Sharing stories of woven tales and homely goods...

category: Design Making Process

going with Coco.

“A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel

There is always an occasion for a dress, or a dress-suit! I love that I always feel classy and fabulous in both.

sound of silence dress 2013

{  2013 – Sound of Silence  }


After Five was a terrific curation of The Darnell Collection recently exhibited at the Newcastle Art Gallery. It was a wonderful reminder of why I love dresses, ensembles, attention to detail and getting dressed up.

I identified with it all – from the provenance of the collection, to the many layers of artisans and cultures behind the creation of each dress, to the women who wore the garments and the stories enraptured and captured within the folds of each piece. It was refreshing, like a sweet cool breeze across my skin after a wild night in polyester. It revived the meaning of dress-making and design for me.

We make dresses like “Waiting for Jack” for all time. And boy, have we heard some stories from the women wearing this particular dress – of heartbreak, of hope, and crazy adventure!

waiting for jack 2005waiting for jack 2005waiting for jack 2005waiting for jack 2009waiting for jack 2013waiting for jack 2013

{  2005, 2009, 2013 – Waiting for Jack  }


Perhaps romantic escapism is the way we approach our designs… I don’t think it would matter if we were making an ensemble for a zombie film or for a sci-fi future, we will always want to make fabulous dresses.

madness with the bliss 2010madness with the bliss 2011Madness with the bliss dressmadness with the bliss 2013

{  2010, 2011, 2013 – Madness with the Bliss  }


And the thing that holds strong and true is that we never tire of our dresses. Be it 2005, 2013 or 2320, the way we see it, dresses are transcendental.

“Fashion fades only style remains…” yea – we’re with you, Coco.

She sees her own ReflectionShe sees her own Reflection

{  2009 – She sees her own reflection  }


Post by ROBOAT.


Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process, Mrs Woo Women

Sisters stitch together.

Patterning, sampling, patterning, sampling, grading, cutting, snipping, piecing, stitching, pressing, stitching, piecing, pressing, stitching, snipping, stitching, pressing, piecing, stitching, pressing.

Making is chaotic, progressive, repetitive, inevitable and essential in the process of creating any thing.

The definitive thing materialises from logically disorderly beginnings. Making beauty isn’t typically beautiful. I’m hard pressed to think of any thing coming into being without firstly having to ramble across a few complex terrains, scramble over a few molehills… pins and needles.

Making our way along the same paths, over and over, again and again, makes each undertaking a little more familiar, more knowable. Though not less demanding.

And it’s comforting that within this pace and pattern, whilst we’re immersed in the snip snip stroke of scissors and the beat beat stitch of the sewing machine, we discover space within the whirring and find small moments to adjust, tweak and improve.

It’s really only in thinking about this that I realise it is what happens.

It was watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi that made me think of our own making process.
“I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit,” says 85 year old Jiro Ono, sushi shokunin (artisan) who has been practicing his craft for more than 60 years.

Daunting… yet strangely comforting.

Early days for us yet. Back to the stitching hearth.



Post by ROBOAT.

2 Comments Category: Design Making Process

Back to the future.

Taadaa! We’re in the future!

It really wasn’t that long ago we were watching sci-fi films set in the apocalyptic landscape of 2013 where the future is overrun by gnarly humans with big guns and leathery wardrobes. In fact in 2013, we dress like we’re in 1985 – or was it 1995?

Is 2013 really looking like Escape from LA? Or are we Back to the Future II (2015) cut-off and stonewashed, denim-ised and over-sized? Not too far-fetched if we’re on the right Tank Girl (2033) trajectory. However, as our future continues on its increasingly synthesised and complex path, we may just reach The Fifth Element and be glad to have sharply reconstructed wardrobes by Jean Paul Gaultier to take us all the way to the year 2263.

But here we are.
And here’s a sneak peek of our very near future – Autumn Winter 2013.

Coming soon x


Post by ROBOAT.

2 Comments Category: Design Making Process

Seeing spots.

There are polka-dots… and there are spots. And dots by any other name would not be spots. Circles, discs, hoops really don’t quite hit the spot.

For the love of this truly splendid shape, we unleash a stampede of spotty sunday bests this Spring.

Our spots are printed on a truly divine, light natural linen fabric that we’ve unrolled (selfishly delightfully :) into one of our favourite dress designs - Love among the ruins

…and into the wily ways of a double-collared wrap top-jacket – Once over

…and in a fit of dottiness, we wear the spotty wrap top-jacket upside down.

 Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

Go back for seconds.

When something is GOOD, we simply want it again… and again :)

In-store this week, we go back for seconds.

In The Second Person - Cape Dress getting stretchier and cleverer.

Second Edition - Cape Top refined and republished.

…and a little more still to come.


Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

Writer’s Block

“Easy reading is damn hard writing,” stunningly said by 19th Century American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

His philosophy certainly applies to many forms of creativity – design, architecture, music composition, story-writing, cooking… and the list goes on.

It is often the designs and creations that are seemingly simple, unassuming, understated but with a strong sense of completion that have travelled the most complex and tumultuous paths to reach their final destination. Immeasurable amounts of time, thought and energy spent testing and refining each piece to arrive at a place it is meant to be is certainly a lifelong pursuit.

We’ve certainly chosen our path – indeed we persist!

It is inevitable that, every so often, we face writer’s block.

Months and months ago when we were designing our Spring Summer range of clothing, we were struggling with Writer’s Block but discovered the very thing that impeded us was the same thing to inspire us. Sounds simple enough, but not at the time!

Drawing on some of our favourite tales and genres like existential sci-fi *and making up some in the process, we continue to create characters and stories to wear, like -

Not My Boyfriend’s Jacket an oversized and maverick jacket

On the flipside a bold and brass crop pant


Miss Mary Mack sans buttons down the back, but a zipper to unfold you

Behind the sun a top for simple navigation

Now Playing no time like now skirt, pronto!

The Lorax a bold and telling dress

Beneath the moon a dress trajectory into the future and beyond

And these are just the first few of a cast of clear-cut fabrications of our Spring Summer collection Writer’s Block. They’re in-store now for you to encounter, and for them to meet their destiny…

Stay tuned for the next instalment. 

~ Thank you again to Nadine Barry for being our fantastically true to life model xxx


Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

The devil is in the details.

Autumn harvest is well under way.

The fruits of our labour freshly picked, stalks trimmed, produce well-packaged and ready to take to market! Without a doubt the madness’s in the method, the devil’s in the the details – the smallest feature makes the biggest difference in growing good-looking, good tasting goodness :)

Beautiful ingredients, better produce.

Extra stitching, better preserve.

Clean and trim, no loose ends.


Wrap up, too good to eat :)

*Thank you to the wonderfully cloudy Kylie Johnson for being our sweetly silver lining for this season’s produce xxx

And as ‘Sure as rain’, our harvest continues…


Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

New season harvest, Autumn collection.

Autumn is nearly here :)

We’ve been busy preparing, making, growing our next seasonal crop of clothing for some time now. It’s time to harvest – we are bringing the first batch of these fresh fineries into our stores next week.

All good things take time. Following from our last series All of my own, When the day is done continues the journey on a desert shore where land and water meet… wayfaring to the beautiful sounds of Nick Drake.

It was a cold, windy, rainy, sunny day at Stockton sand dunes, that day we shot our story. It couldn’t have been more (im)perfect :)


The landscape swept us up and away…


*Thank you to our model – the wonderful, beautiful and talented actress Nadine Barry, for helping us tell this tale xxx


Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

Tiling not sewing.


Tiling Crossjack tops this week -

like the ones down the road from grandma’s house in Gemas…

like the ones on the street near shirley’s flat in Okachimachi…

as we prepare for Autumn, in the distance.


Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process