FK talks to the lovely Shannon of Melbourne based fashion label Pretty Parcel!
Tell us a bit about Pretty Parcel and what products we can expect to discover?
Pretty parcel is an independent clothing and accessories label run by Melbourne based fashion designer Shannon McAlpine. It brings together the quality and timeless design of vintage clothing with a contemporary twist. Each piece uses locally sourced and handpicked vintage materials combined with fresh modern fabrics; creating individual and limited edition pieces that are unique which you can feel confident in wearing. It’s my favourite time of the year where I get to design the Autumn/Winter collection. You can expect to see gorgeous capes, dresses, skirts, and blouses with a French feminine influence; and of course my super cute and cosy onesies will be back!!
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Both my grandmother and nanna were seamstresses, so it’s in my genes. However from a young age my interest for design, fashion and creativity grew to a passion. I’m forever taking photos and collecting ideas, which I keep in my inspiration journal. It’s amazing looking back through my grandmother and nannas’ photos! After school I studied fashion in Melbourne (textiles, clothing and footwear) which brought my skills to a professional level and grew my passion even more. I love the whole process from designing, sourcing materials, pattern making, cutting, sewing, marketing and selling; especially at markets where I get to meet my customers ☺. It’s so motivating when someone compliments my pieces and can’t wait to put them on!!
What do you love about working with clothing and accessories? and what keeps you creatively motivated?
It’s difficult to pinpoint what it is that I love about fashion however vintage fabrics and trims, prints, florals, polkadots, bows, buttons and all things pretty inspire me. Creating pieces out of all things I love and seeing the end result is so rewarding. Sometimes it’s hard to part with my pieces☺. I live by my inspiration journal which consists of quotes, designs, images, fabrics, colours, patterns and anything that motivates me and reminds me why I love what I do. Travelling and experiencing different cultures around the world is a big influence to my creativity. Recently I took a trip to Japan and the fashion and life styles over there are just phenomenal. It was amazing seeing an entire culture look at fashion in such a unique way to the rest of the world.
What do you love about living in Melbourne?
Melbourne is so creative and it’s got such an amazing diversity between suburbs. There are so many artists markets, farmers markets and craft fairs held all year around, each with their own unique twists. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between which markets to do with so many overlapping the same days and weekends. I feel everyone is so supportive and open to new ideas and there are so many opportunities for emerging designers. It’s nice to be a part of a city with such a large community that appreciates local handmade clothing and accessories. Aside from the fashion I love the open air cinemas, beaches, growing bike riding culture, parks, bars, shows and when you want to get away its not far to drive before you’re in a remote area where you can camp and just hang out with friends.
Where do you source your gorgeous vintage fabrics for your range? and are their challenges in doing so?
This is one of my favourite aspects of design. It can be a bit of a challenge sourcing unique fabrics but also exciting, as you never know what you might find. As I mentioned both my grandmother and nanna were dressmakers so I’ve been lucky to receive passed down generations of beautiful vintage fabrics. It’s challenging because quite often I get ideas in my head that require certain fabrics however it’s not always easy to find them. Sometimes I spend week’s just sourcing fabrics, but I love it. Over the years from travelling, visiting op shops, markets and local fabric stores I’ve build up a massive collection which I’m continuously rediscovering.
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Pretty Parcel in the future?
I’m currently designing the Autumn/Winter 13 collection to be released around March. It will have a French feminine influence with beautiful warm Autumn colours and a strong focus on scalloped edgings. For the future I’d love to expand the label into a few more stores as I currently only have it stocked in some small boutique shops; Heroes & Villains in Fitzroy North; I dream a highway in Northcote; and Limerence in Belgrave. However in saying that I love the idea of having a small boutique label and I’m conscience of maintaining a close relationship with my customers. In terms of markets this year I’d love to be part of the Finders Keepers Market again and possibly follow it around the country to some other locations. I’ll also be looking to do some of the other bigger markets as they bring such fun experiences where I get to meet other amazing designers that continue to inspire me through the year. You can find pretty parcels collections online and keep up with Pretty Parcel’s Facebook page to keep up to date with all things pretty parcel.