WINTER 2021

HIDDEN FASHION TALENTS
With a burgeoning bunch of makers and creators on the Central Coast, it’s no surprise we also have fashion designers among our flock. Designing dresses, aprons, babywear and more, here is a trio of talented women quietly, but steadfastly following their passions – and impressing fellow locals while they’re at it.

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Merrin Grace – Honeysett House

With its perfectly curated selection of lifestyle pieces, it’s hard to believe Honeysett House is less than a year old. Merrin Grace’s eye for design is testament to the brand’s growing popularity. After more than a decade working as a floral designer, during which time she ran her own business, Merrin expanded into fashion. But her latest move hasn’t been a huge departure from her roots. Merrin designs beautiful French linen and beeswax canvas aprons ideal for foraging in a suburban garden or for light home renovations. She also designs large totes for collecting anything from freshly cut lavender to croissants from a local market, and she is about to launch a range of linen overalls, created with artists in mind.

‘I always dreamt of using unique, character-filled, yet practical,products and supplies but often found it difficult to source exactly what I was after,’ Merrin tells COAST.

‘Since taking some time off from full-time floristry to be a mother, I have been enjoying working closely with some amazing artisans, both locally and abroad, designing and sourcing a range of products and essentials for makers and creators,’ she says. Honeysett House is an online source for like-minded creatives and anyone searching for long-lasting lifestyle pieces.

‘My hope for my industry, and others like it, is to produce less waste and focus on using quality products; repurposing and treasuring pieces for years to come.’

honeysetthouse.com

Rose Bruce – Kiin Baby

Born-and-bred local Rose Bruce was pregnant with her daughter when she decided to start her own infants’ product range that would not feature run-of-the-mill onesies. ‘I found myself browsing baby products and daydreaming about designing my own gender-neutral designs, taking inspiration from the natural world while having a minimal impact on it,’ says Rose.

The Bateau Bay resident wanted to create special pieces that nurtured babies with fabrics such as organic cotton and bamboo. In 2019, two years after the idea sprouted, Kiin Baby was launched. ‘We are a small company, joining in on the slow, ethical movement, and focusing on quality over quantity – products made to love and last.

’The Kiin Baby range includes muslin swaddles and sheets, Rose’s favourite items to design. ‘It’s so fun going through all of the Pantone cotton swatches and then working on the patterns and designs,’ says Rose. ‘One of the swaddle collections I named the “Coastal Collection”, and the colours and patterns were inspired by our beaches and coastline.”

kiinbaby.com

Natasha Prestidge – KOUKLA

‘We’ve never made the same dress twice,’ says Natasha Prestidge, designer and owner of KOUKLA.

For 13 years, Natasha has been creating bespoke bridal gowns as well as dresses for bridesmaids, flower girls, mothers of the bride and groom, and school formals – all locally. During that time, she’s solely relied on word of mouth from happy customers to keep the orders coming in – and they do. Natasha gets booked out more than 12 months in advance, largely thanks to her attention to detail and customised experience. The bridal gowns are made from scratch from fabrics such as silk, tulle and lace sourced from around the world.

“It’s very personalised and [the women] are involved in every single decision,” Natasha says.

Although Natasha has a reputation for making stunning bohemian-style wedding dresses, she says she has no set style because it’s all about the bride’s vision. ‘Sometimes it’s a heavy silk Duchess satin with a huge skirt and a split up the front, then I’ll be asked to create a flowy tulle and lace dress,’ she says.

‘I think that’s why it’s always rewarding and interesting and challenging at the same time, because we are literally starting from scratch every single time.’

kouklabride.com.au

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