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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Event: Gorman + Castle Collaboration Launch + Interview with Lisa and Rachel

I am late in sharing this event with you but it is too good not to. At the end of last year I visited the launch of the Castle + Gorman collaboration range and to see the work of two fabulous designers coming together to create a range of fun summer clothing and accessories. I love collaborations, especially with designers whose individual design aesthetics seem to gel so well together.

The crowd was gathered, the products on display and the drinks were flowing. It was a fun night and I left the event smitten by the range of bright neons on neutral backgrounds. A gorgeous summer combination, and the skirt? It's on my wish list.
Following the event I asked the designers Lisa Gorman and Rachel Castle a few questions regarding how the idea for the collaboration came about, the inspiration behind the range and what it was like to work together.
Rachel Castle and friend

Rachel Castle:
The mind boggles at all the possibilities.  For a small retailer being part of the gorman production team was incredibly eye-opening.  Lisa's team work efficiently with suppliers all around the world to bring their ideas to market.  What takes me (and my team of one!) 6 months to get sourced, sampled and into store can take them literally 6 weeks, and to be honest I just sat in awe of their production capabilities.  The process of sharing design ideas and applying them to our product wish list was really very simple and quick and painless, such a breeze, that I would definitely be interested in another collaboration at some point.
My small business changes on a weekly basis.  The internet allows us to sell pretty much anything that takes our fancy, so I hope that in years from now CASTLE are involved in projects and making products we'd never even dreamed about.  I love retailing as much as I love the physical nature of putting the products together, so it will always be a mix of the two for me.  
Margaret Zhang of Shine By Three and Lisa Gorman

Lisa Gorman
Rachel Castle is a gorgeous artist who uses vintage French linens that she sources piece by piece from Europe on which she appliques a very well considered colour palette of hand cut felt letters to make phrases or song lines,... often drawn from and inspired by pop culture. She approached me around the middle of 2011 with a lovely email saying how much she admired the aesthetic and style of gorman, and how she visualises her art somehow on my clothing...   oh yes indeed, this was one of those good emails. So I phoned Rachel and off we went. 

I had seen Rachel’s work in Inside Out magazine previously and instantly loved its simplicity, pop and colour. I feel that Rachel and I share a deep passion for the same sort of neon pop brights on a counter neutral and weathered base, so working with Rachel was a breeze to be honest, plus she's super nice and happy and friendly ALL of the time.  
Rachel flew down from Sydney to meet me in Melbourne with some initial concepts. I put together a bunch of shapes that I thought lent themselves to the look and feel of her work.  Nothing too fitted or fiddly as I wanted the print to dominate in this collection... and clearly this has been the case.  The phrases were debated around the office, over email, over the phone….and over a few days and we came up with PUT THE LOVE IN THE COCONUT and DO THE CHA CHA.  The idea of using these phrases for our Christmas campaign was to focus on festivity, and to do something that was different to the usual religious (ie.. angels) and European (ie, snowflake) concepts which are a long stretch from Australian fashion in high Summer.

Working with fluro in textile prints is bloody hard.  There's a compromise between softness and a handfeel with brightness.  Basically the softer it gets, the less neon it becomes, so we had some chemistry to deal with but I think we found the happy medium. Organic cotton is used throughout most of the range, being in the cotton jersey t-shirting and the cotton voile styles.

The accessories were important in this collaboration as they provide a way for the slightly less ‘fluro-lovin' of us to get amongst it without going the full outfit. However, if you were to ask me, I'd say get the black COCONUT ballet skirt on with your black DO THE CHA CHA tank and the COCONUT linen hat with the COCONUT tote and off you go... no looking back,.. all the way to Rio baby and pack your COCONUT beach towel in that big tote while you're at it.

I hope you all enjoy the castle & gorman pieces and appreciate the value of artist collaborations like this one for gorman, which goes beyond selling clothing to the customer, they reinforce the values of the gorman brand with our shoppers and prove that we're about recognising and developing great design first and foremost.   

♥ Visit Castle and Gorman and thank you Lisa and Rachel for taking the time to share with us the story behind this collaboration.







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