Starting in 2007 as a humble t-shirt label, Lichen Kemp and Jitske Wiersma’s Sunday Morning Designs has grown to take the form of a brand specialising in creative, playful and ethically sourced homewares and design objects. Via the brand, the two Melbourne women showcase their eye for what makes a home homely.
Among their best-selling goods are bed linens featuring illustrations by Kemp’s husband, artist Dylan Martorell, whose work wouldn’t look amiss in a storybook. The monsters and campfire scenes that adorn Sunday Morning Design’s pillows could just as easily feature in the pages of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
“We usually brief [Dylan] with a subject that is capturing our imagination at the moment, such as camping and campfires, and he runs with it, usually presenting us with something even wilder than our imaginations,” says Kemp.
Something a little closer down to earth is the ladies’ dedication to ethical sourcing and environmentally friendly production. Among the most popular items on their website are papier-mache masks of animal heads – from roosters to deer – sourced from artists in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and enamel tin plates from Thailand. Kemp and Wiersma handpick such items personally and carry them back to Australia in their luggage, Conscious of the carbon impact they make on the buying trips. Kemp says they simply try to “cram as much as humanly possible into [their] carry on and excess baggage”.
“We tend to raise eyebrows at customs with our bags overflowing with papier-mache animal heads!”
Closer to home, Sunday Morning Designs’ bed linens are all designed and produced in Melbourne, within 30 kilometres of their Brunswick studio to be exact.
“We want to avoid the pitfalls of cheap offshore production, and making our goods in Australia means we work more directly and ethically with the makers and provide them with a greater wage than outsourced workers receive,” Kemp explains.
Sourcing from Melbourne also means the ladies can oversee production right from the beginning, from the knitting of the fabrics for their bed linens and clothing, right through to the fabric printing process, which utilises only water-based or vegetable-based inks.
Next up for the whimsical pair will be a pop-up shop on Lygon Street, where the ladies will be stocking their playfully beautiful goods, opening an exhibition space and holding workshops. Launching in mid-November and running through to the Christmas period, it will most certainly be open on Sunday mornings.