Especially now that the weather has turned and New York is cluttered with pushy tourists and shoppers, I dream of strolling around Byron Bay wearing something flowy and free and taking in nothing but the serene nature. And of course, if I did, I would immediately reach for Aussie line, Strummer. Their clothes are clothes you want to live in. Charmingly sweet and refreshingly spirited, they capture the Aussie mentality and lifestyle, yet I can still see them popping up on a style blogger at a Stockholm street cafe.
Can you give me a quick background for each of you? How did you both find each other and do you find both of your styles and tastes are similar? Or do you both bring something different to the line?
I, Edwina, Started out studying business at UTS. I always had a strong pull towards fashion, so after traveling, I returned to Sydney to study fashion design at TAFE. I chose to complete the Certificate in Fashion Design, which is a one year course, as I was keen to get out there and get experience in the industry. I then worked at an established Sydney label for a year and a half and afterwards got involved in styling. This was great as I was able to work on shoots and learn at the same time, the ins and outs of the styling world.
I, Gina, from a young age have always had a strong interest in design and fashion. I started sewing and pattern making from a very young age. With strong roots from my grandmas strong sewing background who made everything from wedding dresses to christening gowns. I Started working in the industry straight after high school. After a few years working I then decided it was time to confirm my skills by studying fashion design at East Sydney, then went on to study advance pattern making at Ultimo Tafe. I have worked for a couple of prominent Australian designers as a design assistant and then onto production co-ordinator.
We met in 2007 working at a well-established Sydney label and became friends straight away.
Both of our styles and tastes are definitely similar which allows for synergy in design. As much as there are similarities there are still different aspects that we each bring to Strummer. When designing it is great that we butt heads sometimes as we then put more time into re looking at the designs and re working them till we are both happy.
How would you define the line? Who is the girl you design for?
Our SS 10 collection The Howling Sun contains natural fabrics, crochet & lace pieces and free-flowing baby-doll dresses which embodies the kind of unconstrained independence of spirit that we believe Strummer is.
The Strummer girl is curious in her surroundings; she is globalised, interested in culture, subtle but sharp and will find her foot tapping on many occasions to the good tunes playing.
How did you decide on the name Strummer?
We had actually started designing before we came up with the name. We thought it was best to have the baby and then name it (so to speak). After seeing some of our designs come to life we decided on the name Strummer as we liked the way it sounded and the images and feel that was evoked when we said the word.
From what I've read on Side Street Sydney, your line seems to be free of trend following.. So how much do you follow trends when designing?
We are always aware of the new collections and what other designers are doing as it is really interesting and keeps us inspired. I guess that being aware means that we are amongst it all, and the trends that are around would filter in to an extent. We don’t actively follow trends though- really we design what we would like to wear and see others wearing.
What/who inspires both of you?
Each collection is influenced/inspired by a number of aspects, some of which are recurring; like our favourite musicians of all time, the style of the late 60s/early 70s and freedom. We love hearing new music, exploring new happenings in art and culture around Australia and the world. We are inspired by people who have a strong vision and drive, who get out there and express themselves and their passions for the world to see.
Your line seems to be thriving despite a global recession.. How have you handled launching a line in this climate?
We don’t really know any different having launched during this time- which is good as we are really happy with the way that everything is going so far. If anything, it has meant that we can grow steadily and keep a good handle on Strummer.
Do you both follow style blogs? Do they help influence your designs at all?
We definitely look at blogs. Sometimes they take you on such a great journey whereby you look at one blog and then link on to another and anoth er.... until you realise it is lunch time and you’ve got no work done yet..... We love watching the street styles from around the world. Blogging defiantly feeds the mind and when you see something you like, it stores in your memory bank which may pop up again subconsciously when designing.
Has the explosion of style blogs changed the way you view press? Meaning do you value blogs and print exposure the same?
Definitely! We were blogged about before we got in the mags. We had a write up on Refinery 29 in Ny earlier in the year and started getting emails from all around the world- blogs have the most amazing ability to reach such a broad audience on such a large scale and impact amoung all the different communities. There is still something special about print and seeing our garments in a magazine. But we also love blogs for the accessibility and creativity- there are so many creatives out there and blogs allow for another outlet which is really exciting! Blogging has united the world and made it such smaller place, one second I could be in New York amongst the cool kids queing out the front of the parades and the next second I’m in Paris....
Are you selling anywhere in the States?
Not yet- we have had interest though from some fantastic stores and will be showing our next collection over there.... so we will keep you posted.
What are your goals for Strummer? Maybe New York Fashion Week in your future? :)
NY!!!! : ) of course! We will dream it till we do it!
Other goals- just to keep being inspired and creating garments that we love and others love too. We would love to have our own store. To keep expanding for all the right reasons.
What other designers do you both admire?
Karen Walker, Isabelle Marant, Dries Van Noten, Peter Jensen... Too many! So many! Opening Ceremony...
What are some of your favorite places to shop and hang out in Sydney?
Paddington for the new stuff and checking out lots of great Aussie Designers. Surry hills for Vintage as well as the Surry Hills Market once a month is the best! Hanging out would be Bronte for a swim and breakfast, Surry hills for beers and dinner. And last but not least the Northern Beaches to get back to nature at it’s best.
Can't wait until I can get my hands on some of their pieces! Will keep you all posted on where and when you can buy their collection here in the States.
Thanks to Seema for coordinating the interview. Check out her blog Sidestreetsydney.com.au