FK chats with Zoe from Sydney based classic & quirky children’s label Pretty Pickings!
Tell us a bit about Pretty Pickings and what products we can expect to discover?
I have always been a huge fan of vintage clothing and fabrics, I also love to see children dressed as children! Pretty Pickings clothing uses a mix of vintage, upcycled and a small amount of new fabrics to create clothing that embrace children being children. Think classic, individual, cute, quirky and you are almost there… A lot of my items are one off so you won’t be seeing anyone else’s children running around in these pieces! With me at Finders Keepers this December I will have embroidered doily dresses, a huge range of vintage fabric dresses (It really is hard to decide with so much choice!), pleated skirts, nappy covers, boys shorts and a new dress I made for the 6-10 yrs bracket who aren’t always catered for in the market scene I think.
What is your background and how did you get started working with children’s clothing?
I’ve always been a sewer, my mum made stuff and so did my grandmother so it’s in the blood I guess – although my mum will love to tell you the story of how I ‘fired’ her from helping me out with the dresses! During uni years, I was always the friend who on a Saturday afternoon realised I had nothing to wear so I would whip up something – not perfect by any means but over the years I have gradually perfected my skills. When my daughter came along almost 6 years ago I started making things for her, they were liked by friends. At the time I was living in Newtown so I ventured into the local children’s store and they liked them too… the rest is history I guess!
How has your creative style developed over time? and what inspires your work?
I started off with some pretty simple designs – in fact I sometimes cringe when someone (usually a friend) dresses their child in one of my old pieces. They still love them but all I can see is how much better my creations are now and how much more they embody Pretty Pickings ‘style’. I feel the past 5 years have seen my creative style develop in leaps and bounds. I now know what I like making, what I make best and what my customers want to see which makes us all happy! My work is inspired by styles of old – dresses I wore as a child in the late 70’s, early 80’s. It is also largely inspired by the fabric… I am all about the fabric and spend a great deal of time sourcing amazing vintage fabrics from all around the world. I love to sit down with a pile of fabrics, a pile of doilies (if you saw my collection you would gasp!) and work out the best combination of the two – that is the fun part!
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
We live in Sydney’s Inner West and our house, although beautiful is reasonably small. The majority of the last 5 years had me sewing on the dining table and having to pack it away afterwards. About a year ago we made the best investment and got an attic storage room complete with an opening skylight for ventilation…24sqm of me space! I know have a space to sew and NOT pack away and it is GREAT! A friend asked me the other day if I always look at what children are wearing…and the answer is probably yes, especially when it is something a little different to the norm. Ultimately though, the fabric guides my creativity – I am constantly thinking of ways to showcase the beautiful fabrics I find in the best possible way.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
There have been some challenges… challenges like converting it from a hobby to a business or finding the time to create whilst looking after two young children. I also find it a little difficult to be constantly promoting the business – facebook, markets, media, agghhh! I love that I can be at home with my children but also have a creative vent that helps me to be me as well as a mum!
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
I’m extremely excited to show my work at the Finders Keepers Market for the first time….that seems like a pretty good step in getting more and more people to know my label which can only lead to good things 😉