images courtesy of fashionising
Fresh faced model Bambi Northyood-Blyth lives up to her name with a doe-eyed gaze that seems perfectly at ease in the wilderness. This is the kind of editorial you either love or hate at a glance; I fell for it instantly.
Self Titled is unfeigned, effortless chic. It speaks of simple classic elegance with discreet sensuality; played out on a platform that reflects expression and experimentation with plans of leatherwear, accessories and eventually footwear.
Self Titled designer Tulia Wilson creates pieces with longevity. Designed with women like her friends in mind, her pieces integrate easily into one’s wardrobe and transcend over time, allowing the wearer to add their own personality and interpretation to the garment.
Fresh off the plane from a snowboarding trip to Japan, Tulia graciously granted me some time of her own to speak of collaboration, fashion’s use of new media, and the way your heart flutters when you meet someone who really gets you.
Who is the Self Titled woman?
She is exactly that; a woman of her own making. A strong individual, she is intriguing, vivacious, intelligent, exciting. She dresses to please herself, in an unexpected, distinctive, effortless yet sensual way.
Your collection features an incredible array of textures from suede to lurex; what inspires you to make use of such diverse fabrics?
I have always been inspired by textures. I have just returned from an annual snowboarding trip to Japan and I am in awe of the incredible way that the Japanese manipulate the textures in nature to create beautiful objects; a piece of rock or a slice of bamboo is elevated to an almost divine status by the careful, reverential handling of these materials.
I certainly don’t claim to achieve anything like this, but textures in fabric are a bit like that for me. I prefer to play with juxtaposition and experiment with combinations of different materials together. The old adage ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ is what I am striving towards.
You spent fifteen years at Zambesi working across many aspects of the fashion business from retail to merchandising, marketing, show production and on to eventual creative direction of the company; what was the most challenging aspect of your role?
I loved my time at Zambesi. I was so fortunate to be given the freedom to learn so many skills. I feel it has stood me in very good stead. Probably the most challenging aspect was to keep such an established business at the forefront of the NZ fashion industry for so many years. While establishing the creative direction from a design perspective was such a fun process, and fairly effortless to be honest, the work was really to manage tight budgets to find new and innovative ways to profile the brand; ensuring it was always a step ahead of what our competitors were up to and that we were continuing to innovate and to prove season after season that Zambesi’s position as New Zealands most directional design house was justified. I believe it is much harder to do this for an established label than it is for a young brand.
You have worked on creative projects for labels such as Konstantina Mittas alongside super stylist Pip Edwards; do you believe collaboration is the key to success as a designer?
Not necessarily. I appreciate how well collaborations work for some designers, and how recent combinations of high end brands and designers who have generated collections for mass market retailers can indeed result in an expansion of their profile and market share. But for me, it is just important to stay true to the work that you do. I believe that if the collaboration comes naturally and is mutually beneficial then it can be an amazing opportunity. I do love working with my friends, and that is why I seized the opportunity to work with Pip as she and I have a lot of fun working together.
What are your thoughts on fashion’s use of new media?
I think that new media is an extraordinarily powerful tool for the fashion industry. Look at how well talents such as Alexander McQueen used new media technology. The egalitarian nature of the internet means that a young designer can profile themselves as effectively as an established brand if they choose to do so. The rise of blogs and street fashion on the internet is a very important influence on many designers, and raises the bar of fashion as a whole.
However, because of the saturation of imagery and then immediacy of it, people now have a short attention span and get bored quickly. It is still important to celebrate the craftsmanship of fashion; to take the time and understand what goes into making every garment.
The Self Titled brand identity features a striking logo; what was the inspiration for the design?
The design was the brainchild of the very talented Mr Jonathan Zawada. I sat down and had a lengthy conversation with him about what I loved about fashion, and what I loathed. I talked about texture and colour, and how I felt it was a little boring that so much fashion identity was often black and white. We also discussed all sorts of things that had nothing to do with fashion. Then I left him to it. The result you see is how he interpreted me. It was very exciting to have somebody create something specifically for me. I think it is the first time in my life that I have had that experience; it is amazing when somebody really ‘gets you’. I wanted an identity that stood on its own, and that could develop its own personality over time.
Since I can’t bring you to my new office, I thought I would bring a little of my new office to you. The second I had a space of my own I did a number on the walls above my computer, adding images I collected in a heartbeat.
I found the image of Gemma Ward first; one link led to another and before I knew it one incredible Tumblr handed me all the inspiration I could handle. It’s unlike me to collect anything from the internet without noting the source, but in this case that’s exactly what I did.
Searching a second time without a reference for something precious you found online is like waking up from a dream you can hardly remember. Fragments taunt you, but without a context you may as well consider the narrative gone forever. If you recognise these images as yours, please let me know and I will credit accordingly. Oh, and by the way, you have incredible taste.
Today I took the longest lunch hour of my life and attended Project Be Style, hosted by Westfield Chermside. Flanked by an army of fashion journalists and members of the local style set, I sharpened my pencil and kept my score card at the ready as final year fashion students from QUT battled it out in style, charged with interpreting key winter trends with new season pieces from stores such as Cue, Sportsgirl and Diva.
The models paraded by our table one by one, each styled in a distinctive theme. From 80’s extravagance to Parisian chic, the student designers had their looks all stitched up.
I cheekily compared notes with a familiar face from across the table; Sara from Harper and Harley. I love meeting fellow bloggers in person and was super excited to introduce myself. This girl has an incredible sense of style.
As the students and models relaxed in the lane way behind the restaurant, Lucy from Westfield let me snap a couple of photos of her. I have a massive style crush on Lucy; she’s off to New York for an internship in a month or so and I have no doubt she will be fabulous. She’s just one of those girls; you know what I mean.
My friend Alice has just returned from a whirlwind holiday in Asia and she’s back on home ground with a suitcase of treasures and inspiration to match. A designer with a curious nature and a defined sense of personal style, Alice seems to always find an edginess in the unpredictable, so I wasn’t surprised to find an endless parade of pieces pour from inside her worn leather travel satchel.
Apparently vintage Levis are as common in Thailand as peanut satay; sold by the roadside by men who don’t care for the stories the denim could tell. The boots were of her own design, made to her liking based on a sketch she drew in a taxi, lost, and then had to explain to a Thai cobbler in broken language.
Vintage suede jacket, seashell necklace, and sunglasses, digital Casio watch from Incu, scattered rings by Digby & Iona and from the markets, sass & bide The Unlimited bodysuit.
There might be a heaviness beneath my eyes but behind them my mind is still burning in the afterglow after my whirlwind trip to Sydney. My galaxy exploded into a brilliant storm of excitement over night; the 5am start was painless, although I suppose it’s impossible to stay in bed when your heart races you awake.
I don’t think it is the lack of sleep that has me so wiped out; rather, the frantic hour loose on Oxford Street in Paddington that followed my long lunch with Maz (who had layered jewellery that told a story of its own) our Account Manager at Sweaty Betty PR. A suede jacket, vintage sunglasses, and a teeny Casio; whimsical fashion finds that perfectly accessorised the afternoon of a day that played out like a dream.
Urban Outfitters bag, vintage lurex tee, trousers borrowed from Alice, Target heels and vintage jewellery.
My first day of work tomorrow and I’ve spent half an hour past my bedtime rummaging through my wardrobe trying to find an outfit that suits my mood. Alice lent me these incredible trousers but as much as I love them, when it comes to dressing for an occasion I feel most confident in something I recognise on my skin.
I’m not the sort of girl who can buy something and wear it perfectly the same day; I find my pieces work the best when I’ve worn them in a little in my mind. I play dress ups and take time to introduce new pieces to the right crowd in my wardrobe, hoping they play nice.
An early start tomorrow; in my first few hours as the Public Relations Coordinator for Frockshop I’ll fly to Sydney for a play date of my own with our press agency before returning to Brisbane in the evening. I love packing for day trips, it gives me an excuse to carry my favourite things with me. A sketchbook, my MacBook, my iPhone, bronzer, a handful of random jewellery; now, if I could just figure out what to wear.
I slept in today, and took a morning stroll at 2pm. Ahead of starting my new job on Monday, I took a detour past my new office and could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the windows plastered with magazine covers and editorials. So much for taking a sneaky peek; I can’t wait to see what is behind the pages.