March 2017

And So The Story Goes…

Self Titled Self Titled Self Titled Text: Adriana Giuffrida Images: Self Titled

Tulia Wilson cemented her feet firmly into the fashion industry through stints at Zambesi and Ksubi. Now she has branched out to create her own label, Self Titled. March marks the debut of Self Titled, and the collection brings a refreshing element of effortless chic. Using luxurious fabrics and textures, clean lines and a fantastic eye for structural detail, Tulia brings us pieces that will remain in the wardrobe for years. Adriana Giuffrida speaks with Tulia about her creative past, the present and the future of Self Titled.

Adriana Guiffrida: I recently read that you have come from quite a creative family. Your father is a furniture designer and interior designer, and your grandmothers are milliners, seamstresses and jewellers. Did it ever make you think that you wanted to branch out and be a lawyer for example, or did you always know you would be creative as well?

Tulia Wilson: I have never been asked that question before! I did actually go through a phase of wanting to become a surgeon! I loved my education, but I always wanted to find something that would combine my artistic side with the more mathematical, pragmatic side of my nature. On days when I have a creative block I feel like giving it all away and going to help the starving people in Darfur, or the neglected children in Nigeria, or something else very noble and worthy. I sometimes struggle with the meaning of creating fashion when there are so many more important issues for the world, but the flip side is that I know in a small way fashion makes people happy.

AG: You initially studied architecture before heading into the fashion industry. Obviously the forms are very different, but in a lot of ways you are translating two dimensional ideas into three dimensional ones. Do you find there are many parallels between architecture and clothing?

TW: Of course. I abandoned my architectural studies because I was seduced by the pace of the fashion industry – and I’d always loved dressing up. The relentless momentum of fashion is challenging and intoxicating. I do struggle with the transient nature of it though, and that many ideas often have a shorter life in fashion, whereas design principles can be honed and worked over time in architecture. I still hold a desire to one day create something that will be more of a lasting testament, something that will outlast me. One of the important driving forces for me creating fashion too, is to resolve pieces that are beyond seasonal expressions; pieces that become firm favourites for years to come.

AG: So you are originally from New Zealand and have a history of working with Zambesi for 15 years. What brought you to Australia after all that time?

TW: A strong desire for change. I felt that I had grown all I could within the NZ industry. I also enjoyed the anonymity I had over here. That meant I was more able to explore my creativity without the legacy of my past work.

AG: Tell me more about Self Titled, how did you come about starting your own label?

TW: It really was not a long held dream to have my own label as I had been so fortunate to work with such interesting companies in the past. Rather it was a desire for me to continue to ‘practice’ this craft and develop my skills. As well as a sense of frustration that I wasn’t finding the clothes that I wanted to wear. I felt that my friends and I resorted to buying vintage clothes in order to find something more unique, and in a way exclusive. The industry has changed a lot during the time I have been involved in it, and the rise and proliferation of things like ‘High St’ fast fashion has meant that many people often want to dress to the latest trend rather than with such a sense of individuality. That is what is also so exciting now about the counter rise of street fashion and blogs who champion that wonderful sense of unique self expression.

I believed there was room within the industry for a more exclusive, boutique label that focused on high quality, yet was only produced in small quantities so it still felt special.

AG: The collection has quite simple silhouettes, and is very sexy and sensual with its details. Who are you designing for when you begin a collection?

TW: My eclectic, stylish and wonderful group of friends.

AG: The fabrics in this collection are quite varied, fine jersey, leather and sequins are all present. How important are the textures within the fabrics you use to your design process?

TW: Fabric and texture are incredibly important to me and they form the basis of any collection. I generally choose fabrics or yarns before I develop the styles. I have certain textures that I love to work with like leather, knitted yarns, silks and cottons – mostly natural fibres. I particularly enjoy combining different fabrics within single garments. These subtle contrasts and juxtapositions help define the details.

AG: With your debut collection now complete what do you see as the future of Self Titled? Do you have strong ideas in mind for future collections?

TW: The first collection was very much about creating a starting point to build from. I wanted to do this slowly and deliberately, just dipping my toe into the water rather than trying to make a big splash. Each collection will be an evolution, again focusing on experimental yet wearable pieces. The future will see the development of some accessories to sit alongside the clothing too.

Self Titled is available exclusively from Lands End in Sydney

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