The steady march of new, imaginative local fashion labels continues in 2019. Some of our favourite designers are making collectable statement shirts inspired by actress Tilda Swinton, loungewear that takes you from the beach to the bar, and billowy blouses and ruffled shirting made from dead-stock fabric.

Nikita Miller

Husband and wife team Nikita Miller and Omar Asadi are behind new minimalist womenswear label Nikita Miller, which launched in August and is based in Melbourne. The “part one” collection is made-to-order and offers simple, structured staples that have a similar feel to the kind of oversized shirting that's on trend right now among Japanese designers. The oversized long-sleeve Luan shirtdress, which resembles a trench coat, can be worn several ways and comes with an exaggerated sharp collar. The high-waisted, utilitarian Kimbo pants marry well with the Bonte long-sleeve wrap top, which can be worn tied up or worn as a lightweight jacket.


Country Road alumna Alexandra McLeod crafts timeless shirts in bold prints and colours. Her debut collection evokes the style of Tilda Swinton’s shirt-partial character in Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash. The Classic is roomy and draws on traditional men’s tailoring but with clean, feminine lines. The Reverse Tuxe has a slimmer fit and a slightly more cropped back. We think both will become part of your daily uniform. Three retro-style silk scarves round out the offering.
Billowy blouses and ruffled shirting made from dead-stock fabric are signatures for Canadian-born Kalaurie Karl-Crooks’s first fashion label, which launched at the beginning of 2017. Each piece is carefully cut, sewn, pressed and packed, then delivered. Highlights of her current collection include the Juliet shirt, which has short, voluminous sleeves and comes in a relaxed fit with a two-piece collar, and the Widow Ruffle shirt, with its romantic bishop sleeves, generous cuffs and dramatic ruffles.

The Significant Other
The founders of Adelaide label Acler, Julia Ritorto and Kathryn Forth, together with Amy Nolan launched Significant Other in August. Quality linens, textural cottons, embroidery and slinky satins are used in the construction of luxurious loungewear, which will whisk you from beach to bar. The Alpha top is a hero piece, with a plunging V-neck and meticulous draping in a soft pale-beige polka dot fabric.

“We wanted to create a brand that empowered women to feel feminine by combining relaxed silhouettes with elevated styling,” says Nolan. “Each piece is able to transition seamlessly from a day at the beach to an evening of cocktails and dancing.”

Laura May Gibbs established her activewear label in Byron Bay in 2017, and it’s gaining serious momentum after the release of a new merino wool collaboration developed with the Woolmark Company. The range, inspired by 1920 swimsuits and with a woven check and houndstooth prints, has been picked up by retailers around the world. It’s the kind of activewear that doubles as casual wear, and in some cases even eveningwear. Organic cotton leggings and merino wool bodysuits have a core synthetic filament wrapped in superfine wool, so only natural fibres touch the skin.