When Covid sent traditional retail into freefall and our need for extensive wardrobe options withered, something was ignited in Courtney McGregor, founder of made-to-order label Shé. “I realised that clothing had become overly complicated,” McGregor says, its breakneck turnover times “driving a constant need for validation”.
Many of us relished the idea of wearing the same clothes on repeat during lockdown; the stress of getting dressed was gone. McGregor set out to capture that feeling with a capsule of classic, flexible designs that allow the label to sidestep the industry’s endless trend-chasing cycles.
Anchored by an eco-conscious brand ethic, Shé garments are made to last. McGregor designs her clothes in her former childhood bedroom – a safe haven and Covid-safe distribution hub through the uncertainty of the pandemic. She then works closely with a Melbourne patternmaker and local seamstresses to realise her made-to-order model.
The local label sources premium dead-stock fabrics from around the world, from Italy to Japan. This end-of-line fabric is discarded from international design houses, and its limited availability ultimately determines the number of units Shé is able to produce. Every Shé garment is numbered, too, allowing McGregor to track the life cycle of the garment.
Capsule one launched earlier this year with just two pieces – the pintuck pant ($329) and ace shirt ($289). Made from a seafoam-coloured satin back crepe, both items have a subtle shine and drape beautifully against the body. Their relaxed look means they can be worn as a set or harmoniously with other items in your wardrobe. The long-line shirt’s exaggerated split cuffs and large side splits mean it can be styled up to five different ways.
Part two of the first capsule collection dropped last month. The new tailored bodice ($289), split-hem pant ($329) and miniskirt ($169) introduce a matte-green texture in a cotton-polyamide blend. Plus, a wrap skirt ($395) – adds a floaty, feminine look. Quantities are extremely limited, with just 12 wrap skirts, 30 bodices, 30 miniskirts, 30 fitted pants and 70 ace shirts and pintuck pants available.
“Shé provides a blank canvas,” says McGregor. “A 25-year-old young professional could be wearing the same outfit as a 60-year-old woman, both unapologetically bringing their own flair to the garment.”