MAKERS SERIES: Amphitrite Studio

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Katrina Jo Kelley started sewing when she was four. Growing up in Woodstock New York with throwback hippies for parents Kelley’s wardrobe consisted of mostly homemade clothing or items bought from the local bulk shop that sold 100% US made cotton clothing. Despite her childhood as a born to be slow fashion advocate her journey to where she is today wasn’t a straight path to seamstress and designer. After trying her hand at many different “crafts,” as she calls them, including hairdresser and construction worker she went to business school at the age of 30 and shortly after started Amphitrite Studio. “Now I’m a little over five years into it, it’s been my full time job and it’s finally starting to turn into something real and true,” says Kelley. 

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Amphitrite Studio clothing can be described as quality, small batch, and locally made with sustainable fabrics. But it can also be described as elegant, season-less, versatile, and comfortable. Leggings, linen shift dresses, and a lot of layering pieces make this line so interchangeable that just a few items can make a ton of different outfits. Which is only one reason why the line is so sustainable. “Sustainability is something I was taught and raised on,” explains Kelley, and it shows. The line is sustainable from the core. Not only are the items made from responsibly sourced materials but they are made to last. A dress you buy from Amphitrite won’t end up in a landfill after only a few wears. 

 I recently had the chance to see her line of women’s clothing, accessories, and home goods at the Center for Maine Craft in West Gardiner, Maine. It’s one thing to see the items on the internet but the feel of these fabrics is the biggest selling point to me. This is because Kelley really takes the time to research where her fabric is coming from. “I focus on fabrics that are organic, minimally processed, free of harmful chemicals and dyes, and come from quality work environments, sustainably made or harvested, etc.. I feel that any fabric touching our skin should be as pure as the organic veggies we buy for our insides,” she says. Kelley sources a lot of her fabric from an Amish family-run business in Pennsylvania and she takes the time to investigate the production practices and transparency of any other fabric supplier she plans to source from.

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In addition to sourcing sustainable fabrics Kelley notes that she focuses on quality made goods that can stand the test of time. In a day and age where most stores carry clothing that is almost literally disposable small slow fashion brands like Amphitrite and designers like Kelley know how important it is to make things that last for the sake of the environment. Kelley still sews everything herself for Amphitrite, ensuring that the level of production doesn't waver. "I like having control over my products and their full quality. " 

Although her background of sewing from such a young age and being brought up as a conscious consumer makes this way of purchasing second nature the population of informed and thoughtful buyers is quite small. Luckily being an advocate for slow fashion is easy when you have a slow fashion line.“If I’m not sewing, I’m spreading the word on social media, or going to events and shows. In sharing my goods, I’m automatically opening up a channel of communication about a slow fashion way of life in your closet and in your living room,” says Kelley. 

Although Kelley makes the majority of her own wardrobe she likes to “spread the love” to other local makers whenever possible and finds herself drawn to mid century-80’s vintage. “Personally, I try to look for my four W’s when I am shopping; Where its made, whats its made of, who made it, and will it last. These are standards to which I stick to when purchasing anything, from a $5 item to a $500 one.” 

In addition to Amphitrite Studio's line of clothing and home goods Katrina is available as a seamstress for hire and performs local tailoring services in her home studio in Newcastle, Maine. She actually sews the pillows and pouches for Hills and Trails, which is how I heard about her! Leave a comment below if you have a maker you think would like to be interviewed for the Makers Series. And be sure to check out Amphitrite's events page to see where you can experience the line in person or checkout the website!