This past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Cait Clark of Cait Shea Designs. I got to learn a bit about her passion for sustainability and conscious living and browse her new shop in Chester, Connecticut. I’m so excited to share her story and shop with you, as well as show you some of the beautiful ethical pieces that she makes in her Connecticut studio. Cait is the first maker I’ve had the opportunity to meet in person, so her work is really dear to my heart – I hope you all love it as much as I do!
Cait is a Connecticut native and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She realized during some of her early experience in the fashion industry that the way modern fashion works simply wasn’t for her. “You basically just design the pieces on a computer and then send the files to China to have the items manufactured” she explains. “I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t send things overseas.” Her desire to do things differently and make her clothes by hand inspired her to launch her own brand.
Her first endeavor was a line of knit baby clothes called Sprouted – the line no longer exists, but the name lives on as the coffee shop on the main floor of her store. It is bright and inviting, with wooden shelves lined with products from other local artists – handmade soaps, loose leaf teas and unique jewelry. “I really want the coffee shop to be a place for the community to gather. We’ve had a band play here already, and I’m thinking of doing poetry nights, including a teen poetry night,” Cait continues.
The downstairs of the shop houses her ethically-made clothing and additional jewelry, accessories and beauty products from local artists.
These beautiful garments and optimistic sign meet you in this part of the shop. The draped cardigan pictured here is the first piece Cait designed as part of her current collections. It is made of bamboo and incredibly soft, with a slightly loose knit – making it a great transitional/ all-season item. Also, I know Cait told me something about this dress, but I forget because it is beautiful and has pockets (which are hot pink inside), which is all you really need to know sometimes.
I love a color-coordinated shop, don’t you? 🙂
Obviously…my favorite pieces.
The blush pieces above are my favorites. Cait dyes the raw silk using avocado skins and shells from surrounding restaurants. She mentioned that the last batch of pieces were more peach, while these are more blush – just as a result of how the avocado dyeing process works. I love how unique and special her handmade items are.
Cait also has some of her sketches and Fashion Revolution signage and fanzines on display in her shop – so cool!
The talented designer and maker herself.
Coming in the fall is the Cait Shea Cozy Collection, which, while not made entirely of natural materials, is intended to encourage people to ditch fur (Cait is also a vegan). You can keep an eye on her Instagram for more information on that – @caitsheadesigns!
As mentioned, I picked up a couple of pieces in the shop that I want to show you – the trapeze dress and tie-back top. Both of these are blush, which is a staple color in my closet color palette, and can be styled in multiple ways. These garments are so, so beautifully made, drape nicely and show off the natural quality of the avocado dyeing process.
The Trapeze Dress
The Tie-Back Top
I personally like to wear this top tied in the front, but I love that it is truly reversible – the tag is on the ties, not on the back where it would be annoying you when you flip the shirt around!
If you are in Connecticut, her shop is so, so worth visiting – both for the beautiful, ethically made clothing and the inviting atmosphere! And if you aren’t, keep an eye out for those e-commerce options!
Thanks again Cait, for taking the time to speak with me and allowing me to feature your work on my blog.
Cait Shea is located at 1 Main Street in Chester, CT.