Ella and Sunday, Rani Wilkinson
How and when was ella & sunday born?
It’s hard to say exactly!
My siblings and I grew up on a farm in NSW with an extended family. My aunt and two uncles were as close to us as our parents. My beloved aunt used to make a lot of her clothes and taught me to sew when I was young. Over the years we spent many hours making clothes together. She made my formal dress, and I designed the outfit she wore to my wedding. She taught me a love of quality (the wrong side had to look just as good as the right side!) and classic lines.
After school, I went to college in Sydney and studied clothing production. I was inspired by my very talented peers and a family friend/mentor who employed me after I completed my studies in her high end fashion label, Riece (very well known in the 80/90s – they stocked the boutique, Frangipani, in Noosa!).
Years later, Ella, my daughter who was 12 at the time and I would talk about the lack of fashion suitable for her age. We dreamed up a label that we would design for Tween girls. She decided to call it
ella & sunday. The idea slipped away but the name stuck.
After working locally for a few years,
I decided I wanted to create a clothing label using natural fibres, quality finishes and timeless styling at an affordable price. I also wanted to ensure that I created strong relationships with customers, staff and suppliers that were built to last. I am the first to admit that I do not get it right every time, but I do try to learn from my mistakes.
How do you describe your label?
Natural Fibres. Timeless Style. Sustainable Quality.
ella & sunday is inspired by a simple design approach to create beautiful clothing you can wear every day.
How would you describe the ella & sunday client / customer?
Our clientele are women who love colour and quality. They appreciate the work involved in hand-woven, hand-stitched and/or hand-printed textiles. They love the fact that our garments have shape and accentuate our curves.
What inspires your designs?
I love vintage fashion from many eras. Sometimes I find a print I love and design garments to suit the print. Sometimes I have designed a style and look for a fabric to suit. India is an incredible place filled with overwhelming colour, textiles, and age-old techniques. It is an art to harness all that expertise and channel it into a collection. I am still learning!
Can you tell us about ella and sunday production, fabric, sustainability?
I print and source my own fabrics, choosing different base cloths each season using designs created by local textile designers. I also use hand block printed cotton from Rajasthan and traipse through fabric markets in Delhi for something a bit different. I work with two little family-run factories based in Rajasthan and usually visit twice a year. We make samples from my drawings and I perfect the fit together with their masterji (patternmaker). Once that is complete, I place orders and go into production. I love working with the talented men and women who produce our garments.
You collaborate with local artists to create unique prints – why is this important to you?
Somewhere along the steep learning curve of starting a business I realised that I wanted to support creatives, especially women, both locally and abroad. When my collections started to grow, I realised I could print some of my own fabric. Once I started searching for textile artists, I could not believe the depth of talent we have in Australia. As a creative in my own way, I want to collaborate with other artists to extend their craft. If we all support each other it can only help to bolster the industry.
What do you love most about working in Noosa?
I really enjoy living in this beautiful part of the world. It is filled with incredible talent and energy and I feel blessed to be part of it. The businesses in our little enclave of Gateway Drive in Noosaville are no different. We could not do it without the continued support of our local community who visit our street and spread the word!
What advice can you share with fashion start-ups/ designers / retailers?
When I talked to my mentor/family friend about continuing my love of textiles and clothing she gave me the best advice: ‘You do not need to go to college to learn how to design, that is something you know already. You need to understand how to produce a garment from fabric to finished product and everything in between’. That advice has helped me create the clothing
I make today.
What can we expect to see in the next collection?
My Winter collections are much smaller.
I try to design garments that could be worn all year round. I also use a little silk, which I know my customers look forward to. This year is tricky as we are not able to travel to India… expect to see some older styles reimagined and some exclusive prints from our favourite local textile artist, Julie Harrison from Pattern Play Studio.
What fashion item can you NOT live without?
I cannot live without the perfect summer dress that can be washed and worn on a daily basis. Oh, and shoes in every colour…. did I say I have a problem?