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

First Look: Bec & Bridge’s First Melbourne Store Sweeps Into Armadale, All Soft Curves and Neutral Tones

Written for Broadsheet

When Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston first met in 2000, they were both studying fashion design at the University of Technology Sydney. “We’d hang out all the time, did all our uni assignments together and loved working together,” Yorston remembers. “And then a friend of ours approached us with a pair of his old jeans and said, ‘Can you please do something with these jeans?’”

The pair screen-printed their names all over the denim, spray-painted them and added stitched details and patterns.

“Really, we just went to town,” Yorston says. “And then he wore them out and, suddenly, word-of-mouth got out there and we started getting people calling us to revamp their jeans. And then a store saw them and called us and wanted to order 120 pairs – so that’s what forced us to register our label.”

Bec & Bridge has come a long way from men’s jeans – it’s now globally recognised for its bold dresses, tailored playsuits and flouncy blouses made for hot nights by the beach – the label has been spotted on Kendall JennerHailey BieberSelena GomezDua Lipa, and Bella and Gigi Hadid.

Now, 17 years after the label’s official launch, Cooper and Yorston have opened their first Melbourne store on High Street, Armadale.

“For us, it’s always been about managing growth and we really wanted a strong wholesale business … before we branched into retail,” Yorston says.

Interior architect George Livissianis, who’s also behind the label’s Bondi Junction store (and the fit-outs at Sydney eateries The Apollo and Cho Cho San), designed the light-filled space. It’s defined by soft curves, neutral tones and the contrasting textures of sleek marble and plush seating. Floor-to-ceiling drapes enclose the changing rooms, and an arched, tunnel-like ceiling runs the length of the space.

“The bones are so amazing,” Cooper says. “I feel like Bridget and I get really inspired by [every space], because [Livissianis] brings it to life in a really special way, and really works with the foundations of the store.”

The opening of the store is in sync with the last drop of the label’s spring collection and the launch of its new resort range. Think mix-and-match prints, saturated hues, and daring silhouettes such as this relaxed-fit cream blazerthis washed-silk, high-waist midi skirt in apple; and this ethereal floral-print long-sleeved dressVeja footwear, Pared Eyewear and Reliquia Jewellery can also be found in-store.

“We’re really excited to have the brand come to Melbourne,” Yorston says. “We definitely feel like it’s time. And probably overdue.”

Bec & Bridge
1041 High Street, Armadale
(03) 7013 8233

Mon to Fri 9.30am–5.30pm
Sat 9am–5.30pm
Sun 11am–5pm

South Melbourne’s Bright New Make-Up Studio Inspiring Women to Feel Good in Their Own Skin

Written for Broadsheet

After becoming known for her natural-beauty signature in Geelong, freelance make-up artist Hilary Holmes has opened her first Melbourne make-up studio. Her aim is to empower women in Melbourne by bringing her applications and hair styling to a permanent space. “I think a lot of women have that fear and anxiety around getting their make-up and hair done because they don’t want to not look like themselves,” says Holmes. “I don’t want to go and put a full coverage on you when you don’t feel like you. We’re not about masking. We’re about really bringing you out.”

Before Holmes became a celebrated make-up artist she studied agricultural science at Melbourne University.

“I used to weigh 135 kilos. I just had no self-confidence and I was significantly bullied at uni,” she says. “In my time out I found that I was going into the city and just walking around make-up counters and I felt quite drawn to that. Even though I was a big girl, they were always saying I had a pretty face so I felt like it was one thing that I could show off.”

After getting her agricultural science degree in 2007, Holmes began working in stock feeding and animal production in Geelong before quickly realising it wasn’t for her. “It really fought against my optimism – I’m a bit of a ‘Chatty Cathy’,” she says. “I really enjoyed connecting [with people] and I think that was probably the wrong industry for me to be doing that in.”

In 2009 Holmes moved to London and landed a job as a make-up artist at Smashbox on Oxford Street. She went on to work as counter manager at MAC, before moving back to Melbourne in 2011 to freelance, specialising in natural bridal looks.

“Whenever I had a client who came in wanting to be vulnerable, telling me that she has lost her eyebrows to chemo, or [had] really bad hormonal acne, I was drawn to that because I could relate to that feeling of vulnerability,” she says. “And so, I was starting to really build clients that way.” In 2016 Holmes opened her first make-up salon in Geelong.

A tight curation of Holmes’s favourite beauty products – from labels including Embryolisse, Velvet Concepts, The Ordinary, Eye of Horus, Pixie and Modelrock – are all on high rotation in-store, and are available to buy.

The light and bright South Melbourne parlour – with industrial white-brick walls, concrete floors and exposed metal rafters – has been made warm and inviting with plush rugs, sleek dressers, fluffy blankets, amber lighting and romantic installations by Melbourne florist Stasia Fox.

For Geelong-based Holmes it was important to consider each of the five senses when designing the space: custom essential-oil blends burn, Beyoncé plays overhead, and customers can sample each beauty product. A “selfie studio” has been fitted out with decals of mantras such as “You are worthy” to help inspire, and complimentary prosecco, non-alcoholic G&Ts and generous cheese platters are offered on arrival.

In-salon make-up applications start at $110. Customers can come in for a $20 lash application, or visit the “dry style” bar, which involves them arriving with washed or dry hair for a $50 styling job.

Holmes also hosts monthly self-applying masterclasses, which have been popular in Geelong and go for three hours, spanning everything from how to create the perfect smoky eye, to mastering winged eyeliner.

Hilary Holmes Makeup
20 Ross Street, South Melbourne
(03) 5242 8845

Tue 10am–5pm
Wed 10am–5pm
Thu 9am–6pm
Fri 9am–6pm
Sat 8am–6pm
Sun By appointment
Mon By appointment

How to Look Good for Less: Dressing for Spring Racing on a Budget

Written for Broadsheet

Spring racing is now acknowledged as a bona fide fashion-retail season in Australia due to the spike in dress, heels, handbag and hat sales from late September through to the first Tuesday in November. Becoming a slave to the season’s trends is an easy trap to fall into when every local label releases an exclusive race edit. You purchase an expensive outfit or accessory, then it gathers dust in your wardrobe after the carnival is over. Remember the highly specific fascinator you splurged on in 2010 because it matched your highly specific polka-dot jumpsuit? How many times did you wear it after Derby Day? Yep, zero.

Former Harper’s Bazaar Australia editor-in-chief Kellie Hush understands this dilemma better than most. She founded The Way, a one-stop shop for affordable, quality accessories, and after attending her fair share of race days knows how to achieve timeless spring-racing dressing without diving into your savings.

If you’re going to buy something new, avoid the trends and invest in versatile pieces that promise multiple wears

It’s easy to get caught up in short-lived trends during the carnival, but Hush urges you to ensure your outfit isn’t a one-hit-wonder. Buy something you’ll get value out of – something you can see using for the next few years, not just the next few days.

“[Find something] that will take you from trackside to the work Christmas party, a spring wedding or romantic dinner,” says Hush. She suggests something like Witchery’s sleeveless button dress in washed sage ($159.95), which she says will outlast the carnival and can be repurposed for corporate affairs, too.

She also likes this strapless dress by Australian label By Johnny ($370).

Wear a dress with a sleeve so you don’t need a jacket

While it’s beginning to warm up, Melbourne weather is as unpredictable as race-day winners. Hush advises, first and foremost, to dress accordingly. A sleeved dress or top will save you from having a meltdown on the morning of the event when you realise you don’t have an appropriate jacket to match your outfit, or better yet, saves you from buying a new one to go with it. Sleeves will protect you from the beaming sun (or howling winds). Country Road’s pink shirt dress ($279) or Australian label Rebecca Vallance’s polka-dot mini dress ($529) will work in mild or more extreme conditions.

Be aware of each race day’s dress code before planning your outfit – you might already own some of the items you’re looking for

If you’re going to Flemington, each event has its own dress code. But you can nail the brief for each race day, Hush says, without spending a bomb.

For example, if you’re in need of a new pair of dressy shoes or want to invest in a classic cocktail dress, use this as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – buy to fill existing gaps in your wardrobe, not just your race-day outfit.

By planning ahead, you might also be able to use items you already have in your closet, or be strategic about the new items you decide to buy.

“If your budget doesn’t extend to buying an entire new wardrobe, check what you already have and update with a smaller, less expensive purchase,” Hush says. “Your foundation for racing season is a dress, so pull out all the dresses you love and stocktake what could work. No doubt you have a little black dress in there that you can reinvent with new shoes or hat for Derby Day, or add a dramatic hat for Cup.

“What you wear on your head truly is the statement piece for spring racing,” she continues. “So put together what you already have then start hunting down a headpiece that will update an old dress instantly.”

Derby Day

The traditional black-and-white dress code for the first day on the Flemington spring racing calendar means you can either dress head-to-toe in black or white, or mix up your monochrome.

“[It’s] the perfect event to invest in a dramatic dress,” says Hush, since a little – or long – black dress is a wardrobe staple you will use on repeat.

She suggests making up for the lack of colour with bold silhouettes, textured fabrics or standout detailing: bell sleeves, light feathers and metal fastenings are all welcome. Seed Heritage’s twist-detail dress ($69.95) is a timeless, simple design that will come in handy again and again, Hush says.

She also likes the billowy sleeves on Rebecca Valance’s mini dress ($629), which will make a statement beyond the track.

If you’re wearing a dress or suit you’ve already got in your wardrobe, you might have more cash to invest in statement headwear – a versatile piece you can wear for many race days to come, or something that becomes part of your regular wardrobe outside Flemington. For the former, Hush likes Nerida Winter’sclassic veiled headband ($395) and for the latter, the designer’s boater ($375).

David Jones offers a less-pricey range of headwear, including this simple but versatile veiled headband for $29.

Hush recommends teaming your outfit with The Way’s Naomi clutch ($59.99) or the Sammy triangle clutch ($84.99). Both will look great at the races, or out at dinner with friends the next week.

Finish off your look with a pair of comfortable, adaptable Tony Bianco heels ($219.95) and you’re good to go.

Melbourne Cup Day

“Cup Day is the day to turn up the volume on ultra-feminine style,” Hush says. “Pinks, purples, reds and ruffles – you have permission to be more playful with colour.”

“I always like to wear a dramatic colour on Cup Day and tone down my headwear a little,” she says. “I also love to have fun with my accessories.”

Hush’s Cup picks are The Way’s Kaia and Holly cross-body bags (both $69.99). Look to Billini at The Iconic for some fun (and affordable) heels ($89.95). And as for your eyes: Shevoke’s safari print cat-eye sunglasses ($99) will see you through summer too.

Oaks Day

While “Ladies Day” might sound old fashioned, it’s the day to let loose with prints and florals, says Hush. She likes Seed Heritage’s animal print wrap dress (for $199.99), and We Are Kindred’s off-the-shoulder midi dress ($249) as an elegant, streamlined option. If you can spend more, Zimmermann’s tie-dress in the label’s autumn-rose print ($595) is classic but playful.

Hush also loves Country Road’s zebra print maxi ($159) and suggests breaking up the busy fabric by styling it with her Sadie cross-body handbag in pink ($49) or her Molly round clutch in duck-egg blue ($69.99). Add some statement drop earrings ($29.99) and soft, neutral heels via The Alba ($189).

If you’re buying a new outfit, think about one that matches with shoes you already own

Save yourself money – and your feet from blisters – by wearing a pair of shoes you already have that you know you can stand in all day, Hush says. “We’ve all seen the shots of women leaving Flemington with their shoes in their hands. It’s not a good look, so if you have a pair of favourite heels then wear them.”

Chat to your local florist about headwear

Spring is in full bloom during the race calendar so it’s worth making use of the fresh flowers around us, says Hush. For those who want to avoid synthetic and plastic headwear, call up your local florist to have a fresh wreath made up to elevate your look. If your local florist can’t help, Hush recommends ordering a wreath online at Daily Blooms ($85).

Back to Basics: Timeless, Collectable Statement Shirting Handcrafted to Order by Sustainable Melbourne Label Kalaurie

Written for Broadsheet

Canadian-born Kalaurie Karl-Crooks travelled to Australia by boat in late 1998. She grew up on the mid-north coast of NSW before moving to Melbourne in 2010 to study costume design at Swinburne University in Prahran.

“Halfway through the course I realised I ultimately wasn’t interested in working in the film or television industry and wanted to make clothing that was more wearable in everyday life,” she says. “So I then moved into fashion.”

Karl-Crooks studied a Bachelor of Fashion at RMIT. Her graduate project – called Widows Weeds (a Victorian-era term for mourning attire) – explored the theme of grief; her grandmother had passed away suddenly while she was designing the collection. She slowly began to share her work with the world as part of, what she refers to as, a “pretend brand” Instagram account, which soon morphed into a genuine platform where people placed orders for her big ruffled statement white shirts, black dresses and separates in monochromatic colours. “I decided, ‘What the heck, strike while the iron’s hot’.” And Karl-Crooks launched the self-titled label, Kalaurie, at the start of 2017. “Four months later and I was invited to show at Melbourne Fashion Week. It all happened very fast.”

The recently released Signature Shirting collection – essentially the label’s basics line, which costs between $279 and $479 – is her top performer. And the whole range, including the buttons, is made entirely from dead-stock fabric. There’s the Juliet shirt ($349), which has short, voluminous sleeves and comes in a relaxed fit with a two-piece collar. It’s made from white 100 per cent cotton Oxford shirting. And the popular Widow Ruffle shirt ($479), with show-stopping, romantic bishop sleeves; generous cuffs; and dramatic ruffles across the front. It’s finished off with a sharp collar.

“Some brands have slip dresses and T-shirts. For me it’s about a range of timeless, collectable statement shirting,” says Karl-Crooks. “A really great shirt – either white or black – has always, in my eyes, been one of the most timeless, elegant and versatile items of clothing.

“Waste is a very big issue at the moment in the fashion industry,” she says. “I take a lot of pride in being able to use fabric deemed undesirable by another business and giving it new beauty and life.”

While elements of costume design do seep through into her designs, Karl-Crooks is inspired by storytelling. “My design process always starts with whatever narrative I’m looking to tell, whatever story is playing itself out in my personal life or showing itself to me,” she says. From there she looks to film, music, classical art, literature, nature and fashion history. The latest collections – Sick Sad World and Rest in Sin – take inspiration from life, death, human emotion and her personal experiences as a woman.

Kalaurie has a mostly monochrome colour palette and focuses on biodegradable fibres including cotton, linen, silk or wool.

All pieces are made to order in-house at the label’s Melbourne studio. Once an order is placed, each piece is carefully cut, sewn, pressed and packed, then delivered within seven to 21 days. “It’s always made sense to me to slow things right down and nurture a made-to-order manufacturing model – only making what is needed, with every garment having an end destination and purpose.”

Kalaurie’s Sick Sad World collection, which was released in April, recently featured on the Sustainability Runway at Melbourne Fashion Week at RMIT alongside labels Lois Hazel, Dress Up, Kuwaii and more. This two-tone panelled dress ($379), with a V-neckline, back ties and fitted waist pleats, was a runway standout.

Karl-Crooks is also currently working on a limited-edition capsule of shirting, re-casting some of the Signature Shirting designs in fresher colours for spring/summer. “I have a large archive of dead-stock Swiss, Italian and English shirting cottons and I’m ready to share them,” she says. “I’ll only be able to make four to six pieces from each fabric.”

The New Minimalist Label From Melbourne Inspired by Performance and People-Watching

Written for Broadsheet

Husband and wife team Nikita Miller and Omar Asadi are behind the new minimalist Melbourne womenswear label Nikita Miller, which launched in August.

The “part one” collection is made-to-order and features simple, structured staples that look and feel almost Japanese.

Standout pieces include the oversized long-sleeve Luan shirtdress (which resembles a trench coat and can be worn different ways) with an exaggerated, razor-sharp collar. The high-waisted Kimbo pants are utilitarian and come with a wide cuff and piped detailing. Wear the Bonte long-sleeve wrap top tied up or as a lightweight jacket.

Designer Miller’s family moved to Auckland from Cape Town, South Africa, in the late ’90s. It was around this time her husband Asadi’s family also immigrated to New Zealand from Baghdad, Iraq. The duo met in 2009 and moved to Melbourne five years ago.

“I saw her working at a Ralph Lauren store in Auckland,” Asadi says. “I had $150 in my bank account to last me for a week. I was still a uni student – broke as a joke. And I bought a $120 shirt just so I could have a chat. When the opportunity came I totally bombed.

Miller (who graduated from Auckland University of Technology with a bachelor of fashion design) and creative director Asadi (who started his career in advertising and moved onto digital design) came together to design pieces in 2017, taking inspiration from the performing arts. “Music and dance have been a big part of our cultures,” says Asadi.

They began thinking about dancers’ silhouettes – how garments move and perform on the body. And, specifically, how each garment absorbs and carries light. It’s this that they’ve tried to incorporate into an everyday wardrobe.

“We’re [also] inspired by people-watching and how [people] carry themselves in public,” says Asadi. “Observing how their garments fit them or don’t fit them – the movement and shape. It’s a little weird but you’d be amazed at how much you learn from just observing.”

Miller uses cottons, silks, wool and linen blends, and most of the fabric is dead-stock from Melbourne and Auckland. She’s stuck to a simple, accessible colour palette: sand, a crisp white, spearmint, caramel and “black stripe”.

“We’ve chosen these fabrics because they’re trans-seasonal. So wherever you are in the world you [can] pick up our Nou Nou coat,” says Asadi.

The couple plans to roll out seasonal collections that focus on longevity and quality. Nikita Miller pieces are produced in small quantities to allow for local manufacturing and to ensure quality control across fabrics and finishes.

So far Miller and Asadi have done everything on their own, from sourcing fabric and local producers to branding, photography and managing the label’s digital presence.

“Separating business from personal [matters] is an art in itself,” says Miller. “We’re still figuring it out. However, our greatest achievement so far is that we’ve managed to pretty much do it all by ourselves.”

Review: After 80 Years, Oroton Releases Its First Ready-to-Wear Collection Under New Creative Director

Written for Broadsheet

Oroton, the iconic Australian label known for its leather accessories, entered voluntary administration in November 2017. The demise of the company, founded in Sydney by Boyd Levy in 1938, wasn’t a surprise for many after years of slumping sales and an outdated approach to design.

In August last year, new owner Will Vicars appointed Sophie Holt as Oroton’s new creative director, after having poached her from Country Road. Vicars and his team had high hopes for Holt to lead a resurgence of the label after she helped transform a tired Country Road into a more progressive, directional Australian label. In her 13 years at Country Road, sales surged.

Her first collection for Oroton was well received; it presented contemporary takes on classic shapes, cleaner lines and on-trend profiles. She continues to shake things up with the label’s first ready-to-wear apparel collection. It’s an important early move from Holt, who wants to take Oroton from dowdy bag-maker to fully-fledged fashion label.

“Oroton has always been a pillar of sophistication and quality and there was a great opportunity to showcase this in apparel,” she says. “The brand has a strong point of view in quality construction with unique detailing, which we really wanted to replicate in our clothes.”

With a focus on rich colour, luxurious fabrics and vintage detailing, the spring/summer 2019 range is seasonless and sophisticated. Shirt dresses and trench coats are ideal building blocks for the ultimate transeasonal wardrobe, with sharp tailoring in linen, silk and leather. The palette (camel, cream, red, burgundy, duck-egg blue, rust, clay and peach) will be widely appealing – it’s inspired by the orchards and plains of the Australian landscape.

Clothing prices range from $169 to $899, with the majority of garments between $250 and $500.

“My personal favourite is the camel trench,” Holt says of the double-breasted coat. It’s made with Italian fabric, features a fabric buckle, snap buttons and oversized pockets. “My daughter loves the caramel buttery-leather shirt dress,” she adds. Made of soft leather, the dress is finished with button-snap closures, a stitched collar and a front pocket. The optional belt can be used to cinch in at the waist, or you can go without for an oversized, relaxed look.

Another piece we’re expecting to see a lot of this summer is the red silk shirt dress. Its on-trend billowy sleeves add an interesting texture to the otherwise minimalist silhouette.

But it’s the Mediterranean-inspired coral print shirt that perhaps best encapsulates Holt’s efforts to make the label fashionable once again. Cut in the season’s relevant short-sleeve silhouette from a supple, pure dupion silk, it’s finished off with a revere collar and natural shell buttons. Its light and fresh and resembles Holt’s own personal style and taste.

While Holt wouldn’t share whether sales have improved since her appointment, it’s clear she’s been busy contemporising: Oroton is unrecognisable today compared to 10 or even five years ago. It’s back in form.

Holt promised to repair Oroton’s reputation with Italian silk scarves, natural fabrics and a focus on a more modern, discerning customer, while having great respect for the label’s heritage. And she’s delivered.

The New Adelaide Label Designing Loungewear to be Worn From Beach to Bar

Written for Broadsheet

Adelaide label Acler launched in 2015 to fill a gap for high-end pieces at an affordable price. The local label is predominantly recognised for its event wear – sculptural, contemporary dresses and separates with dramatic detailing, whether that be a cascade of ruffles or delicate appliqué.

The brand shot to wider fame after Beyoncé posted several photos wearing its Fyffe Bodice top back in 2017.

Now its founders, Julia Ritorto and Kathryn Forth, together with designer Amy Nolan, have launched Significant Other: an Adelaide-born luxe loungewear label for “the modern woman”.

“We wanted to create a brand that empowered women to feel feminine by combining relaxed silhouettes with elevated styling,” Nolan tells Broadsheet. “Each piece is able to transition seamlessly from a day at the beach to an evening of cocktails and dancing.”

Nolan, who has been in the Australian fashion-design space for 10 years, has also worked alongside Ritorto and Forth as a designer at Acler – bringing her collaborative design process to the sister label.

“We begin every collection dreaming up amazing places our customer is travelling [to],” Nolan says. “We then begin to build the range with luxury fabrications, mood-inspired colour palettes and current trend research.”

American model and actress Lauren Hutton, who Nolan describes as the perfect embodiment of femininity, timelessness and relaxed elegance, inspires Significant Other’s first collection. The label’s first spring/summer collection focuses on classic, uncomplicated designs that are elevated with natural fibres and easy, flattering silhouettes.

High quality linens, textural cottons, embroidery and slinky satins are used to take you from beach to bar. The Alpha top has a deep V-neck and gentle billowing sleeves with meticulous draping in a soft nude polka dot fabric. And the Neptune dress features a gathered midi skirt, thin straps and cut-out details. It’s made from an embroidered daisy fabric. Prices range from $90 to $295.

Significant Other’s spring/summer collection is currently available online at David Jones and internationally at Moda Operandi, Intermix and Asos. A resort collection is due in November.

Boiler Suits Made for Busts: The New, Affordable Melbourne Label Challenging Traditional Workwear

Written for Broadsheet

After a long day spent working aboard a cargo ship, head stockperson Mimosa Schmidt suffered from chafing between her legs, under her arms and on her neck from the ill-fitting boilersuit she was wearing. The constant discomfort made her wonder, “Why isn’t there one of these suits [designed] for women?”

“I wanted a boilersuit that would fit my body properly and that could work with my shape rather than against it,” says Schmidt, who has also worked on farms and building sites. “There just aren’t many options out there for women on-site who want to look good and do really tough labour.”

So she set out to create a workwear label that catered to women’s bodies rather than disguising, suppressing or (as is the case with most standard-issue workwear) ignoring them altogether. This meant pragmatic clothing that not only took breasts and waist size into consideration, but also made Schmidt feel empowered and sexy – something she never felt in sagging overalls and baggy work shirts.

In July, after three years of research, Schmidt and co-designer Alison Pyrke established Sük – “a wink to all the men on-site” who have insulted her and questioned her abilities because she’s a woman. (The name is homonym for “sook”.)

“I can look good and feel comfortable and still smash out a month of non-stop work better than most blokes,” she says.

The boilersuit came first. Its lightly-brushed, hard-wearing 100 per cent cotton drill is durable yet flexible. It features a pleat and streamlined bust, as well as utilitarian details such as D-rings, rivets, pockets and 100 per cent vegan leather patches on the back pockets. It’s also pre-washed to prevent shrinkage.

The open-front overalls have a princess-line seam that ensures a firm fit around the bust; the cropped boiler suit (with short sleeves and hems) is ideal for warmer weather or simply for those who want to show a little more skin; the relaxed, slightly-tapered work pants are fitted at the waist and intended for work both on-site and off; and the pleated wide-leg shorts have been designed so as not to “constrict voluptuous forms”.

The practical collection also includes cotton-lycra sports crops and tops in ink green, slate grey, true white or navy.

“[Sük is for] anyone who wants to feel like a boss at work and get shit done whilst expressing their femininity without apology,” Schmidt says.

Each garment is designed in Melbourne and then made in a small, family-owned factory in Pakistan – one that Schmidt works closely with, overseeing production and helping to source materials.

Pieces from the current collection range in price from $45 crops and $90 shorts to $190 boilersuits, so you can buy these long-lasting pieces with a uniform allowance. Plans for a summer collection are already in the works.

Sük also donates $1 from every garment purchased to The Social Studio in Melbourne, a social enterprise that promotes careers in fashion and textile design for people from refugee, asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds.

Worlds Collide: Five of the Best New Fashion Collaborations to Shop

Written for Broadsheet

The power of fashion collaborations can’t be underestimated. From the 1997 Stüssy and G-Shock collab to Uniqlo’s recent partnership with street artist KAWS, seeking out like-minded (and sometimes unlikely) partners to develop one-off products or ranges has been keeping labels relevant for years.

Aside from recognition and publicity, collaborations also give designers a reason to break the fashion calendar, with non-seasonal releases dotted throughout the year.

And alongside the famous, high-profile pairings, you’ll find a growing marketplace of collaborations between more established labels and younger, emerging designers.

Here are our picks of the best new partnerships to shop.

Mara & Mine and Albus Lumen 
Mara & Mine’s handmade suede slippers acquired cult status after they were spotted on Cara Delevingne in 2013.

Now the Aussie footwear designers behind the label, Jasmine Stefanovic and Tamie Ingham, have teamed up with Marina Afonina, founder of Australian label Albus Lumen, on a limited-edition range of flats and suede ballet slippers featuring on-trend square toes. The colours – berry pinks, rich reds and deep blues – are inspired by Peru.

The collection will be available online and in-store in Sydney from October.

Masseria Moroseta and Alex and Trahanas 
Sydney’s Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas founded fashion-and-lifestyle label Alex and Trahanas in November 2017. Their designs include cleverly-cut linen dresses and separates, and Venetian slippers, which sit alongside a range of Apulian ceramics.

After shooting their summer 2018/2019 campaign at Masseria Moroseta – a white-stone farmhouse in Italy’s Apulia region – the pair decided to collaborate with the Italian hotel to create an exclusive range of linen separates.

The collection has been inspired by the “slow life” of the region, with clean lines drawing on the architecture of the idyllic farmhouse and pool set upon hectares of ancient olive groves, surrounded by the Adriatic sea. The oversized La Piscina longer-line dress is designed for summer days by the pool, while the shorter Giorgia dress is named after the head chef at the hotel, Giorgia Goggi. Each one is available in white, navy, and white with navy and aqua stripes.

The special linen collection is available exclusively at Masseria Moroseta in Italy, and online at Alex and Trahanas.

Neuw Denim and Holly Ryan 
Australian label Neuw Denim has joined forces with artist and jewellery designer Holly Ryan on a new denim capsule. The four-piece limited-edition range (which includes a pair of jeans, denim dress, denim jacket and yellow tee) has been hand-stitched, hand-brushed, and hand-grinded to produce a distressed aesthetic (without using harsh chemicals). Ryan has designed signature, graphic buttons (made from recycled materials), imprinted with her iconic “Picasso” face. Each button has been hand-sewn onto each garment by the Neuw team.

Both labels share a mutual respect for the environment and are dedicated to sustainable practices. This year Neuw launched a responsible and sustainable production initiative, which means all water used in the manufacturing process is renewed, reused, and recycled. And Holly Ryan has an in-house repair service and the option to return pre-loved pieces in exchange for a store credit or a redesign, so nothing goes to waste.

The capsule will be available in small drops in select David Jones stores and online from September.

Saint Laurent and Havaianas 
Luxury French fashion house Saint Laurent recently announced an unlikely partnership with Brazilian flip-flop label Havaianas. It’s a rare event when Saint Laurent collaborates with a non-Kering brand (the luxury group that owns the label, as well as Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta). The result is a monochrome, zebra-print thong loosely inspired by the city of LA.

The on-trend shoe is available in men’s and women’s sizing and is sold in Saint Laurent boutiques in LA and Paris, as well as online.

Gorman and Mangkaja 
Colourful Melbourne fashion label Gorman has teamed up with Mangkaja Art Resource Agency Centre, a fine art gallery, speciality store and studio space for Indigenous artists, on a limited-edition clothing range.

High-waisted linen trousersan anorak, a sleeveless dress and a V-neck tank, among other garments in the range, feature artworks by five senior Mangkaja artists: Ngarralja Tommy May, Sonia Kurarra, Daisy Japulija, Nada Tigila Rawlins and Lisa Uhl. Vibrant colours and bold patterns feature throughout.

Gorman will also donate funds from the sale of the collection to support youth development and youth programs through Mangkaja for the community of Fitzroy Valley, WA.

Mangkaja x Gorman is available in all Gorman stores around Australia and online.