FK chats to Prue the designer & creator behind Illy Strate, amazing fashion design tools and notebooks for designers.
Tell us a bit about Illy strate, and the products you make? How did you the idea come about?
Illy Strate is a polycarbonate fashion figure with mobile limbs and joints for fashion illustration and design.
She works as a moving template that can be transformed into any pose, allowing you to trace her silhouette, then get back to designing. The Illy Strate figure is an interpretation of the 9 heads theory of fashion illustration where the body is broken down into 9 heads in height. You learn this theory when studying fashion design along with many other involved theories and techniques.
The idea for the Illy Strate Tool came about after a few situations where I had people ask me to draw figures or templates for them to design on.
The Collection, Outfit and Inspiration to Go Diaries complete the Illy Strate range. Each diary is pre-printed with faint figures to allow quick designing sessions.
What is your background and what inspired you to reproduce your idea for other fashion designers?
My background is in fashion design, I have been the Head of Design at Cue for the last 8 years.
I have always loved the illustration side of design but have seen through interviewing and mentoring designers that others, although amazingly creative, sometimes struggled with it. It eventually just “popped into my head” that if there was a tool you could place in a pose and then trace around it would make that whole process a lot less stressful, and hopefully a lot more fun. The feedback so far has reflected this sentiment.
For beginners starting out she serves as your ‘training wheels’ for fashion illustration. Repeatedly tracing the shapes and silhouettes eventually leads to being able to repeat the shapes without the tool, in the same way as your training wheels lead to riding a bike aid free. For experienced illustrators/designers, Illy makes designing so much quicker its too tempting not to use her!
What has your experience been like launching Illy strate and did you come across any challenges?
It has been a few years from the developmental stages through to production. Our initial challenges were functional, how the joints would move, what she would be made of to allow repeatability etc.
I made the first sample out of cardboard and then began researching how we were going to make it happen. It was all very new territory. We worked closely with an industrial design company here in Sydney to develop the first prototype which was then used as the blueprint for our production run. Much time and attention was paid to the quality of the joints and the finish of the tool. We wanted to make sure it was a tool that was functional with a clean design aesthetic.
Being a unique tool it has been challenging communicating what Illy Strate is and what she does. It wasn’t just a matter of showing that it is the ‘best’ or ‘quickest’ or ‘newest’ but showing she is one of a kind and this is how she can work for you. The introduction of video on Instagram has been brilliant for showing the Illy Strate figure in action.
As with most small business the costs and logistics involved with shipping, particularly internationally are hard to juggle. At this time all aspects of the business are handled by us so we are
We struggled for a ridiculous amount of time with the name. She needed to have an identity but also allude to what she was used for. My husband Andrew came up with Illy Strate, perfect!
Where would you like to see Illy strate in the future?
In the last few months we have been receiving as many international orders as local orders so we are currently working on finding stockists in the United States and Europe and of course here in Australia. I’ve always wanted to see her in the MOMA design store in New York and Tokyo and Liberty in London.
We love seeing what other people do with the Illy Strate products so its great when people share with us on Instagram.
Select products also available at select General Pants stores, Ariel Book Store Paddington and The Powerhouse Museum Shop