We managed to grab a few moments with the very talented Kelli Wharton, designer at Aussie label TALULAH, to talk about the fashion industry and how she got started.
Did you always want to become a fashion designer?
I was very creative when I was a young girl, and loved colour, florals and prints. This carried through with me in High School where I studied design. When I finished school I launched my first collection shortly after. Design has always been a passion of mine and from an early age I knew this. I am lucky enough that I am still able to do this today for a living, and I encourage all women to spend some time discovering what they love and ensure the allow themselves to do this for themselves every day; be it through work, leisure or as a hobby.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
I have always wanted to design and manufacture clothing for women, using my passion for creativity, colour, print and a feminine look. After designing a boutique collection and showcasing this at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week nine years ago, a number of Australian speciality retailers and department stores encouraged me to build the business. It was here that TALULAH was born. Now a team of likeminded women work with me every day to produce beautiful collections for women the world over.
I am inspired by the things I love; colour, the ocean, Byron Bay, floral prints, graphic art and much more. We release five collections a year under TALUALH and each of these lines has an underlining theme from romantic, to tropical, crystalized or bohemian.
What are your favourite things about your job?
I love the entire process of producing a new collection. We have key pieces that can carry on from range to range including the chic party dress and bonded silk pieces, but every new line I challenge myself to build and grow on our established design aesthetic to create something that is modern, new and feminine.. Delivering a collection where I have pushed myself to go beyond the boundaries of what I have designed previously is always an exciting process!
What are some of the downfalls?
There are no downfalls – just challenges! And everyone should love a challenge. Balancing my work, with a healthy lifestyle and a young family is the toughest part of my day. I’m lucky that I get to work and live in Byron Bay with my family. I enjoy coming to work and I am much more productive if I ensure that I have balanced my creativity with time at home with my husband and children, a walk along the beach and time to myself.
What does a day in the life of you look like?
My family and I are lucky that we share our office and home with the beautiful surroundings of Byron Bay and its beaches. In A typical day my husband and I rise early with our two children, drop them off at day care and then head over to join our TALULAH team at TALULAH HQ. Every day is busy in the office, but we are lucky that everyone who is part of our team loves what they do. Plenty gets done in a single day, but the day’s definitely run away with you. My husband is company Director and I am Creative Director and Designer for the TALULAH brand. We share our office space together and work in partnership to build the business. In a typical day I share my time between designer new ranges, working with our Sales and Marketing Manager and leading the creative direction for the business.
Winter’s here. What have you been wearing this season?
TALULAH winter is all about the printed shift dress worn with winter boots, knitted scarf, layers of luxe jewels and a bright winter lip. Winter will never be boring with our new range of prints and strong colour palette, bold monos, crisp whites, mix match ensembles, textures fabrics and classic feminine styles that will last for seasons to come.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
You can do anything in life, as long as you apply yourself and work hard at it daily. Never give up and never take no for an answer. I would suggest working for a fashion company you like so you can learn what actually happens within a fashion business day to day. Find out what area you enjoy, whether it be PR, marketing, designing, production, accounts. As there are many sides to the business of fashion you can be part of. When applying for jobs, have a can-do attitude so you can get involved in many parts of the business and have the opportunity to grow and explore.