Art & Design

Snippets: Chats With Creatives, You Are Brave – Series 2, Snippet 7

Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today we are chatting to Michelle from You are Brave, a textile brand that creates hand printed apparel, tableware and interior decor pieces inspired by nature in all it’s glorious forms. Her work has earthy tones and emulates a relaxed Australian vibe. She worked as a commercial textile graphic designer for years before stepping out on her own, inspired by the words of her Aunt Mabel ”You are Brave” her products are hand printed and made locally, an important part of the brands ethos.

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Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

YOU ARE BRAVE textiles is known for it’s hand screen printed fabrics (although I’ve also produced digital prints in the past). I think my style of print design is simple, relaxed + has a coastal and tropical Australian feel.

My prints tend to focus on single aspects of natural forms. I’m trying to isolate “the one thing” or essence of natural things that can seem complex + mind blowing at the outset. This is how I gather my inspiration + it becomes like a meditation for me.

Uplifting everyday practicalities is also central to the ethos at YOU ARE BRAVE as are the benefits of natural + sustainable fibres … the offering is of printed meterage, hand made interior décor and most recently, women’s apparel which is all locally produced.

My leap of faith into YOU ARE BRAVE textiles came in 2014 when I left a long career in commercial textile design. It was a brave move at the time. But I knew I had to do something more meaningful with my creative energy + my time on earth.

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You are brave image 5Where do you call home?

Sydney’s Inner West is now firmly my home although I grew up in & still have close family ties in Cape Town, South Africa.

What 3 words best describe your creative style.

Relaxed. Natural. Australian

What would your dream creative project look like? Who or what is your dream project, client or job? Tell us about why you would love to collaborate with them and what you find inspiring about their work.
I love travelling. And there’s something about the tropics that not only appeals to me but more than that, tropical places make me feel alive. So I would love to work with a boutique resort on updating or designing their textile furnishings.

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What would you say is the biggest challenge when working for yourself ?

As a person with many ideas + interests,  I would say staying focused + motivated has been my biggest challenge. I think being creatively self employed requires not only a commitment to yourself but a large amount of self belief. These are things that constantly ebb + flow for me so it’s something I’m always working on.

What/who inspired you to take the leap in to your creative venture, how did you get started?

My Great Aunt Mabel has always been inspirational to me but as most people who ask about the origin of my label’s name know, she was also the reason why YOU ARE BRAVE has it’s name. The story behind it is posted on my website but in a nutshell, my Aunty Mabel believed in me when I didn’t, she showed me that with a little self confidence, I could do anything.

Tell us about how you get your creative juices flowing, what is your process?

Two things here … I respond to being immersed in nature. Line, colour, pattern, shapes + smells in nature are powerful stimuli both visually + spiritually.

But I’ve recently learned that I respond creatively when I take on a big challenge, see it through + do a good job of it. It energises me + it seems to provide more motivation to explore future endeavours.

You are brave image 9What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!

I worked in fashion for a long time but after 14 years in the industry, I felt I needed to work with my hands again + produce things that were meaningful as well as beautiful, so I returned to my roots in interior decor when I started YOU ARE BRAVE in 2014. Recently I’ve produced some prints that were just calling out to be made into apparel, so I guess I’ve come full circle. I now offer printed meterage for all those talented makers out there as well as decor + a small range of apparel.

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You are brave image 1You can follow what Michelle from You are Brave is upto Website, Instagram, Facebook.

Textile Collection Tutti Fruity

It feels as though we’ve been hit with a heatwave! & what better way to celebrate things heating up than with a fun new range of textile prints that simply scream Summer. For these designs we’ve been inspired by the beautiful simplicity of summer fruits. We are very excited to introduce our new Tutti Fruity Collection.

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Creative inspo came straight from our green grocer, and we were really excited to create a range of playful designs that celebrated simple motifs familiar to everyone. The range includes a quirky minimal print, a tangerine dream and a seriously sweet statement print.

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A mixture of acrylic paints and watercolours were used to create the artwork for this range, resulting in a range of interesting and juicy textures. The hand-painted nature of the designs gives the range a lazily elegant feel.

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It wouldn’t be a summer fruits inspired range without plenty of colour, and our design team did not hold back. The collection features plenty of bold colours and primary brights in perfect contrast to ensure balance within the prints.

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The Tutti Fruity collection has been designed as a celebration of enjoying the little things, and we must admit we are definitely enjoying the change of season. We love to know what you think these designs would be perfect for so get in touch. Prints are available in our Fabric Shop now.

Snippets: Chats With Creatives, Carmen Hui Illustration – Series 2, Snippet 6

Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today on snippets we are talking to Carmen Hui from Carmen Hui Illustrations, her drawings are detailed with a playful and fun Australiana theme and often feature botanicals and animals. Each drawing is a labour of love using layers of coloured pencil strokes and her style is unique and very distinguishable. Her designs can be seen across a variety of mediums including paper, jewellery, textiles and ceramics to name just a few and she also teaches workshops so she has lots of advice and knowledge to share with us!

Honey-Im-Home-03Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

Hello, my name is Carmen and I am an illustrator focusing on animal and botanical pencil drawings. I started Carmen Hui Art & Illustration about 4 years ago after wanting a sea change from my job as a designer. I didn’t have a set plan when I started my business, I just participated in a few group art shows, a couple of local markets and then opened an online Etsy shop. It was a slow process but each little step gave me the confidence to keep going. Nowadays, my days are split between running my online shop, doing commissioned works, teaching drawing classes and attending design markets.

Profile Picture_Carmen_HuiWhere do you call home?

I live in sunny Marrickville with my partner Mat and my cat Miso.

What 3 words best describe your creative style.

Delicate, emotive and Australiana

What does a typical creative day look like for you? How do you stay on plan and organised?

Everyday is different and consists of juggling many hats. I start the week by prioritising what’s important and allocating time in the week to complete each task. I usually start the day by doing the less fun stuff such as admin, accounts and packaging orders. Then I will do more involved work such as planning and commissioned work.

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What would your dream creative project look like? Who or what is your dream project, client or job? Tell us about why you would love to collaborate with them and what you find inspiring about their work.

I am in love with surface design at the moment and would love to see my designs on clothing and accessories. This is something that I have started dabbling in, but would love to collaborate with an experienced clothing brand and adapt my drawings into a small range of clothing.

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What would you say is the biggest challenge when working for yourself ?

Being kind to oneself. Being your own boss can have many advantages and disadvantages. You are constantly thinking about your business and what more you could be doing, It is important to give yourself a break every once in a while and be happy with what you’ve achieved. I burnt out really quickly after the first couple of years working for myself, so this year I’m trying to slow down a little. It’s not easy, but I think I’m getting there.

What’s the best thing about being in the creative industry in Australia today? And on the other hand, what do you find most frustrating?

I think right now is the best time to be in the creative industry in Australia. People have a deeper appreciation of craft and great designs and are very supportive in helping small businesses to grow and develop. The growth of social media is also extremely helpful as it helps us reach people far and wide, something that is near impossible in the past unless you have a large marketing budget.

Brucey-the-Cocatoo-02What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!

The project I’m most proud of this year is my Everyday Bag designs. This was a passion project of mine and am so happy that it came to fruition. I’m hoping to slowly build on this and release more designs in the new year. In terms of collaborations, I have an illustrated plant pot design with Plernters, a range of Christmas cards and accessories that are about to be launched with La La Land, as well as some soon to be available wallpaper designs with Milton & King which I’m super excited about.

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Budgie-Pin-Pal-03You can follow what Carmen is upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook.

New Chevy Fabric

We have another very exciting addition to our fabric range which we are dying to introduce. Please meet our newest polyester fabric, the Chevy! We think this will be a particularly exciting launch for those with budding summer fashion projects!

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Chevy is a polyester / spandex blend (92% polyester / 8% spandex) which provides the fabric with a little stretch. The small amount of stretch provides the fabric with some give, making it a really comfortable fabric to wear.

The fabric has an off-white base, with a chevron weave and a matte finish. The fabric’s composition and finish, results in strong colour reproduction when printed, making it an excellent choice for projects with bright and deep colours.

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Chevy is a mid-weight 170 GSM fabric that is both durable and smooth to touch. Chevy is ideal for fashion garments designed to have structure to their form, whilst still being super comfortable to wear. We think the Chevy will be perfect for light suit jackets and blazers, bomber jackets, pants, culottes, shorts, skirts and dresses.

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Whilst we think this fabric is most suitable for fashion applications, it’s durability, printed colour results and resistance to creasing would also make it a great choice for some interiors and events projects, such as tablecloths and banners.

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Sample swatches of Chevy are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. Get in touch with any projects you think our Chevy would be great for!

Snippets series 2 – Snippet 5 Kalaii Creations.

 Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today on snippets we are talking to Stacey from Kalaii Creations who is an artist and designer who loves working with watercolour, creating textile art, and helping creative brands with their surface pattern and design needs as well as teaching workshops! She has a flair for colour and a style that is elegant, playful and enchanting.

Kalaii_Creations_snippets_1_image_5Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

My name is Stacey and I established Kalaii Creations in 2016 when I was on maternity leave with my second baby. I needed a little bit of me time, and participated in a creative workshop and from there I was hooked! My creative streak was reignited. I was always very interested in drawing in my school years, and did art through high school, but lost track of it all during my later years. I am so glad to have found it again! I started by making an Instagram page, and sharing some of my artwork, and soon had orders coming in for custom pieces and I just decided to explore it all, and it has opened up a lot of doors for me. Now I host creative workshops with Workshop Brisbane, The Craft Parlour on the Gold Coast, in shopping centres, and I am soon to help teach a textile design workshop, with you here at Digital Fabrics which I am very excited about! Currently I focus on watercolour art, graphic design, textile design and creative workshops ranging from knitting, watercolour art and textiles. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future.

Stacey_Biggs_Kalaii_CreationsWhere do you call home?

I have been based in South Brisbane, Queensland, for most of my life (I moved from NSW when I was just a baby).

What 3 words best describe your creative style.

Feminine, Boho inspired, Vibrant

Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?

I love the initial stages of creating, when a client comes to you with their vision, and their inspiration, and you get a rush of exciting ideas and ways in which you can help them. I love being able to see what I will paint in my mind, and then how I can manipulate that in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and then still always be pleasantly surprised at the finished result.

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Kalaii_Creations_snippets_1_image_10What does a typical creative day look like for you? How do you stay on plan and organised?

A typical day for me is a little bit of a hot mess actually! I have two kiddies under 5, and I also work at a Brisbane based university for 3 days a week and thus arrange my creative design work at varying stages around this. Mostly I work at night, once the kiddies are asleep and I host my creative workshops on the weekends. I stay on top of my workload by completing little bits every day, and stay organized by using a Passion Planner. I write down all my clients needs and deadlines, and I also write down all the personal designs, and tasks I want to achieve within my business, which keeps me focused!

What would your dream creative project look like? Who or what is your dream project, client or job? Tell us about why you would love to collaborate with them and what you find inspiring about their work.

I would love to further explore the possibilities of having my designs feature more on active wear and swimwear out in the market place. I would love to be custom creating designs for people left right and centre! I find it so exhilarating when you see your artwork making a product pop! I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with Sarah from @saltysparrowbikini on her new line release coming later in the year. I would also love to work with @midoribikinis. I love their designs and aesthetics and feel my designs would fit well with this brand.

Kalaii_Creations_snippets_1_image_3 Kalaii_Creations_snippets_1_image_4Which other artists/ designers/ makers, artists or creative people are you enjoying at the moment?

I am currently in love with @jessswan_art I love the colours she uses, the shapes, tones everything! It is mesmerizing watching her work!

Tell us about your creative space, what are your tips for keeping a creative studio space organised?

It is my dream to soon create a creative space. Currently I work from my dining table (I know there are many of you out there just like me) and I also have a very small old fashioned house which does not leave a lot of room for arts and crafts and product storage. I use a combination of storage draws and desk space to stay on top of my organisation at home. I am hoping soon to extend our house for multiple reasons, and I may just sneak in a little studio while I am at it!

What has been your proudest creative business achievement to date?

My proudest creative business achievement to date and a dream come true is an upcoming swimwear design project I have been able to assist with. Sarah from Salty Sparrow Bikini (@saltysparrowbikini), has chosen my designs to feature on her first swimwear line which I am over the moon about! I am also super excited to be working with Jemma from Newymummyblogger on the designs for an upcoming project she will be releasing soon. But I will keep that hush hush for now :) Another major achievement for me is being able to work so closerly with Digital Fabrics to help teach textile design classes. I keep pinching myself about this amazing opportunity!

Tell us about how you get your creative juices flowing, what is your process?

I love speaking with new clients about their design ideas and inspirations, as often their ideas require me to push my artistic and creative boundaries each time. They make me think outside the box and think of ideas/combinations that I would not have ventured into, if it was not for their influence! This is my favourite part! Then I usually research their inspiration and competitors to get a vibe for the type of project I am working on and then I get to creating. I usually see the end product first, and then work towards creating the elements to bring this to reality.

Kalaii_Creations_snippets_1_image_6What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!

I have loved working with Workshop Brisbane, The Craft Parlour, Sarah and Jemma, and also Lauren from @cocokini_ (another bikini designer who has also featured my designs)

Kalaii_Creations_snippets_1_image_1I am super excited to further develop my relationship with Digital Fabrics and help by teaching textile design class for beginners, and I look forward to printing some more fabrics for some special pieces I have in mind. Watch this space! My next venture is the release of a cute little day clutch, great for the beach, where I have collaborated with Kate from  @blue_eyed_girl_creations who has helped to sew the clutches for me. I can’t wait to see what people think of them.

Stacey_Biggs_Kalaii_CreationsYou can follow what Stacey is upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook

Snippets: Chats With Creatives – Series 2, Snippet 4

Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today on snippets we are talking to Bianca from Bianca Smith Designs who creates artworks that are about empowering women and combine her love for theatre, ballet and beauty in a majestic and magical way. Her style is very unique and she creates a variety of artworks that translate across mediums.

biancasmithdesigns_snippets_series_2_image4Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

My name is Bianca, known affectionately by friends as ‘Bi’, which I also use to sign all of my work.

I’m a Graphic Designer and Visual Artist by trade and I am based in Adelaide. I’ve been a Graphic Designer for close to 20 years where I am able to use my flair for design, but my true passion is art, so over the past 10 years I have invested every moment I can into refining and developing my visual art skills. I love to draw, paint and create.  My utopia is producing art all day every day!

My art work always addresses the empowerment of women – almost a goddess status. Bringing together my love of theatre/ballet and beauty, I try to capture the strength and beauty of my characters in an almost theatrical way. I take inspiration from the novels that I read featuring female heroines as well as the inspiring women that I meet. My use of dramatic light and beautiful models assists in portraying the strength and resilience of women.

Drawing from my other love, fashion, I did a series of illustrative for Australian Fashion Labels. My works focused on capturing the strength and confidence of the girls that wear their clothing, whilst portraying the playful essence of the brand. By mixing monotone drawings with a splash of colour, I aimed to change the tone and strength, creating images of women who are powerful yet delicate. This is universally at the core of what I produce.

biancasmithdesigns_snippets_series_2_image2Where do you call home?

Adelaide

What 3 words best describe your creative style.

Illustrative, Modern, Contemporary.

Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?

I love the conception of a piece of artwork.  The tumbling of images in my mind, which eventually form and crystallise from an idea, a concept, into a clear vision.  That vision then becomes an obsession, a desperate struggle to be formed with exact replication.  I obsess over sharing my image with precision and that drive continues throughout the process, that desire to replicate perfectly is a bitter, sweet scuffle.

How would you describe your work, and what influences your style?

Although my artistic style can, and does vary, depending on my life and surroundings, I’m also heavily influenced by fashion illustration and my own passion for clothing.  The textures, the colours, the cut, and the design all inspire me. I predominantly work in pastel and watercolour and although I create every piece of artwork by hand, I then use the finished original image, together with various digital techniques to create a series of pieces, combining my art with my design skills.

Fashion and women heavily influence my style. I love, love, love fashion, perhaps another personal obsession!

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What does a typical creative day look like for you? How do you stay on plan and organised?

After getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise and then get my kids ready and off to school, I usually start my working day with a much-needed coffee and the checking of emails. Unfortunately, the reality of life means some days I don’t leave my computer, but whenever time permits, I surrender to my obsessive desire to escape to my studio and create.

Depending on which stage in the process a piece of artwork is, you will either find me upstairs in my studio drawing life into an image or enhancing that original piece of art in Photoshop as I design something for my unique collection of diary covers, pillows, cards, and homewares.

I’m a deadline kind of a girl, it’s the only way I can stay on task. That’s why I love projects where there is an objective and a deadline. I thrive under pressure and produce my best work with adrenaline, conflicting priorities and a little chaos.

biancasmithdesigns_snippets_series_2_image7What would your dream creative project look like? Who or what is your dream project, client or job? Tell us about why you would love to collaborate with them and what you find inspiring about their work.

My absolute dream creative project would be working collaboratively with a ‘fashion house’ to illustrate their models and garments for window display and the associated promotional campaign.  Having unrestricted access to their design method, the inner workings of a label and seeing their creative process unfold would be nothing less than inspirational.  To then have the honour of representing that in art form, bringing that vision to life is my ultimate goal.

If you could spend a day in another artist’s studio shoes who would that artist be?

Kelly Smith of ‘Birdyandme’ fame, works with all the top fashion labels around the world and I’m a massive fan of her work. If I could be in her shoes for a day I would honestly be living my dream. Or Gabriel Moreno – who is an AMAZING artist overseas. He has a remarkable ability to capture the delicacy, strength, and sensuality of women in his drawings. They are just astonishing! I would love to even have a day in his studio to watch him work.

biancasmithdesigns_snippets_series_2_image6.jpgbiancasmithdesigns_snippets_series_2_image1What would you say is the biggest challenge when working for yourself ?

Staying positive about your work!

Social media can be a double edge sword as it both inspires and intimidates. It is full of people posting about their successes and digital platforms have a knack of focusing on the positives whilst minimising or eliminating the negatives, the sacrifices, struggles and setbacks.  It is easy to assume “their” life is perfect, easy, and unattainable when there a no posts about failure.

The truth is, for every success there has usually been many challenges, rejections, and disappointments. It’s important to learn from them all and allow it to fuel your growth, stretch you, and inspire you. I often question my skills and direction, but sometimes you just need to believe in yourself and your vision. And then of course practice, practice and practice some more until your craft is refined to its full potential.

If you could go back and tell yourself one hot tip or piece of advice when you started out what would it be?

Believe in yourself and follow your heart

What has been your proudest creative business achievement to date?

Doing an artist residency with Australian Fashion Labels. I worked from their creative hub in Adelaide City for 3 months, putting together a dedicate exhibition, which was then displayed in their store windows throughout SALA (South Australian Living Artist).

What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!

The project that stood out for me last year was doing all the illustrations for the wine labels of an established winery in Mclaren Vale. They will be launching very soon, I cant wait to share them.

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biancasmithdesigns_snippets_series_2_image8You can follow what Bianca is up to: Website, Instagram, Facebook.

New Whisper Fabric

We’ve been really committed of late to sourcing gorgeous new fabrics to offer all of our customers, and are very pleased to introduce the second NEW addition to Digital Fabric’s polyester range – the Whisper. If you’ve been dreaming of a fantastic alternative to silk, with a hint of stretch and zero sheen, then this dreamy fabric’s for you!

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Whisper is a light-weight fabric with a matte finish and a bright white base, which provides excellent colour reproduction when printed. The fabric’s smooth textured surface makes visible the fine details of designs making it perfect for prints with lots of elements and / or texture.

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The fabric is a polyester / spandex blend with a good amount of stretch, and has an ultra-fine surface. Whisper’s feel and flexibility makes it a perfect choice for fashion garments and accessories as it is really comfortable to wear, and soft to touch. Whisper’s slinky, liquid-like drape makes it a great matte substitute for silk, and is most similar to our Dilly fabric. We think this fabric will be just perfect for scarves, skirts, dresses, blouses, lounge-wear, undergarments and soft accessories.

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Sample swatches of Whisper are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. Get in touch with any projects you feel the Whisper would be fabulous for!

New Oliver Fabric

Lately we’ve been committed to finding gorgeous new fabrics that we can offer to all of our customers! After plenty of research, sourcing and testing we are very excited to announce that we have a NEW fabric! Introducing Digital Fabrics’ newest polyester fabric – the Oliver. For those looking for a new fashion fabric the Oliver is definitely something you’ll be interested in.

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The Oliver is a lightweight, 127 GSM Polyester Spandex blend (95% Polyester / 5% Spandex), which provides the fabric with a little stretch, making it a really comfortable option for fashion garments. Oliver has a bright white base with a matte surface, which results in strong colour reproduction when printing! The fabric is breathable, super-soft to touch and has an excellent drape.

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This fabric is ideal for fashion applications, especially for those designing easy to wear, relaxed garments. Oliver is perfect for dresses, skirts, tops, soft accessories and loose-fitting Activewear.

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Sample swatches of the Oliver are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. If you’ve got an idea you think the Oliver might be perfect for, we’d love to hear from you!

Snippets: Chats With Creatives – Series 2, Snippet 3

Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today on Snippets we are talking to Stephanie and Amy, Sydney based couple behind Outer Island. A design label that prides themselves on creating products inspired by nature such as ornaments and textiles, all made from natural or recyclable materials in Australia with a colourful and fun vibe as well as being educational and respectful to the environment.

Outer_Island_snippets_series2_image9Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

Outer Island is the collaboration of Sydney based couple Stephanie Chambers (artist) and Amy Ranck (graphic designer). We love traveling, collecting and being in nature. I’m from New York and Amy is from Australia so we joke that we’re both from islands, which is where the name Outer Island comes from, but really what connects us is our love for collecting and making things. Two years ago we moved to Sydney from Brooklyn and had our first Aussie Christmas together. Inspired by our endless birding and bushwalking, we wanted to bring the magic of Australian nature to our own Christmas tree. We moved here with our beloved ornament collection, but found it hard to find unique, colourful, well designed Aussie ornaments, so we started there. After making ornaments we expanded to fabric items. Everything produced by Outer Island is made in Australia using only natural or recyclable materials. Sustainability is a big part of our mission statement and we work with ethically minded vendors and manufacturers. We work out of our sunny studio in Darlinghurst and our business is a year and a half old.

Outer_Island_snippets_series2_image1Where do you call home?

Sydney, NSW

What 3 words best describe your creative style.

Magical, Colourful, Purposeful

Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?

The beginning is always the most fun. When we’re working on a new design, we work together to decide what we want it to look like, then I do the drafting and Amy does the art directing. Running a business, we try to divide and conquer to make the best use of our time, so this beginning part is always the most fun because we get to work together.

Outer_Island_snippets_series2_image6Outer_Island_snippets_series2_image2.jpgWhat does a typical creative day look like for you? How do you stay on plan and organised?

Each day varies, but after about 10 months in business, we sat down to create a schedule that we felt would keep our business on track. We scheduled weekly meetings and also started calling Mondays ‘Marketing Mondays’ to force us to step away from painting and designing and to focus on getting our product out into the world. We use google drive to organise our documents and really started treating our business like a business around 10 months as well. Think: BINDERS. We also use spreadsheets to track our productivity and a free online project management tool called Kanban-chi. I use an old school paper and pen planner to stay on track and each month we have different larger projects that we try to get done so we can make sure to stay out of the weeds. I love to paint and Amy loves to design so it’s important for us to have easy tools and systems to work with to keep our productivity on track and to also move the vision for Outer Island forward. We try to think ahead and put systems in place now that will make it easier for us to scale.

If you could spend a day in another artist’s studio shoes who would that artist be?

[Stephanie] I’d actually love to see how it worked in large workshops during the 1600’s in Northern Europe. I’m obsessed with Dutch still life paintings and would very much like to be a fly on the wall to understand how it all came together. I’m a big Northern Renaissance nerd. I love how their paintings represented nature better than nature could have through their compositions and richness which then really emphasised for the viewer how beautiful nature truly was.

Tell us about your creative space, what are your tips for keeping a creative studio space organised?

Buy a label maker! Every now and again we have a big strategy meeting and in our last one we realised our studio was a mess. So we went out and got proper storage things and a label-maker and went to town. It’s been so much easier for us to work efficiently since we did that. We also regularly clean the studio because it makes us feel crazy if it’s a mess, especially if it’s during a busy time.

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If you could go back and tell yourself one hot tip or piece of advice when you started out what would it be?

Don’t rush.

What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!

We’re expanding our line of ornaments with lots of new ones and will also be expanding our Christmas crackers this year. We really want to be able to give people items to enjoy that will bring the magic of Australian nature into their homes and create special memories. Nature needs all the help it can get and we believe if people have reminders in their homes then they’ll feel more connected to nature and if they feel more connected to it then they can begin to protect it.

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Outer_Island_snippets_series2_image7You can follow what Outer Island are upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook.

Nailed It: Q & A Style Interview With Sarah Kalidis From Studio Onethirty

Nailed It. Creative business success story

Here at Digital Fabrics we love finding a new and interesting success story on a brand or business that is inspiring to the creative community. We thought it would be useful and informative to find out how these creative businesses nailed it, lessons learned on the way and tips they might have. We have asked them to share important “How to’s” and growth hacking tips for start-ups and emerging designers. Read it, get motivated and nail it yourself!

Today we are talking to Sarah Kalidis, the artist and designer behind Textile label and self-named bricks and mortar shop: Studio Onethirty. We will be chatting to her about how and why she began, what challenges she faces and what she sees for the future of her growing brand.

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Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_10Tell us about your creative business, what do you create, how did it begin and where did the name for the brand come from?

Hello I am a textile designer, furniture designer and artist. The business began while I was taking time off as a new mum; I started drawing and painting in my down time. After trying to source fabric for homewares pieces, I found there was a lack in the market for something bold and playful, and at that moment I decided that I would create something myself. Thus began the transition from drawings to textile pattern.  The name ‘Studio Onethirty’ is where my studio first began; my home address number of 130. It would be a reminder of a humble beginning, and those few precious years being a new mum and juggling a new venture.

You began your career in interior design, what led you to start your own business and if you could go back and tell yourself anything what would it be.

After becoming a mum and taking time off, it gave me plenty of thinking and reflection time. I decided I wanted to forge my own path rather than help some someone else achieve their dream. Having my own business would give me flexibility of choosing my own adventure. It hasn’t been easy, as working solo from the beginning meant that all responsibilities were mine, and working on designs, prototypes, sampling; meant plenty of back and forth while carrying an infant around.

If I could go back and tell myself something, it would be not to stress the small stuff; things may seem difficult and every day you may feel like you are pushing up a very steep hill, but keep looking forward and try to remember the reasons why you took this path. The pure joy and satisfaction of creating your own collection is far worth it.

What did you learn through the interior design industry that has helped you with building your own brand and what skills are transferable?

Being an interior designer has definitely helped with conceptual development of the range, and I give myself a brief and manage all aspects of the product from initial sketch through to assembly. I not only see each piece aesthetically, but it is important that there is a relationship between form and function. Certainly the skills of being able to visualise a product from conceptual stage has helped. I have a vision right at the beginning of how the piece should look, and having the material knowledge allows me to liaise with different local artisans and collaborate on the manufacture process.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_4You opened a bricks and mortar shop earlier in the year, a designer’s dream some would say. What were the biggest challenges in doing this and what led you to make the bold move.

Yes it is a dream move most certainly! And having only started the business a little over a year before, it was a very quick progression. However a store came up in my local area, in a lovely boutique little shopping strip, and it was a blank canvas. I thought what an amazing opportunity to provide locals with something unique and inspiring, and bring something different to the area. The space is my retail flagship store, and it also houses my art studio upstairs. I love that I can create pieces entirely onsite, and customers can visit to experience the whole design process.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_9What do you love most about what you do, what does a typical day in the shop look like and do you ever miss elements your old job?

The thing I enjoy most is being able to design and create each piece myself. It is a real sense of pride to be able to introduce people to the collection and explain that the art, textiles, homewares & furniture are my very own designs. And they are proudly made in Sydney! A typical day in the store during opening hours, is working in-store serving customers, along with tending to emails, orders & social media. And if there is some quiet time I can work on some new concepts and art pieces. I do miss my old job where I worked with some fabulous people and clients, however having the opportunity to be creative in a completely hands-on way is a really lovely new direction.

What would your advice be to someone dreaming about opening a shop or creative space? Have you faced anything you didn’t foresee as a challenge?

Making the decision to open up a creative space is one that takes a lot of consideration. You need to have a clear goal of what you are setting out to achieve, and know the risks at hand. The retail market is not an easy during this economic climate, so you need to offer your customers a unique experience and a level of service that would make them want to return. The challenge I faced right at the beginning was educating the local community on the store concept. The site had been a beauty salon for over 15years, and not expecting a creative space in an area such as this; it took a little while for people to realise what Studio Onethirty was all about.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_8As well as having a real life shop you also do the independent design markets, what do you think the main benefit of these are to Studio one thirty and what would your advice be to someone keen to showcase their brand at these events.

I love doing design markets! I feel that my products need to be experienced first-hand; and what better way to see a product than to touch and feel, and meet the artist themselves. My first ever launch to the public was at The Finders Keepers Market 2017 in Sydney, and over 3 days 20,000 people came through the doors! So the exposure my brand gained in the early days was incredible. Exhibiting at a design event is something I highly recommend when developing your brand. You will be exposed to a diverse range of customers, & gain feedback on your product that enables you to grown and adapt to the retail market.

What are your biggest inspirations and favourite materials to work with and is there a material or discipline you would like to work with in the future?

I love painting botanicals and native flora, and I do like to give my pieces a contemporary feel. It is all about colour and texture. I do enjoy working with linen as I love the organic feel of the fibre, and there is something about the way my designs translate to the cloth; it adds dimension to the artwork yet achieves a softness. I try to be eco conscious when developing the range, working with more recycled materials would be a great step.

How do you approach new work or designs, do you create for seasons or trends? In your experience is this valuable or do you prefer to follow your own path and see what comes naturally.

I prefer to follow my own path when designing pieces. My range is quite unique, and so it is important for me to keep inspired by external influences other than trends. I do feel that my work is a reflection of the season; I am often inspired by the natural environment, and so many of my artworks include colours that I am surrounded by at the time of their conceptualisation. It is generally a natural progression while painting and drawing.

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Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_1What do you see for the future of Studio One Thirty, do you have any projects in the pipeline you want to let us know about? 

I hope that my pieces can continue to bring a smile :) and one day I would love to see my upholstery fabrics in an amazing hotel somewhere fabulous, like New York or Paris. Dreaming BIG I know!

What is the best piece of business advice anyone has ever given you and if you can pass on any words of wisdom what are they.

One of the best pieces of advice was that you should believe in yourself and have the confidence in your product, as it will evidently show in the quality of work you produce. Words of wisdom would be to find something creative that you really enjoy, even if it is just a small hobby, and make some ‘me’ time to really enjoy it.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_6Thank you Sarah! We loved having you as part of our Nailed It series.

You can follow what Studio Onethirty is upto: Website, Instagram

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