Sunday, May 29, 2011
While most of us were still living a life full of teen angst and turmoil, Jacqui Alexander was busy being the youngest designer stocked at Harvey Nichols. These days Jacqui has teamed up with Zachery Midalia for their label Skinny Nelson. Their latest collection holds onto youth, simple cuts circa "Smells like teen spirit", combined with chunky cable knits in Grape and Grey show that Skinny Nelson are more than just a basics label.
You accomplished quite a lot at a young age. What was it like being a designer in your teens?
It was pretty unreal, in the literal sense of the word, starting so young. So much of what I was doing was very unusual for someone my age and I guess, because I had nothing else to compare it to, I had no fear of failure which pushed me to just leap in and take a chance. The older I get the more I realise I have learned. Starting so young, there had been a massive learning curve very quickly. Whist I was always very fearless, there are definitely things I would've done a little differently or things that I would've taken more control of, but I'm so happy to have experienced so much so young, with time ahead of me now to work and act more effectively.
When you started Skinny Nelson how did you find the shift from solo to collaborating? How do you share roles?
It seamed pretty natural. I guess working alone I had always longed to be able to share the responsibility of sharing a business. It definitely frees up the creative channels to share that load.
Some of your basics are in organic fabrics, what inspired Skinny Nelson to lean towards a greener alternative?
Basically while I was working on my previous brand I came across the organic cotton and simply thought wouldn't it be great, wouldn't it be a cleanse, to wear something that not only looked and felt good contributed positively to the world as well.
What influenced your latest collection?
The current collection was inspired by nostalgic memories of skiing holidays. I chose the Swiss Alps as a point of reference because there is always an underlying Scandinavian aesthetic to each collection. So I included cosy cable knits, stripy long johns and a colour palette that reflected the silver snow and forest green trees of a ski trip memory.
It's often hard not to complicate things in order to strive for difference. How do you keep things fresh but simple?
I just try to keep designing for myself. As I grow and change and my style slightly alters, so do the ranges. That's how I keep them genuine and relevant I guess.
We've jut launched our online store www.skinnynelson.com.au which will sell core collection pieces and eventually other products that we love. We're also going to be hosting a serious of intimate studio collection sales during the month of June every Friday at out studio in Collingwood which is pretty exciting.
Posted by Kelly at 4:51 PM
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Simply put, Sosume is a label for the future,. With refined collections, high quality products and a transparent sensibility, we can easily see the reasoning behind each process and decision. Alex Trimmer, founder of the Australian based label offers his thoughts on the legality of careless creation, carpooling to work and the benefits of supporting local manufacturers.
Why fashion? How did SOSUME start?
It all started over in NY when I was finishing my degree as an exchange student. I felt there was a gap in the US market for “non-hippy” styled eco-friendly clothing. Everything I was seeing was fairly unimaginative when it came to colour palettes and fabric content. SOSUME was born to show that you can still wear cutting edge designs with amazing fabrics that actually wear and feel better than conventional fabrics. I launched the collection back home in Australia in late 2008.
What’s your opinion on contemporary fashion production?
If you’re referring to fast fashion, I think it’s awful and laws need to be made to stop it happening. Think of what an eighty-nine dollar nylon “leather” jacket does to a landfill and what it did to the local environment to get to the finished product.
How do you start a new collection?
A combination of what I see on the street mixed with traditional cuts and tailoring and ultimately, the fabrics I find. I’m limited to what I can use so I really have to find the fabrics first then think of the best ways to use them. The market for modern, sustainable fabrics is very small but growing so it’s a long process but well worth the effort. There are some remarkable materials out there.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
As above. The biggest source is the fabric. I’ve always like men’s aesthetics but cut for a woman. I love traditional, timeless pieces and a quality make. When I find a fabric that I love, I try to think of all the different ways that it can be used to bring it to its fullest potential.
How would you describe your latest collection?
Easy, simple, breezy summer. I wanted to extend the jersey basics and introduce woven shirting. I like to build on previous collections and progressively add more and more complicated pieces. Its what makes me look forward to the next season!
Going back to the more ethical side of things..your label seems to have a sustainable element, why is this important?
Because it’s the only way forward. SOSUME proves you don’t have to wear a potato sack or sacrifice your style in order to wear something that is sustainable. The whole basics line uses micro modal, which only uses a tenth of the amount of water to produce each item than its cotton counterpart. The fabric feels sublimely soft, doesn’t effect the skin, will hold shape twice as long as cotton and also will hold its colour for twice as long too. It also is biodegradable so won’t fill up the dump at the end of the product life. This is a major concern with “fast fashion”.
You mention you garments are both organic and natural, roughly what percent is organic?
Actually, it depends on seasons. Some seasons I use organic cotton and organic wool among other natural or man-made fabrics while other seasons we just use man-made and natural. These new, modern man-made fabrics are actually the greatest thing the industry has seen as far as I know. They are created with the environment in mind and are designed to replace their harmful cousins such as rayon, viscose and others. The entire collection, doesn’t matter which season, is always made from only natural and organic fabrics. I just hope that the mills out there keep developing unique and beautiful fabrics to use!
Why produce in Australia? Why is this important and how does it affect your process?
Quality control. Simple as that. I also think it’s vital to support the industry that supports you. The manufacturing industry in Australia seems to be ailing but there are some great makers out there and it feels good to support them. It makes the process much quicker. If there needs to be an alteration, it’s easily done through a phone call and a visit. I couldn’t imagine the drama one would face when working with overseas factories. I like to work closely with my makers to develop the very best product.
What do you hope for the future of fashion?
For all labels to try and minimise their impact on the environment, whether it’s through their fabrics, their supply chains, their stock management, or even their employees’ carpooling to work! Every change for good makes a difference. It’s simple.
Check out Alex's website here, you can find out all his collections,fabric and production info..truly the way it should be...
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Dreamy underwear in dusty blues, grape and cream create a nice alternative to the racy rouge and harsh blacks that lingerie habitually consists of. Araks is a label comprising of ready to wear and a simple elegant line of lingerie. Designed with comfort and beauty in mind, Araks Yeramyan tells us about her design process and the challenges of creating a luxury organic line.
When and why did you start your label?
I started my collection in 2000, designing underpinnings. The idea behind my designs is to capture elements of all things beautiful and reinterpret what remains with me. I have a strong commitment to creating collections that have women feel beautiful and confident, beginning with the most intimate and personal layer. This was the most relevant. Ready to wear was a natural progression,it was launched in 2006.
How did you learn the skills needed for a lingerie line?
Practice makes perfect. Lingerie has a lot of rules; you can’t just do anything you want. It has to fit well, make you look good, and be able to be worn underneath clothes with out too much distraction. Ready to wear, with fewer rules, gives room for endless possibilities and exploration. I enjoy the challenge.
Can you tell us how you go about creating collection?
I always start with the inspiration/mood and then go to color and silhouette. Once I am clear about that, it grows from there.
Who and what influences these collections?
It is always the same girl. I do get a lot of inspiration from artists; sometimes films, or other random elements around me. It can be anything really; it is where you take it.
The choice of color combination is quite unique, what inspires you?
I love color. I usually choose a color or two that I am drawn to from my inspiration. A lot has to do with my mood. When I'm designing a collection I am living with it for a while, each day I feel a bit different. At the end I always have to add in one color that throws the whole thing off.
What led you to a more sustainable option?
I was raised that way. That is how I live my life. When organic fabrics and practices became an option, it was only natural to go in that direction.
What are some of the pros and cons to going organic?
I think the pros are obvious; it’s the cons that make the whole thing complicated. If I could, I would have a whole collection of organic and/or environmentally responsible fabrics. It is a challenge to find Organic fabrics that are interesting, refined, and sophisticated for the person buying into luxury. I think as a society we don’t see a direct correlation as to why we should buy organic clothing. This makes it harder to grow an industry and have more sustainable options, although, I do feel we are becoming more aware.
Do you believe fashion reflects the issues of our times? If so how?
I think so. I can’t imagine anyone not being affected or influenced by their surroundings.
When you’re not working on your label what do you love to do?
I have two boys. I love to do anything they love to do.
You can check out Araks inspiring blog "Shaping Beauty" which documents all the lovely things that catch her eye here.