My internship contract with Celtic Fusion Design was the first independent program that I have completed during my time at Evergreen and one of the academic experiences that I have most enjoyed. Overall, I am very pleased with my ability to remain inspired by my academic interests and to stay on task with the work required of me both with the internship and the work I did for the school. Over the course of this past quarter, I worked with the owner Celtic Fusion to improve the shop’s online marketing and oversee day to day requirements of running a small business while simultaneously running a blog that detailed my learning experience. I completed all the work required of me on both fronts when it was due and enjoyed doing so. This work included learning about the production and processing of jute and khadi cotton into textiles, styling and modeling for photo shoots for the company, writing blog posts for Celtic Fusion, revamping the website and adding a sustainability & ethics section as well as a section that discusses the role of Celtic myth in the designs. My time with the company was concluded with a trip to Scotland where I worked at a stall selling products at the Christmas market in Edinburgh.
I found the process of applying my passion for Irish history and mythology to real life marketing techniques to be both incredibly fun for me and proved to be a success for the company. Sharing ideas of historical inspiration for sustainable design through blog posts and instagram/facebook posts and experiencing the responses from the customer base helped to demonstrate to me the enthusiasm that is present in that particular market. I believe that as society becomes more conscious of the impact that we as humans have on our surroundings, the draw for more nature-centered lifestyles will continue to grow. In this way, there will continue to be room for businesses to take ethical responsibility for their practices.
Because sustainability of business has become such a focus of mine during my education, I focused heavily on the textile aspect of Celtic Fusion and was very impressed with what I found. I used the information that I found on sustainability to help further improve its marketing techniques. Because the company tends to attract those who feel deeply connected to nature and mythology, discussing the ways in which their purchases are impacting the environment as well as the lives of those involved in creating the product was an important step in completing the narrative of the business.
While I was working at the market and experiencing customer reactions in person, I found that there tended to be two kinds of visitors to the stall. A) those who were drawn in by the unique stall but who were immediately turned away by the prices (those customers were almost comically always carrying a Primark bag) or B) those who were drawn in by the natural looking textiles that stood out as opposed to the rest of the products at the market. Those people tended to be very interested in the business and asked questions regarding where the sourcing of the product and usually left with either a purchase or a brochure. While it was a bit disheartening to have conversations with people who couldn’t quite wrap their head around why you would pay 40 pounds for a shirt when you could buy a 10 pound shirt at Primark, it was also incredibly encouraging to encounter so many people who cared deeply about the financial purchases they were making.
My passion for both sustainability and alternative fashion made the experience one that was so enjoyable that I found myself wanting to dive further and further into my work. Because of the passion I experienced while learning about this area of study, I have elected to continue my studies in the world of sustainable textiles in the form of another independent project on local crafts for Winter Quarter.