Ge.LABEL’s One-Off Accessories Are A Reflection Of Melbourne’s Art Scene

Image via @Ge.Label
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Genevieve Cam has lived her life in pursuit of creativity. Looking to the touchstones of Melbourne's eclectic fashion, art, culture and nightlife, she finds inspiration in her direct environment and admits it's aided her in finding her personal sense of style. She is also the mastermind behind Ge.LABEL — a handmade and upcycled accessories brand based in Naarm.
"Growing up, mum took my sister and me to art classes, and as a teen, my favourite weekend activity was going into the CBD with my best friends," she admits, saying she spent her youth admiring the garms of local independent designers like ALPHA 60, FAT4, Lady Petrova and Alice Euphemia. "As a young adult, I realised I needed an outlet for my creative self and began Ge.LABEL in 2018."
A fashion and textiles design graduate, Cam has a history of designing for larger companies, but negative experiences in the industry put her off the profession. She pivoted into styling and art direction, "but always wanted an outlet to express ideas with no restrictions". She admits she was never a confident sewer, so she started small, making neck scarves and the like until her skills improved. Now Ge.LABEL produces handmade, reworked, alternative accessories that reflect the designer's evolution. "I've become more confident in my ideas and execution," says Cam. "It's lovely being able to make one-of-a-kind hats and accessories that I can sell and share with others."
It's Cam's commitment to creative evolution that drives each new drop from Ge.LABEL. "I'm always trying to create accessories that are better than the next," she tells Refinery29 Australia. "My inspiration is always changing." She's currently inspired by the street style of New York City; the bold use of colour, sleek, shiny modern art, and the worn-in finish of vintage garments, shoes and accessories. ("[They] look like they could tell you stories from their past".) It's this juxtaposition of the old and new that is so evident in her own pieces that feel simultaneously fresh and familiar in their execution. Ultimately, her desire is to produce pieces that are recognised as collectables, "like artwork and reduce product waste where possible". The brand's most recent collections have centred around hats in a range of styles, but Cam's upcycled caps are so popular they sell out almost as soon as they're released.
@ge.genevieve New drop of hats now available, more than half way sold out! ☁️ #upcycledfashion #furhats #winterhat #summercap #streetfashion ♬ Vanished - Crystal Castles
"I find it a fun challenge re-working old into new," she says but admits that finding the time has proved to be her biggest challenge. "I still work a full-time job on top of Ge.LABEL," explains Cam. She works on her pieces on the weekends and when she has spare time, but her love for the label and the pieces she makes means it doesn't feel like work, but rather, more like an outlet to express herself.
She's also had to overcome her own self-limiting beliefs in order to get Ge.LABEL off the ground. "For ages, I was holding back my designs because I thought they wouldn't sell or people wouldn't like them; I was designing to please others," she says. "In order to grow a business, you need to love your art. I still struggle at times but I'm finding my feet with every new accessory." 
The moments of self-doubt and working overtime are all made worth it for Cam when she gets to see her designs being worn by her customers. "Seeing my accessories for the first time on the runway complimenting outfits styled by Stuart Walford" has been a highlight, as well as designing custom caps with stylist Molly Johnstone for Tones and I's European tour. It's this common thread of collaborative creativity and myriad inspirations that drives the founder to grow Ge.LABEL into a high-end, sustainable and ethical accessories brand, and who knows, maybe she could even show at New York fashion week one day in the future.
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