FK chats to Natalie of playful clothing label Fine Cloth.
Can you tell us the story behind your label Fine Cloth?
Natalie Pietraszek is the creative young designer behind the label Fine Cloth. Fine Cloth sets an image apart from the rest by offering handcrafted, womenswear with a youthful and quirky aesthetic appearance. Fine Cloth is one of those refreshing labels that draw from unique and personal inspiration. The “Made Pretty” AW/12 Collection is for the gal who lives in the tiny apartment filled with creativity and cuteness. There is an element of fun in each piece that sets off the quirky, childlike imagination that flows through the collection.
Fine Cloth does not rely on trends, nor is it produced offshore. Australian production is integral to Fine Cloth ethos. Together with my German Lover, Frank Pfaff (my trusty sewing machine), I created Fine Cloth in hope of leaving a smile on your face by bringing people clothes they love, to be human and to have a good time in the process. I handcraft the collection from under one roof, using traditional sewing techniques that retreat into a bygone age. The fabric, with emphasis on fine natural fabrics like silk, the cut and the workmanship is of a much higher standard that was once the practice. The sweet innocence of the garments hint at that homely feel, the handmade touch. Behind every garment there is hand worked personal touches.
What is your background and how did you get started?
I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl. My mum taught me the basics along time ago. My granny was also a lover of sewing, a self-taught sewer. I always admired the crazy combinations of fabrics that she would knock up and the way she would sew it together with no garment construction knowledge. The fabrics and prints of the 70’s that she had her hands, would be a dream to have today. I can still remember my first handmade garment, shorts with an elastic waist, a lilac number with an embroidered patch of snoopy holding a tennis racket. I was so proud of those shorts; I wore them to death on the tennis court. Then after the elastic went in the shorts I just kept on sewing, and haven’t stopped since.
Trained in all things fashion, between a Diploma in Fashion Design, graduating in 2004 with a distinction and later going on to complete a course in Small Business Management. As well as qualifications in Clothing Production and Fine Art studies at university, I developed an ardent interest in the creation of handmade objects and Fine Cloth was formed in 2007. I have been designing collections for gals with distinguished taste to follow and cherish for five years now. I design, cut, sew, market and hustle all under one roof and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How has your creative style changed over time?
My creative style has remained relatively the same over time. I am usually inspired by something in particular and create a mood board based on the inspiration and go from there. The fabrics always seem to have the final say.
What is your workspace like and what is your creative process?
Like most fashion designers my cupboards have become a treasure trove full of fabrics. My guilty pleasure is prints in all shapes and sizes. I have to restrain myself from buying all that I find and just settle for a few good ones. My workspace remains relatively bare with just my Frank keeping me company at the table along with a few essentials. The rest I try to hide in cupboards.
My creative process starts with an inspirational piece of whatever it may be. Inspiration is drawn from a different place with each collection. Fine Cloth’s design process can be inspired by pictures, people or places that culminate with research to produce a new collection each year. Fine Cloth’s “Made Pretty” A/W 12 Collection is inspired by the artist Frieke Janssens’ “Smoking Kids” series. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of Mad Men, Fine Cloth reflected on this throughout the collection. “Made Pretty” evokes the opulence of the Old World Charm that is reminiscent of your childhood, topped with mint slice and all things nice. Fine Cloth is inspired by a passion of fine arts, cinematography and popular culture, which sets Fine Cloth’s image apart from the rest.
Where do your source your fabrics?
Fine Cloth’s fabrics are sourced locally and globally. I especially love exploring through the little old local fabric store run by someone’s grandma with fabrics as old as her but sadly these kind of stores are ceasing to operate. I rummage through the Sydney wholesalers and spend way too many hours browsing the net discovering all sorts of treasure chests. You would be surprised at how much motivation a beautiful piece of fabric can give you.
Where would you like to see Fine Cloth in the future?
With an online store popping up shortly, the sky is the limit for Fine Cloth. A bricks and mortar store is also on the horizon, filled with Fine Cloth and all things nice.