In 2001 Mela Purdie founded her self named label with a vision to create ‘clothes that travel with you’. Fashion Exposed Online took time out with the designer to see how far she’s travelled.
Mela Purdie’s mission is to create luxurious yet simple clothes that make dressing easy. “Style is about the individual,” she says. “You wear the clothes; the clothes don’t wear you, so my clothes are designed to skim and not cling, to move and stretch with you, to layer and interact, creating solutions as seasons change and as your mood moves from one occasion to the next.
How did you start in fashion?
I cut my teeth working with Carla Zampatti, taking the role of head designer a year after graduating top of my class from Sydney College of the Arts and winning the ‘Design Excellence Award’ in 1983.
How far have you travelled since launching your own label?
I started with just one roll of fabric and one customer. Today the business has grown to include a store base of 250 and a staff of 14.
How many accounts does the brand operate?
Over 200 stores across Australia and further stores in New Zealand, Singapore and Germany.
What’s your point of difference?
Almost all Mela Purdie product is made locally in Australia excluding Merino cashmere knits, denim and rainwear that depend on technologies not available in Australia. There is also little waste at the label due to minimum stock returns.
Your best trade secret?
Delivering product monthly rather than seasonally has enabled our customers to better plan their spending and benefit from the quick restock of winning styles. It’s this level of attention to process and on time delivery that has developed strong relationships between the company and its retailers and has led to year on year growth.
What is your strategy over the next three to five years?
To maintain the essence of the brand “clothes that travel with you” offering our customers a consistently wearable product with a distinctly seasonal fashion edge. As the brand expands we will offer “something more for everywhere” by continuing to address the needs of essential dressing and including more coordinating product for street wear, travel wear and modern glamour.