With summer’s imminent arrival comes an influx of playful Australian fashion collaborations. You only need to look at this season’s creative alliances, one-off products and limited-edition collections to understand there’s power in numbers – specifically, twos. Here are our picks of the best new fashion partnerships to shop, from toe rings to pasta-inspired earrings.
The Social Studio x Ken Done, Romance Was Born, Beci Orpin and more
To celebrate 10 years of empowering Melbourne’s refugee youth, Melbourne not-for-profit fashion school and clothing shop The Social Studio has released a limited-edition line of scarves in collaboration with 10 emerging and established artists and designers.
The impressive line-up includes iconic Aussie artist Ken Done; Sydney label Romance Was Born; artist and jeweller Kate Rohde; artist, designer and illustrator Beci Orpin; photographer and tattoo artist Stanislava Pinchuk, also known as Miso; South Sudanese artist and writer Atong Atem; painter Gian Manik; artist Michael Mitsas; painter and printer Nathalia Suizu; Ethiopian painter Olana Janfa; and book designer and artist Evi O.
At $150 each, these colourful printed silk scarves are artworks in themselves. They can be framed or worn around your head or neck for summer, and all proceeds go towards education and employment opportunities for Melbourne’s refugee youth communities.
The Social Studio is also hosting an annual gala event at the Arts Centre on December 5, where signed and framed first editions of the scarves will be auctioned off.
The Art Scarf line is available for pre-order from 10am, Thursday November 14.
Japanese global apparel retailer Uniqlo is working with Finnish design house Marimekko for a second time to create a limited-edition capsule collection. The range combines the characteristics of the two brands – Marimekko’s bold prints and Uniqlo’s functionality and affordability – and will include pieces for women, girls and babies.
The clothing will feature some of Marimekko’s most recognisable prints, such as Kivet (stones) designed by Maija Isola in 1956, Tasaraita (even stripe) by Annika Rimala from 1968 and Siirtolapuutarha (city garden) by Maija Louekari from 2009. Marimekko has been making its distinct and brightly coloured patterns since 1951.
The release is timed for the Northern Hemisphere’s autumn and winter, and celebrates Finnish winter traditions of frolicking in the snow and getting cosy in front of the fireplace. The collection includes hoodies, puffer jackets and dresses.
There are no details on prices yet, but the last range was all priced under $60.
The collection launches on November 28 in all Uniqlo stores and via select online markets. More information here.
Karen Walker x Outland Denim
Kiwi designer Karen Walker has teamed up with Queensland label Outland Denim on a six-piece, limited-edition collection of timeless denim staples.
Made using sustainable organic cotton and dyes, standout pieces include the cropped, flared Sage jeans and the wrapped Rhythm skirt. The Goldie jacket is a modern, minimalist take on the classic worker’s jacket.
“At the core of this collaboration is our ethos of consuming less, less often, and choosing better quality,” said Walker in a statement. “Karen Walker and Outland are both committed to creating well-designed and well-crafted pieces that are enjoyed and worn for many decades, and the pieces in this capsule are testament to that.”
Denim specialist Outland was launched by couple James and Erica Bartle in 2011, and part of every sale goes towards helping Cambodian survivors of sex and human trafficking. (Famously, Meghan Markle is a fan.)
Sydney-based fashion and lifestyle studio Alex and Trahanas brings Mediterranean style to Australia’s doorstep. Founders Alex Heard and Heleena Trahanas travel regularly to Italy, where they meet and collaborate with various local craftspeople and designers.
The label has dropped its La Bella Figura collection in time for summer, debuting two new collaborations: a line of linen-cotton-blend garments with Puglian hotel Masseria Moroseta, and chifferi pasta-inspired hoop earrings and golden limone studs with Dinosaur Designs co-founder Louise Olsen.
St Agni x Assembly Label
These classic, unisex slip-ons ($199) – a subtle reimagining of last year’s summer footwear collab – are available from both St Agni and Assembly Label in new black or pumice colourways, and made with supple leather and a hard-rubber base for extra support. They’re comfy and versatile – throw them on with little more than bathers and a towel if you’re running out the door for a swim, or team them with summer staples for night or day wear.
Honourable mention: St Agni has also released an exclusive pair of shades with the recently launched Byron Bay sunglasses label Velvet Canyon. Named The Poet, the ’90s-style design comes in three colours: black, blond tortoiseshell and marble.
Christopher Esber x William Édouard
The Melbourne jewellery designer behind eponymous label William Édouard called on Sydney fashion designer Christopher Esber to design a line of six ’90s-style toe rings for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. Inspired by “holiday dreaming”, the rings are available in either sterling silver or solid yellow gold and make an impact when worn over several toes – offering something a bit different to your typical summer jewellery line-up.
Additional reporting by Sarah Norris and Nick Buckley.