Introducing Esse: Edition 5
Walk us through your journey in starting Esse? Where did it all begin?
I have been a designer for over ten years across other brands and knew that the end goal was to start my own. Though I knew I wanted to approach it differently and build a more purpose-led brand, one that was based on values I was passionate about. I wanted the brand to do more and be more than just about ‘clothes’. I wanted to encourage my woman to adopt a slower, more considered approach to her style. Encourage conscious consumption, and really just try to make women’s lives easier by designing curated capsules that worked for her. ESSE really was born from blending things I loved about what I do and departing from the things that just don't serve us, personally and as a collective. A focus on quality, craftsmanship, innovation in design and fabrication along with a more considered approach to design.
Who is the Esse woman?
I’ve always said she’s real and authentic. For me, she appreciates heritage and classicism but is modern. There is a simplicity and minimalism that she subscribes to, not only in her clothes, but in her style. She subscribes to a certain minimalism because she has a sense of humility and a sense of awareness about her. I think minimalism to her is about enjoying simple pleasures, appreciating detail, and valuing a level of quality. She appreciates luxury because of what is means, an appreciation for a craft and a certain artisanal integrity. However, she still has the awareness and humility to know that indulging shouldn’t come at a cost, and it should be without compromising the world around her.
What are your top tips in creating a classic, curated wardrobe?
Invest in the right things. Take your time to find pieces that work together, and pieces you know you can rely on season after season. Invest in pieces you can build on so that you know when you buy that new shirt it will work back with the pant you already have! Take the time to investigate each of your pieces, where did the fabric come from, where was it made and is this piece going to last?
We’re so in love with the latest collection, where did you get the inspiration for Edition 5?
My woman always inspires me. I always think about her, what she wants and what she needs. I try to really ‘tap' into her psyche. What is she feeling in this present moment? Where will she be in 2021 and beyond! I am always heavily influenced by art. I had this incredible image of a woman observing Magdalena Abakanowicz Red Abakan at the Tate in 1969 that just sort of captured the moment for me and the introduction of the deep ruby and garnet tones throughout the collection.
What is your must-have piece from The New Trend edit and why?
There are so many gorgeous pieces in the edit! I don’t know if I can go past the Classico Overcoat. I have a sample and haven’t taken it off. It is so simple and effective you will have it in your wardrobe forever. My mum handed me a coat from my grandmother this winter that looked almost the same. I love the thought that maybe an ESSE piece would stay in the family for that long.
Thank you! We are very proud of it! We work with partner mills in Melbourne that are almost 100 years old. They use speciality machinery so the quality of the fabric cannot be replicated. The fabric itself is spun, knitted, and fashioned in Melbourne then the garments are made in Sydney, so these pieces don’t leave Australian shores. We are passionate about that. Fabric is everything to me! As a designer it is what inspires me. It really is the centre of my design process, and what I like to think draws our woman in. Sometimes I fall in love with a fabric and for me it is about bringing it to life with the best possible design. Or I design and find a fabric that will bring that design to life.
There is a lot that goes into the selection criteria, a lot of vigorous research especially from a supply chain transparency point of view. How does that fabric come to be - what mills I work with and what companies they work with, what are their certifications, etc. Then of course the end lifecycle of the fabric, what is the impact on the environment at the other end of the lifecycle. Of course, taking all of that into consideration, I also need to think about how the fabric performs for my woman. Is it going to give her the reliability, longevity and be the quality she needs so it can stay in her wardrobe for longer!