Just one left in store...
Have you been taking the occasional dawdle across to our Nice Work project? We decided to extend its duration, and thus it will continue to grow over the coming days - both in store and online - wrapping up (for now) on March 31st.
It has been a genuine pleasure to put together this simple project, gleaning little snippets of information and inspiration from the designers involved, to assemble a sort of colourful and abstract picture of their work - as well as their interests, aims, personalities and lifestyles.
It seems like a nice afternoon (quiet, sunny and breezy outside) to add a little more to the picture, and present the third in our series of accompanying interviews... We sent the lovely Jolet Ucchino, of the label Jolet, about ten thousand questions relating to the project's themes, and asked her to respond to the ones that meant something to her. Many thanks JU!
[MS] Who makes your clothes?
[JU] All garments are made in Melbourne.
Can you sew well?
Yes, I actually make most of my samples.
Do you design/make anything other than clothes?
I used to love to draw and paint. I come from a long line of artists, so making things has always been part of my life. My mother used to sew a lot and hand embroider when she was younger living in Italy.
What do you think of the lifestyle that is created by having your own business?
There are definitely pros and cons related to that lifestyle. The pros are you can choose your own hours and have no one to boss you around. The cons are that work is pretty much your life when you have your own business, especially at the beginning. Even when you’re not working, it’s hard to stop thinking about work. You really have to train yourself to take time away from work, both physically and mentally.
Do you think there are characteristics/personality traits that independent designers share?
Yes. I think to be successful as a designer you have to be a little obsessive and stubborn. The obsessiveness allows you to strive to out do yourself creatively and the stubbornness will stop you from giving up during the hard times. It also helps if you enjoy what you do.
Does anything deter you from being in the industry for the long term?
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Pictured above: snippets of press featuring Jolet garments; the Jolet label has captured the attention of many local fashion editors and publications in a short(ish) space of time.
A little look at some of the new garments from Livia Arena and Jolet.
Notes: the Livia Arena jumper is fluffy on one side and not fluffy on the other; you can have your fluff at the front or your fluff at the back, and you can choose from white + black, or black + black... the dress is longer and fuller on one side, it is a deep sea green (called mallard by LA) and it is very beautiful... the Jolet silk top does feature a view from the Eiffel Tower and those are wonderful drapey culottes with pockets, and it is like walking in Paris when you put them together.
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Pictured: Livia Arena Fall dress (RRP $329 or $280 with subscribers' discount) and Livia Arena silkie jumper (RRP $329 or $280);
Jolet Artificial Elements silk top (RRP $190 or $162) and Jolet Birkin culottes (RRP $275 or $234)
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PS. More deliveries have happened in the last couple of days, including a selection of Limedrop tops, leggings and dresses, and more Romance Was Born. All of these pieces are available now for at least 15% off...
In the past week or so, Milly Sleeping has enjoyed a little flurry of new arrivals, from ffiXXed, Jolet, Livia Arena, Lui Hon and Romance Was Born. Although there is still much to come (from these labels and more, of course) we are already having a great time playing around with our fresh range of styles, colours, prints and textures.
Today's feature has to be the silk t-shirt dress in Oregon print by Romance Was Born - simply because, any day now, there will be none of these beauties left to photograph. It needs no adding to, really, and yet you can throw just about anything with the dress and look incredibly terrific in a now we're in Peru, or Morocco (or, I guess, Oregon) fashion.
As is now customary, we have a subscriber offer up our tasselled leather sleeve... which is, as per last season, 'a simple series of discounts for Milly Sleeping's followers and friends.
If you've signed up to our mailing list, or keep tabs with Milly via Twitter or Facebook, you're entitled to a 15% discount on your first purchase when choosing from incoming garments and accessories, and 20% off all second, third and any subsequent purchases'. This offer will apply to all new full price A/W 12 items (over $50.00) for the duration of the season. All you need to do is tell us who you are when you're in store.
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Pictured: Romance Was Born silk t-dress (RRP $350 or $298 with subscriber offer), worn with...
Estelle Dévé Flint bracelet - as choker - (RRP $170 or $145) and Flint necklace (RRP $225 or $191);
ffiXXed linen tassel scarf ($87 or $74);
ffiXXed horizontal knit cardigan ($264 or $224);
Lui Hon Lavato leather sleeves (RRP $284 or $241)
One recent evening, I made my way to Footscray, to the studio of Aly Peel.
Aly, of the MAIIKE label, works from a large space in a converted wool mill. It has been her studio (and sometimes living quarters) ever since we’ve known Aly but I’d never been before… I pictured her space as a big isolated warehouse; it turned out to be something like a split-level apartment amid a small brick-laned ‘village’ (which reminded me of a film set).
Aly and I had a longish chat about her business, and how it has changed over time. She has always worked with her family – originally with her brothers, Mick and Ged – now, running the gorgeous Maiike store with her sister-in-law Feride, as well as maintaining the wholesale business. Aly has two gorgeous little children with her partner, Thuy.
We mostly talked about the difficulty of maintaining creative output, amid business and family life, and the choices that Aly makes in terms of producing her work in the careful, labour intensive manner that she does. As we agreed afterwards, it was a conversation that could have gone on and on. Many thanks to Aly for the hours that we had...
In her words:
Before I started my business, I worked at a buying office in Daimaru. It was before I started drinking coffee or something - I didn’t really go out on the weekends, and I used to sit home and make things, and I loved it...
I basically built my business (my client-base) by selling at markets [like Magnolia Square].
Especially back then, I used to just always wear my old ripped jeans and this black hoodie with a nasty print on the back… For the markets, I had to dress more colourfully, more happy. And it’s not necessarily fake, it’s just this different part of you that you have to present.
It was great to meet people [although there were] heaps of misconceptions [about me and my work], particularly that I had kids … and then, when I finally did have kids, [people assumed] that they must have the most amazing bedrooms… I made Kiem a cot quilt, and I made it before he was born - the day before the baby shower - ‘cause I was really embarrassed that his room was just still this bare space full of junk!
I rarely... make things for myself now. It feels like work...
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