A Melbourne Weekend with Tara Whalley

Written by Tara Whalley
on 11 October, 2019

As we gear up for a fantastic Finders Keepers Spring Summer season we take 10 with irresistible clothing designer Tara Whalley as she takes us on a colourful spin around her inspiring hometown of Melbourne!

Take notes and jump on your local Melbourne tram this 18- 21 October joining Tara and friends at the majestic heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building, for a weekend surrounded by mindful makers and endless spring adventures!

What’s does a weekend in Melbourne look like for you?

For the past few months my weekend looks like, a spin class on Saturday morning with Melissa from Falzon Collective. Then scooting over to Cibi in Collingwood for a coffee before diving into painting for my Lamington Drive residency. Before I paint, I like to study pots and plants and interesting ornaments. Then dive in and paint as much as I can.
On Sunday Andrew my partner and I usually visit a farmers market for a coffee before I have to get back to work. I have a lot of textile freelance work for clothing labels which usually runs into the weekend… but I love creating artwork so I don’t mind. On that note I’m currently taking bookings for March 2020 if you would like to commission an artwork for a product, packaging, mural, textile design, or need an artwork put into a repeat.   I’m your girl! Email me at info@tarawhalley.com

How does your city inspire you?

Melbourne is a very design savvy town. I’m inspired by the way we reimagine our surroundings and transform them with colour and shape. Melbourne is very supportive of art and I love how that appreciation is reflected in the way people dress. As much as Melbourne is known as the city that wears black, it’s also the city that wears contemporary print. I feel inspired to create for this customer. 

Tell us about your work space. what does it look like and how does it keep you motivated?

I was lucky enough to be interviewed by the Design Files, you can see my space here!
I have my Mac, my paints, my scanner, reference books and some favorite finds from my travels I enjoy painting. I love painting from real life!

Who’s on your not-to-miss list for the upcoming Melbourne SS19 Finders Keepers?

Togetherness DesignMosey Me, Wolf and MishkaSquintFarn!  I’m a bit biased though as many are the brands I stocked for my curated pop up Shop Gal earlier this year.

What’s your fave mode of transport to take in the Melbourne sights? And what outfits suit it best?

My favorite mode of transport to see Melbourne would be taking my dad’s tram. Bruce Whalley, Melbourne’s happiest tram driver. He will sing for you at Christmas time and welcome you to his Tramily. A Melbourne experience not to be missed.  He doesn’t have a specific tram, so you just have to be lucky.

My go to outfit for a Melbourne adventure day would be a Curious Cat jumpsuit with a skivvy underneath. Comfortable and breathable for a day of exploring.. and if the weather warms up you can remove the skivvy. I like to design for Melbourne weather. You need to be prepared for it all!

Can you share your top three tips for Out-of-Towners visiting the Royal Exhibition Building for the Finders Keepers weekend?

I would recommend visiting the Variety hour store on Gertrude st, coffee at Cibi to admire plants and have a meal, then popping in to Lamington Drive gallery to check out the latest exhibition. Just a stone’s throw from Finders Keepers at the Royal Exhibition Building!

From collections most recently based on prints of curious cats to exploring plant life and keepsakes, the wonderful imagination behind your work always stands out! What is it you love about being a creative person and how do you go about designing hero pieces for peoples wardrobes?

I enjoy seeing my dreams come into fruition. It’s really lovely seeing prints out in the wild or customers sending happy photos on Instagram. My hero prints often come from moments in my life, sometimes I’m just going about my day and I see a finished print in my minds eye – that always makes it easier.  Other times I’ll try and paint a series of work and just see what happens! It can take a little longer, but I enjoy this method as I often come up with new techniques.  I like to allow time to explore ideas in my personal work, and think about what colours and shapes I feel like wearing. It contrasts to my freelance work, which is more fast paced. 

Creating time to play in my personal work allows me to grow creatively and challenge myself.  I enjoy the challenge of creating that must have print that you can’t stop thinking about.

What are you working on at the moment and what can visitors expect to discover at your stall at the upcoming Melbourne Markets? Can you tell us more about XS-4XLOVELY?!

At the moment I’m snowed in with freelance textile design, but squeezing in designing for new collections when possible. I’m very excited to release my new collection which I developed during the Lamington Drive Artists residency.  It is very content rich and the more you look at it, the more you see, yet very elegant. I’m over the moon!  

I want people to feel lovely when they put on a Tara Whalley piece and love it for years. 

When I started my label, I only had a small size range, and it would break my heart to see people disappointed when I didn’t have their size, so I extended the range to XS-4XLovely.  Even then, I’d love to have more of an extended range, but I can always add more sizes on request.  I want people to feel lovely when they put on a Tara Whalley piece and love it for years.  I’m very passionate about people feeling great about themselves, and rocking what they have got!


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