FK chats to Rachael and Ishak of cool organic kids label Milk and Masuki, based in the Southern Highlands, NSW. They will also be debuting at the upcoming Sydney Markets.
Tell us about your label Milk and Masuki and how it all began?
Milk and Masuki came into being when our little son, Noah arrived August last year and we made the risky decision to use our creativity to support our new little family!
As we are both practicing artists, we saw an opportunity to apply our skills to start up a new exciting project together. We also knew that from the start we wanted to do things as ethically as possible. We were seeking cool, organic clothes for Noah and saw a huge gap in the Australian market, we looked at each other and said ‘hey we could do that’ and it all went from there!
Who are the team behind Milk and Masuki and what are their roles?
Milk and Masuki are Rachael Freeman and Ishak Masukor (Masukor is where the ‘Masuki’ comes from). We both studied at ANU school of art and absolutely love our new life as designer/makers. My role (Rachael) is mostly designing; often when the baby is asleep at night is when I get the work done. Ishak does the rest, his background in fashion means he has stupidly amazing sewing skills and knows his way around garment making. I’m always so impressed. We often share the task of screen-printing, usually whoever is not at the park playing with our son.
What inspires you daily?
We usually look to art for our inspiration especially abstract painting. I think with a background in visual arts its where the roots of our creativity are. For us, art and design are on the same plane. We get our inspiration from projects like The Selby architecture magazines, and Indigenous painter Sally Gabori. It’s often about people and their spaces which inspire us daily. I’m also obsessed with Marimekko fabric design at the moment, their fun and bold and just a tad bit over the top. We really look at everything from children’s illustration and Indigenous art to fashion and architecture. It’s a real mix.
What do you love about living in Southern Highlands?
The slowness of life here is so nourishing, especially if you are as busy as we are and have to be creative too. The beauty and stillness of the countryside here really gives us the headspace for dreaming big without getting distracted. It certainly has taken a while to get used to as we’re both city kids. Its also a perfect location to live as we can still duck into Sydney for work, or on the rare occasion see exhibitions or catch up with friends. My family is also close by so that support is a real life line. Yesterday I looked out my window and saw two cranes in our paddock in the morning mist. It’s moments like that which make you feel this place is special.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
The challenges are huge, the biggest one from experience is to try not to let yourself feel defeated, because there is always something awesome just around the corner waiting to surprise you! It’s a total roller-coaster. Another big one is learning to commit to designs, you need to give yourself deadlines otherwise I know I could spend forever trying to ‘perfect’ a design. I love the fact that we work for ourselves, which means that we also get to spend more time together.
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Milk and Masuki in the future?
At the moment we are focused on making our very cute summer apparel range. Lots of lovely organic cotton T’s and shorts for your baby coming soon to our website! We are also starting to design for winter next year. As for the future, we hope to build up a Milk and Masuki following and be apart of the movement to make organic clothing more accessible in Australia.