How Greater Goods Turns Discarded Outwear Into EDC Accessories

A Q&A with the founder, designer, and maker of the London-based upstart making tote bags and more from vintage techwear

How Greater Goods Turns Discarded Outwear Into EDC Accessories

Author

Alex Rakestraw

Photographer

Greater Goods

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Alex Rakestraw is a writer, strategist, and creative based in New York. He once had a nightmare about a lost coat.

Whether it’s covering up a fabric tear or showing off a successful summit bid, in the outdoors, patches tell stories.

And Jaimus Tailor, the forward-thinking designer behind Greater Goods, is following that yarn.

Working from his North London flat, the 23-year-old Tailor (fitting name btw) has quietly built one of the most interesting emerging brands in outdoors fashion, selling functional accessories cut and sewn by hand from off-cuts of upcycled gear (taking upwards of seven hours per piece). For each collection he sources worn-out outdoors apparel—an old shell here, some expired pants there—then gives it new life through an aesthetics-driven approach to upcycling.

[Greater Goods' new bag collection is now live]

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The result: a Freitag of functionwear, one handmade bag at a time.

As buzz continues to grow around upcycling and reselling of gently used product on a commercial level—Arc'teryx Rock Solid, The North Face Renewed, Patagonia Worn Wear & ReCrafted—it's exciting to see a young independent designer inspired by sustainability but not limited by it.

And though a Greater Goods tote may never set foot on the trail—though it would surely function just fine in such an environment—as many of the brand’s early adopters have found the brand by being at the forefront of the cultural trend towards functional outerwear as fashion. For outdoorists with city digs, these design-minded statement pieces bring a taste of “out there” close to home.

We recently caught up with Tailor to learn more about his brand, his process, and how his background in design led to Greater Goods.

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Let’s start things off right. What’s your story?

My name is Jaimus Tailor, I’m 23, and I’ve always been a creative. I started in illustration as a teen, then got into graphic design, which I actually went to school for. But while I was studying, learning all the principles and boring stuff, it just wasn’t ticking for me. I couldn’t rest behind a computer. I wanted more. So I got into woodworking.

Through woodworking, I found a calling for product dev. I’ve always been interested in analog methods. It’s more engaging to me—having tactile things there instead of a digital screen. The sewing bit came about as a New Year’s Resolution—I’ve been into clothing, but wanted to learn how to make the things themselves. So I bought a sewing machine on 1 Jan 2019, started practicing, and began looking for a new project.

"Sustainability is very current, but it’s always serious. I want to make it more lighthearted."

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And Greater Goods was that project?

I was trying to sell an old North Face jacket on eBay, but had 3 buyers in a row flake on me, so I got tired of dealing with that and just decided to cut it up. I took the scraps from that jacket and made a tote bag. Then it kind of blew up.

My dad was a handyman, and I grew up in a household where making things from recycled material was just normal. My space is just bags of cuts. The lining from that first jacket hasn’t even been touched yet. I’ve got fabrics I take hold of and just wait for the right project.

Where do the goods you make Greater come from?

Now that I’ve become that person who uses fabrics that are outdoors materials, people just give me stuff. Friends will come to me with a pair of GORE-TEX trousers that had been just completely destroyed and will be like, ‘do you want them?’”

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What inspires your designs, both functionally and aesthetically?

I go with products I need. I made the [first] tote bag for myself, and with the bottle bags, I just had all these off-cuts and looked for a project.

It’s more design than art. I never go in with a plan of “this bag is going to look like this.” A lot of these jackets are so complex, their shape dictates the final outcome. It’s like woodwork—the scrap piece of wood dictates what the final piece can be. Shape and color is all decided beforehand, you just have to adapt and work around it.

Aesthetically, I just want to keep it playful, colorful, and bright. Sustainability is very current, but it’s always serious. I wanted to make it more lighthearted. 

"It’s like woodwork—the scrap piece dictates what the final piece can be.You just have to adapt and work around it."

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Tell us about your connection the outdoors.

I don’t know where my fascination with the outdoors came from. My first TNF jacket was such a big purchase for me as a young teen, and I just kind of stuck with it. Maybe it’s me wanting to experience the outdoors more, in a sense. That’s the negative effect of living in London—there’s only big parks.

What’s next for you and Greater Goods?

I want to venture out into a new range of products. Clothing has been a thing I’m looking at, but I’ve never been a person to set long term goals. I’ll look at the fabrics and see where I can take them and what I’m into. Anything could be crazy—it’s all about what you make of it.

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Published 03-04-2020

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