“We want to encourage people to do the right thing and just do what they can. If we can keep that momentum going, keep that fire burning, we feel like we might be able to point humanity in the right direction.”
At only 24, Eva Cambourn works as the director and designer of her own hemp apparel company Grumpysuns. Eva studied Zoology, Anthropology and Archaeology at Otago a few years ago. “My studies have 100% helped stoke my fire. I've always had a love for animals and evolution but studying these topics exposed me to a lot of the problems caused by humanity, like climate change, globalisation, and the industrial revolution.”
In 2015, Eva co-founded the sustainable clothing label Grumpysuns with her business partner, Nick Williamson. “The idea came while I was working in fashion retail and studying topics heavily related to environmental health,” Eva said. “Learning and seeing first hand the impacts of the fashion industry made me one day decide I should make an alternative sustainable option there wasn't that much of out there at the time. I started with organic cotton but quickly learnt about the sustainable properties and growing techniques of the hemp plant and focused the brand in that direction.” Eva is now the director and designer of Grumpysuns, which involves designing the clothing as well as organising the behind the scene business chats.
All Grumpysuns apparel is made from a blend of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton, which is something Eva strongly advocates for with her brand ethos. “Hemp is an incredible plant and much more sustainable than many of the other materials used to make clothing. It’s easy to produce, has a high crop turnover, doesn't take as much nutrients or water to grow, is excellent at sucking carbon from the atmosphere (because of its fast growth), as well as has the ability to biodegrade. Other properties of hemp (in clothing form) is that it's durable, naturally antibacterial, and breaths really well.” Eva emphasises that she wants Grumpysuns to do good things, and to encourage everyone to do what they can to care and nurture our planet.
Coming from humble beginnings, Grumpysuns has grown exponentially. They’re currently stocking their clothes in independent retails stores around the country. But one of Eva’s biggest achievements was being sponsored to attend New Zealand Fashion Week last year. Eva says, “we've just participated in Ataahua Fashion Week (the first full Māori and Pacific island fashion event) and have also been invited to Dubai, London, Paris, Japan, India and a couple of states in the USA for all sorts of different fashion events which is insane”. For now, Eva is working hard to facilitate strong connections with local artists and spread the brand’s positive message. “We love working with artists that share a good message; we believe that music will be a huge catalyst in the cure for climate change. So the thing I enjoy the most is throwing gigs for other artists and having a good boogie.”
As the brand continues to grow, Eva plans to continue the fun ride Grumpysuns has afforded her. “Just keep going, see what comes out of it. It's hard to say because it depends on so many factors for us. The biggest being the amount of money the business has to spend, which isn't much as you can imagine; organic and sustainable products aren't cheap. We want to keep educating, producing new sustainable clothing, hopefully make it to a fashion show overseas, and get into some more stores. We love the process and the people we meet, so more of that.”