Sustainability Series: Upcycling and Escapism with 3am Eternal

Sustainability Series: whynow talks upcycling and escapism in turbulent times with Caitlin Price of the sustainable brand and online boutique, 3am Eternal.


Tell us a bit about yourselves and your brand. 

We are Emily and Caitlin Price, we’re sisters from South East London. In September 2019, we formed our brand and online boutique, 3am Eternal. Together we source, style and re-work vintage clothing and accessories which we sell on our own online store. Designed for the conscientious modern woman, the brand encourages a new spirit and energy in the world of up-cycling and circular fashion.

Designed for the conscientious modern woman, the brand encourages a new spirit and energy in the world of up-cycling and circular fashion.

In February, we launched our second collection at London Fashion Week as part of the Positive Fashion Exhibition, curated by the British Fashion Council. We both play to our strengths — Emily in vintage sourcing, and Caitlin in design. We are working together to provide an alternative to fast fashion and engineer a contemporary spin on individually sourced vintage items.

For Caitlin, 3am Eternal is a relatively new venture. What made you decide to start a separate brand with your sister? Are you still producing for your namesake brand, started with support from Fashion East?

Recently, I’ve been working on a number of ventures under my own namesake brand (Caitlin Price) but producing only on a bespoke made-to-order basis. Emily and I had discussed the possibility of collaborating on something together for a while, and this felt like the right time for both of us given the urgent need for every brand to evaluate the real effects of production on the environment. Emily runs her own vintage clothing business and has worked behind the scenes on most collections for my brand, so 3am Eternal was a very natural progression for both of us. 

What does a ‘sustainable business model’ look like? Or, what does it not look like?

For us, a sustainable business model is one which does not generate waste — one which focuses on using existing resources and materials, operates self-sufficiently, and sells direct-to-customer. The traditional ready-to-wear format is not a sustainable business model, as each piece is sampled from scratch (sometimes numerous times) then later mass produced, requiring huge supply chains and generating vast amounts of waste along the way. We sourced each garment ourselves and worked on reviving each item by hand, piece by piece, to create our new collection.

Where do your materials and building blocks for your looks come from? Do you have a specific set of visual inspiration for each collection? 

This season saw a continuation of our exploration of mixed materials, traditional couture embellishments and sleek silhouettes. Optic 1960’s prints feature in sherbet and acidic colourways, and hand applied frills made from deadstock fabrics and opulent pearls overlay the familiar with the unexpected. We carefully re-worked polo shirts and quilted nylon outerwear with hand-applied crystals, and overlaid them with printed motifs. Within the prints, elements like flyers for acid-house raves like Desire, Jungle Fever and Dreamscape were mixed with surreal dove, planet and flora designs.

Within the prints, elements like flyers for acid-house raves like Desire, Jungle Fever and Dreamscape were mixed with surreal dove, planet and flora designs.

We essentially chopped up and collaged imagery to re-contextualise it. We gave casual ginghams and denims a 3am make-over with lustrous satin ruffles, hand-painted fringing and oversized rose beading. Playful puffed-sleeve party dresses worn over neon cycling jerseys exemplifies our love of collage in 3D. We are trying to draw a window of escapism in turbulent times for the 3am Eternal follower.

Tell us about your experience and stand at LFW Positive Fashion.

It was an interesting experience for us as it was our first time putting our brand into a bricks-and-mortar setting. Alongside showcasing our new collection, we printed and displayed a book to honour our Instagram — which has been the platform on which we have steadily evolved our brand from its conception. We also brought the models in to wear the pieces from our new lookbook. We really wanted to bring our virtual reality shop into the real world at LFW.

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