed-gay crowds of Funky House in the early noughties which, soon after led to my discovery of the London Fetish and Alternative Cabaret scenes.
As much I love the unrivalled creativity and edginess of the underground and alternative club scenes, since having a child in 2013, the sleepless nights were not sustainable for me physically and mentally (although I still enjoy an occasional dip into the underground party scene). Fortunately, the sober partying scene and the smaller, greener festivals that are appearing in line with growing well-being movement, mean that we can still dance the night (or day) away whilst being conscious of my our physical health and that of the planet. Day time ‘raving’ is also on the rise, which provides the opportunity to party all day and still be in bed before Cinderella’s ballgown turns to rags.
I have loved dressing up since I was a young child and nearly always wore second hand or recycled clothes. At a very early age, this was obviously not a conscious choice but, as a young adult I wore second hand and vintage, not just because it was cheaper but, because it was, as I soon discovered, an amazing catalyst for creativity in dressing-up. There are no formulaic capsule wardrobes in Oxfam! Then, on discovering the alternative club scene, my creative expression through dressing-up was taken to a whole new level.
Now, however, I'm more conscious of the effect the fashion industry has on the environment and, ultimately, humanity. The more I learn about sustainability, the more I realise how little I know; it is a constant learning process but an essential one.
In my day-to-day life, I am committed to living sustainably and minimising my carbon emissions demonstrating my commitment through actions:
I only buy used and pre-loved clothing and costume items.
My bespoke pieces are also made from materials and components that I already have or that are sourced sustainably.
I don’t own a car or vehicle, so all my journeys are completed on foot or public transport. I rarely travel overseas.
I shop locally when I can and try to source ethically made and sustainable products as much as possible, including the food I consume.
I am proud that I have instilled these sustainability values consistently throughout my life – in my business, my personal life and my family life and I am most proud that my daughter has inherited these values.
History of the Brand
After being one of the stylists chosen by Mary Portas for her BBC programme, Mary Queen of Shops and the subsequent women's clothing department, I decided that my own clothing business that reflected my ethos and love of dressing up was the best way forward.
I was inspired by the Portas’ government report on the High Street to initially set up my own vintage market stall in Walthamstow, which I named Connie Kaler’s Curious Clobber. I spent a couple of years, in my spare time, doing various fairs and markets around East London, and then, a year or so after becoming a mother, I was able to quit mainstream retail all together and in January 2015 Fabulist Costume was born!