Photography by Ellie India Rose Carty
Interview by Esme Carty
Crummy Clothes is an all-inclusive clothing brand that is stepping outside of the box and broadening horizons to create garments for anybody and everybody. To know Crummy Clothes is a privilege; to know Cass Hoverson, creator of Crummy, is an honor. I got to interview Cass in her creative space with sewing machines, spools of thread, and fabric surrounding her. A clothing rack of original pieces sitting to my right and art pieces throughout the room. In such a creatively-fueled space, we hopped straight into conversation about her and Crummy Clothes.
I: Crummy Clothes is said to be named after the consumers of Crummy, crummy people! In that, you acknowledge that there is a negative connotation with the word ‘crummy,’ but that you have a more positive definition of crummy: cute, resourceful, uninhibited, evolving. With that being said, when did you come to the realization that words do not define us and we define ourselves instead?
CH: Man, I think during this whole journey of starting Crummy–and the reason I started Crummy–was to make it for my friends who were gender fluid and non-binary. I started doing research into other gender-neutral brands. Even the word gender-neutral, I feel like, is the most commonly used word for this type of clothing, but when it comes down to each individual, they use their own word to describe themself. Words are so arbitrary. You know how the word ‘queer’ was looked at negatively and now we’re reclaiming that word? It’s like the word ‘crummy’ too; people see it as a negative word, but if you take away the meaning and say the word ‘crummy,’ it’s such a cute word! It’s so cute and it makes me feel good. Stripping away what people assume, and defining ourselves.
I: As well as being gender-inclusive, you’re also size-inclusive, ranging from XS to 5XL. You even allow for customers to request alternative sizing for no additional cost if they don’t see their size. There are hardly any brands these days that have this expansive of a range, can you speak on the importance of size inclusivity?
CH: Yeah, Crummy is really for everyone and I don’t want one single person on the planet to want a piece of my clothing and not be able to have it. I have the ability to grade patterns, I have the ability to make clothes in whatever size, so why not offer that service to people. I don’t want to limit that in any kind of way.
I: Definitely, we see more diverse body types on the runway but when you actually look at the collection they don’t sell that size. It is usually custom made for the model walking.
CH: And gender-neutral clothing lines and brands are still so niche that when you look into it, or someone who is gender-neutral looks at their line, they still are super limited in either color or shape, still limited in size. Usually they only go up to 2XL, max.
I: Sustainability is at the forefront of your brand, what is your favorite way to find new fabrics and what is your favorite fabric find so far?
CH: I get all my fabric from thrift shops. I think the most underrated, surprising section that you’ll always find good fabric in is the shower curtain section. You don’t think of shower curtains working as fabric because you’ll think of that vinyl-y type material, but I find the craziest fabric in the shower curtain section because that’s the statement piece of a bathroom, so they always kind of hit. Also, infant bedding. Crummy has a childish feel to it, a nod to my youth a little bit, so I really like to incorporate that nostalgia and that whimsical look.
I: Have you always had this vision when you were younger, were you into fashion growing up? How did this happen?
CH: Good question, I mean I’ve been sewing since I was 12 but I wasn’t sewing garments or sewing things for fashion. I learned the skill from my grandma. Being in middle school with that skill, I was just sewing pencil pouches with stuffing in it so they were like pillows but disguised as pencil pouches. I was selling them to my peers and school for like $10. I didn’t get into clothes until after college, I don't even really know what got me into it. I think in college I started finding myself and my identity in the way I present myself to the world, and my friends being gender fluid I realized how hard it is to find clothes for those who identify as gender fluid. So I started frankenstein-ing stuff for me and my friends, and that’s kind of how it got rolling.
I: What are some inspirations that fuel your brand, doesn’t just have to pertain to clothing?
CH: Definitely nostalgia, and I’m a texture person. I really like things that have a weird texture that you wouldn’t expect–like shower curtains–and I’m really drawn to 3D objects. 2D art, I still really love and appreciate, but something about seeing a really crazy sculpture and seeing dimension that way. Or even seeing crazy things sewn onto fabric; I actually found a child’s sleeping bag that has plushy 3D things sewn all over it–it’s in the closet, I’ll show you later.
I: I have to see it
CH: I’m saving it for my future child.
I: Where did you find that?
CH: Goodwill. Should I get it right now?
I: Yeah, you know what? Pull it out.
CH: You ask what inspires me? This.
I: What does your creative process look like? Does the idea come first or does a specific fabric or texture inspire you to make a look?
CH: That totally depends from piece to piece. I wish I could say, “oh yeah here’s my process,” but I don’t. Sometimes I go and see a piece of fabric that I have no idea what to do with or I’m sketching, doodling and then a shape comes to mind and I find the fabric for that.
I: So for the orange hair garment that goes over the face shirt, did you originally have that in mind when you made the shirt?
CH: Yeah because I just drew a face with hair and I was going to make just a dress with a furry applique on the shoulders and the collar, but I decided to make it into two pieces.
I: Dream client to make a custom look for.
CH: Tierra Whack. Her style is so unique and she doesn’t try to set trends or wear what other people are wearing. She truly comes out in showstopper pieces everytime. She really plays around with color which I aspire to do, because I really don’t like working with color. I don’t know why I’m so intimidated by color but Tierra Whack inspires me to not be.