Dom and I have been close friends for many years, having met in a fabric store we managed.
We have been collaborators, close confidants and at times embroiled in a passioned battle over fabric. I am lucky to call her a friend and to have watched her build her brand with such love and integrity.
I thought it was high time I got her on the record as we reflect on her journey to this point and what might lay ahead.
How do you like to start your day?
With a coffee from my local and going for a little walk through Carlton or Fitzroy gardens or occasionally into the city and along the Yarra if I feel like a longer walk.
Starting my day with a walk is something newer for me but it's really been helping get me in a better head space, particularly at the moment. I've also been free styling a little yoga and stretching.
You predominantly produce pieces on an on-demand model. Can you elaborate on the importance of this?
There's just such a huge problem with excess clothing and textiles and I don't want to be a contributor to this issue. I don't want people buying my clothes unless they really want them as there's plenty out there already.
It also helps with trying to move away from sale culture, it's not entirely possible but rarer in my case to have stock I need to clear. It can also make me much more adaptable to what people might want at any given time which is especially relevant at the moment.
We often talk about our industry's fraught relationship with sustainability...in which ways are you hoping to evolve this within your own practice & what would you like to see change in the industry at large?
I'm trying to work with more traceable fabrics and the ultimate goal would be to get to a point where I'm offering largely bio-degradable pieces.
Generally, I'd like to see much less fast fashion and for workers across the board to be paid living wages as the absolute minimum and a change in consumer behaviour where people 'buy less, choose well, make it last' (Vivienne Westwood - one of my all time favourite quotes).
I am wearing the Isabel top & Isabel dress from our collaboration
You are NZ born but have called Melbourne home for quite some time now, how has Melbourne managed to captivate you for so long and what do you miss about home?
Above anything it's people that make a place home and Melbourne has brought me so many great people over the years - in particular you Mel! Hehe.
The city itself is busier than back home which is something I think I really craved too. Melbourne has a great vibe (okay maybe not right at this moment but normally 100%!). There's also a sense of openness here among people, I felt very accepted and encouraged when starting my label here. It's been hard at times being away from family, particularly at the moment when visiting home isn't a possibility due to Covid, I think this is something a lot of people are going through at the moment whether you're in another state or country from your family. Whenever I do go back to NZ I spend most of my time at the beach which is something I really long for at the moment, there's something so calming about being near the ocean.
How would you describe your style approach?
Easy and comfortable, colourful at times - I love a good print or a statement colour.
Dom wears the Anna frill in Zest
In times of flux and uncertainty, how do you care for yourself and practice mindfulness?
I like to listen to audio books. Patti Smith's 'Just Kids', Malcolm Gladwell's books.
Lots of walking and trying to put as little pressure on myself as possible.
I've been trying to learn the piano, it's a great way to channel the mind's focus, it feels quite meditative.
Is there a piece of writing or advice that has struck you and stuck with you on your journey?
I was listening to the Fader Uncovered podcast where Mark Ronson was interviewing Erykah Badu and this little excerpt really struck me. I’ve popped a link below to the podcast on Spotify if you feel like listening to the whole thing.
“Writer's block, it's not a real thing to me. It's kind of like when I'm not inspired to do something and I'm a little frustrated about it, I consider it a downloading period, the time when you're living and learning and growing and hurting and happy and moving and then get so full that all the creativity starts to come out of every orifices. If you're patient, then it's no age limit or no time limit or ... It happens” - Erykah Badu.
“Enjoy your life. Sometimes, we're just downloading” - Mark Ronson
Listen to the episode here
Where do you gravitate to for inspiration?
Travelling and being out in nature, especially by the ocean.
Fabric shopping, surrounded by print and texture.
Some of Dom's happy places above
Where are you most looking forward to visiting (local or otherwise) when we have the opportunity?
I would love to travel to Ayers rock and Broome and overseas, Italy, Greece and Croatia are high on my list.
3 tracks currently on rotation...
For romance... 'Mad about you' by Sun Little
For serenity...'Wash over me' by Teeks
For grooving...'Dysfunctional' by Kaytranada
What gives you hope and what are you hopeful for?
Warmer days give me hope. I'm hopeful for freedom from lockdowns and being able to re-unite with friends and family.