Nelson Made: A Sustainable, Melbourne-Based Footwear Label With a Slow-Fashion, Small-Batch Approach

Written for Broadsheet

Jamie Nelson launched her footwear label, Nelson Made, in October 2017 with a collection of considered modern, wearable sandals. Within a year she’d been invited to show at London Fashion Week’s Designer Showrooms event, an important trade exhibition where retailers including Arnsdorf, Well Made Clothes and The Iconic Considered, plus Garmentory in the US, picked up the debut range.

Now Nelson’s new resort collection is here, with 11 different styles in colourways including black, neon green, baby blue and pink.

Nelson started out hand-making footwear for Melbourne shoemaker Preston Zly, where she learnt “the craft of bespoke making in a small studio” before earning a masters in fashion footwear from Cordwainers at the London College of Fashion. When Nelson returned to Australia she worked as a footwear and bag designer for Country Road and Gorman.

“The longer I worked in the industry the more uncomfortable I felt with the overconsumption and wastefulness inherent in fashion,” she says. “It didn’t align with my personal values, so I decided to … create a brand with a responsible model.”

Nelson is committed to making sustainable pieces with a slow-fashion, small-batch model. Eighty per cent of Made By Nelson’s sandals are made in-house in the designer’s Melbourne studio (which is powered by solar energy). “Our more complex heeled styles are made responsibly in China,” Nelson says. The plan is to bring all production to Melbourne by 2021.

“We source materials with the lowest possible environmental and human impact,” she explains. This includes vegetable-tanned leathers that are dyed with less harmful chemicals than chromium-tanned hides. Leathers are from Australia, Italy and China.

“We also love using linen and recycled, repurposed and vintage fabrics,” Nelson says. “In our most recent collaborations we’ve used textile offcuts from garment production with Arnsdorf and Penny Sage,” two sustainability-focused Melbourne labels.

Nelson’s colour and silhouette inspiration comes from art exhibitions, vintage fashion and places she’s travelled. “I then think about what my friends and I are wearing and what footwear is going to pair well with our wardrobes, and the collection grows from there.”

The new line, for example, includes the Myra Slide, a minimal, refined shoe with a square toe and super slim, barely-there straps. The Sonia also features a square-toe shape and has a small square heel. Wear both with cropped jeans or flared pants. Prices range from $169 to $269.

Nelson Made also makes custom shoes to order. Select your sole colour, strap leather and lining from a collection of nine classic styles. A pair takes four to five weeks to be delivered.

As part of the label’s commitment to quality and durability it also offers free repairs and sizing alterations within the first two years of wear.

Nelson Made

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: