Q&A with WARHOF designers Ruth Birtwell and Domm Watson

Q&A with WARHOF designers Ruth Birtwell and Domm Watson

Since discovering their mutual interest in unique, wearable and sustainable clothing after graduating from Fashion School in Brisbane, designers Ruth Birtwell and Domm Watson have been working tirelessly to develop their first collection, The Withington Collection.

Bright, graphic prints and a mix of 90s streetwear and 50s silhouettes dominate in this debut collection, with the designers aiming to bring a new element to the classic. Following a window installation at Artisan and the release of their first collection as a pair, we talked to the minds behind the label.


Tell me a little bit about the ethos behind WARHOF. 

Warhof is all about being incredibly creative and free with design and colour. We’re big on texture and fabric, so the execution of our garments is very important. We want our followers to be adventurous when it comes to fashion, regardless of their age. As Dolce & Gabbana said, “No matter how old you are, you never stop dreaming, so why would you when it comes to clothes?

What designers inspired you to start your own label? 

We both love Miuccia Prada and everything that she is involved with at Prada and Miu Miu. And Dolce & Gabbana, we can’t fault anything they do, it’s all magical.

Describe a typical day at WARHOF HQ.

A typical day starts with lots of coffee and research. We are always looking for new ways and inspiration for our garment embellishments as well as fabric suppliers to complement our label. And there is plenty of beading going on, it just doesn’t stop!

You use natural fabrics to create your garments, what are the benefits of doing so?

We both feel that when it comes to using a natural fabric that the execution of the outfit is ten times better, not to mention the look and feel of the garment too. Living in Queensland it’s important to understand our climate, and that fabrics like polyester aren’t always breathable. Our favourites are the raw silk skirts. The fabric is made properly on a hand loom. It gives the fabric great personality.

 I see some great things happening with ‘Frosting’. Can you tell me about how you glam up otherwise minimal outfits this summer?

Frosting is our new concept, for those less eccentric than us but who are drawn to the bling- this is an easy way to express their personality.
We both like to accessorize, adding rings to nearly every finger, quirky earrings and eye catching necklaces. It sounds so ridiculously over the top, but when it’s done correctly, it looks fantastic! Ruth has the greatest pair of hot pink glasses which she pairs with my little pony earrings, which are also pink.

What exciting things will we be seeing from WARHOF in the near future?

We are always writing down ideas and doodling design ideas. At the moment, we are working on a new line of Acid Singlets and T-shirts, both of which are heavily embellished, and we are experimenting with new colour ways to keep our followers intrigued.

Warhof Embellishments

What was your favourite WARHOF piece to design? 

We really loved creating our fitted jacket. We really wanted it to stand out from the collection because it’s unlike anything we’ve both seen in Brisbane. It’s fully beaded on the front and took ages to do. It was worth it though.

What’s the most treasured item of clothing or accessory in your wardrobe? 

Ruth: Recently acquired Louis Vuitton Shopper. Can’t leave home without it.
Domm: Definitely my shoe collection. I love them all.

If you could have anyone’s wardrobe, who’s would it be? 

Ruth: Iris Apfel, not only does she have incredibly style, but shes an incredible business woman.

Domm: Maybe if Kanye West wanted to dress me- I’d be down for that. He has insane style and has transformed Kim Kardashian very well (can’t believe I am admitting, that).

Where’s your favourite place to shop in Brisbane? 

We both love the OP Shops over at Graceville where we’ve both found many treasures, as well as Winn Lane in the Fortitude Valley and Net-a-Porter online.

How can we keep up to date with future collections? 

We post alot on social media (facebook and instagram) and our blog, warhofthelabel.com, is where we share all of our current inspiration and whats happening weekly with us.