With a history in product development spanning eight years, and as the co-owner of baby and parenting brand, L’il Fraser Collection, Lara Thom envisioned her new resort brand, Bondi White. Soon after she enlisted the talent of Josi Jentzsch from Conceive Productions as head of design and they both realised the strong vision behind the first Bondi White range.
Lara says Bondi White differentiates itself from the fashion pack as it stays true to fashion trends and what’s ‘in’ right now, but it’s also accessible fashion that uniquely represents our Australian lifestyle. “We felt that high fashion was out of reach for many and cheaper brands only catered to younger women so we wanted Bondi White to sit somewhere in the middle and that’s where we feel our difference is,” she says.
The outdoors and the fresh laid back approach that we take in Australia is at the core of the brand. “We love the beach, the sun and the surf but not at the expense of looking great,” she says. “We wanted to create garments that could be transformed from daywear to nightwear, from the beach to work. Comfort and quality of fabric was also essential, Bondi White didn’t want to be throwaway fashion but we also didn’t want to be so cutting edge that you couldn’t wear it for more than one season.”
We had a chat with Lara to discuss her design process; where she sources her fabrics and emphasis on quality; and where she travels for design inspiration.
Can you talk us through the design process? From mood board to final product?
Like most fashion designers, Josi spends hours trawling the internet and getting inspiration from all over the world, whether that is from prints in a wildlife reserve or tones of blues from the beach in addition to what’s happening on the Paris, New York and London runways. From there we decide on an overall look and feel for the range and go about creating a mood board.
Josi sits on the computer designing a lot more pieces than actually get made to ensure that by the time final decisions are made, the range is exactly what she wants it to be. She then goes on sourcing trips internationally to find and design fabrics depending on the garment.
Where do you source your materials? How important is the quality and fabrication of your collections?
Our materials are sourced from all over the world but as it happens, the world over, the origin of most of our materials seems to come back to China. It never ceases to amaze me when we find a button or piece of lace how readily available it is in China. It’s the way of the world I’m afraid!
We have staff sitting in the factories where our products are made to ensure quality control is upheld at all times. Our team overseas are all qualified fashion designers so they don’t cut corners. When Josi is explaining a detailed piece on a garment, they get it completely. This is the first time I’ve worked in design where there’s not been communication breakdowns between the designers and the factories so it’s a pleasure to watch the process.
We never set budgets on the fabrics we use, the garment and quality of the product comes first and then we work the pricing accordingly, this means we never have to compromise to make a garment. Unlike many brands, we do 50/50 which is 50% indent and 50% floor stock as we’ve found that retailers are finding it more difficult to forecast their sales so far in advance. It’s worked incredibly well this summer because it’s been a late summer all round for Australia.
Do you travel for inspiration? Where do you source most of your ideas to create new collections?
Yes we all travel a lot. Josi is from Europe and has worked in fashion design for years so she’s now well versed on the best cities that inspire her. To be honest, we get a lot of inspiration from women in general, we’re always looking at women and saying ‘she’s a Bondi White woman’. There’s a certain level of style and class about a Bondi White woman, and Josi’s designs according to what we see as the classic Bondi White woman and the image she portrays. We’re fortunate in our office as we also have a graphic designer who works with us on the latest trends as well as colour combinations and prints. It’s amazing how the collaboration happens.
You are about to exhibit at Fashion Exposed, why did you choose to exhibit here? What do you hope to gain from the show?
We chose to exhibit at Fashion Exposed because we’ve had such a great response from retailers in the first few months with copious re-orders that we felt, as a new brand on the scene, it was the best venue for us to show the collections to a wider range of buyers. We hope that we not only gain exposure but garner interest from local and international buyers.
Any other news you’d like to share?
We’re soon launching a range of beach and home wares to compliment the Bondi White fashion range so stay tuned!