Talking Straya’ Nights with textile designer, Julie White

Talking Straya’ Nights with textile designer, Julie White

Julie White’s art fashion accessories are bold, playful and uniquely Australian. Inspired by the tradition of contemporary Australiana, Julie’s accessories are adorned with colourful Aussie icons like our delicious pavlova, scrumptious bbq’d prawns, fresh summer fruits and adorable geckos.

After falling in love with Scotland during her honeymoon, Julie enrolled to study a Masters in Printed Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art. It’s here that her Australian inspired designs came to life. Upon her return, Julia set up her studio in Adelaide and launched her successful self-titled label.

Julie’s hand-drawn Australian motifs draw on the beauty of the Australian bush, desert and sea. Her hand-drawn images of native flora and flauna capture the uniqueness of our Aussie landscapes through colours that mimic the bright and diverse hues of our environment; from our luscious pink sunsets to our deep blue reefs. You’ll also find the patterns of our loveable land and sea creatures scattered across Julia’s socks and silk scarf collections!

If you’re just as excited about Julie’s work as we are, you’ll be happy to know we’ve just receive a batch of Julie’s fun Aussie-loving socks, which are available online and in store now!

We recently caught up with Julie to hear the story behind her label and stunning designs.


Can you tell us about your journey and how you got to where you are now?

I’ve always been interested in fashion from an early age and have been making things for as long as I can remember. I realised I wanted to pursue a career in fashion during my teens when I discovered there was nothing else quite like asserting your own identity though your own individual style.

I have years of clothing design training under my belt, but since finishing an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design in 2008, I became more interested in merging the drawings I was doing ‘in between’ and applying them to textiles. I began making small clothing ranges by exploring print as a main focus of the clothing and screen printing fabrics myself. While I love colour, I was limited to a very monochromatic palette. I eventually wanted to do more with colour and explore more print, but felt I needed to gain more knowledge on textiles.

After a honeymoon trip around the world visiting many cities, I decided to study my Masters in digital printed textiles at The Glasgow School of Art. I wanted to live away from home for a while and hone my aesthetic, and Scotland was a place I was drawn to. It must have been the combination of living skint, being cold and homesick, but it led to a ‘break though’ time when I realised what I wanted to do – art fashion accessories! By the end of 2013, I came back to Australia with a suitcase full of printed silks and launched my self-titled accessories label.

 

snake process - straya nights print development

Julie White. Straya Nights print development – snake illustration in process.

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Julie White, Reptilia scarf. “This extra silk square scarf is decorated with hand drawn desert lizards, spotted geckos and a sneaking snake, inspired by the colours and patterns of these sun-loving reptilians.” – Julie White.

nocturnal scarf

Julie White, Nocturnal scarf. “This popular print is inspired by the Australian wilderness under the starry night sky, featuring flowering gum blossoms and roaming nocturnal sugar gliders.” – Julie White.

 

What’s the ethos behind your self-titled brand, Julie White?

It’s about fun, colour, and individual style. It’s about wearing what makes you feel good, and wearing something that was made with thought and tells a story through original prints. I love that people can treasure my pieces for a long time – they’re not bound by the seasons, trends, gender or age. But above all, it’s a lot about having fun and uplifting your outfit!

 

Julie White, Desert disco sock.

Julie White, Desert disco sock. Photo by Eloise Fuss.

Julie White, Prawnography socks.

Julie White, Prawnography socks. Photo by Eloise Fuss.

pavlova socks

Julie White, Pavlova socks. Photo by Eloise Fuss.

 

Your designs encapsulate a strong sense of playfulness, integrated with Australiana motifs. Where do you draw on inspiration for your bold designs and patterns?

I draw a lot and always have a continuous ‘thread’ of ideas. To avoid being a creative scatterbrain, I like to work in a series of ongoing collections with a particular theme. When I’m working on a new collection, I look at a lot of Australian wildlife books – especially my Dad’s extensive collection, which I grew up with. I love looking at Australian fashion of the 80’s & 90’s too. But above all, it always starts with looking at nature and its weird and wonderful elements.

 

Inspiration: James Northfield, Great Barrier Coral Reef, c1930s.

Inspiration: James Northfield, Great Barrier Coral Reef, c1930s.

Inspiration: the Australian Golden Tailed Gecko.

Inspiration: the Australian Golden Tailed Gecko.

Some inspiration behind the sea anemones, urchins and molluscs appearing in Julie's collection Straya Nights: Illustrations by William Saville-Kent, from his book ‘The Great Barrier Reef of Australia’, published in 1823.

Some inspiration behind the sea anemones, urchins and molluscs appearing in Julie’s collection Straya Nights: Illustrations by William Saville-Kent, from his book ‘The Great Barrier Reef of Australia’, published in 1823.

Illustrations by William Saville-Kent, from his book ‘The Great Barrier Reef of Australia’, published in 1823.

Illustrations by William Saville-Kent, from his book ‘The Great Barrier Reef of Australia’, published in 1823.

Inspiration: Robyn Davidson , 1977. Shot by Rick Smolan.

Inspiration: Robyn Davidson , 1977. Shot by Rick Smolan.

 

Your designs have been featured in major magazines such as Oyster, Frankie and Yen. Do you have any advice for emerging fashion designers who are aiming to successfully launch their own brand?

Just go for it! I used to be pretty shy but forced myself to put my work out there wherever I can with the belief it will work out. If you’re truly passionate about carving a niche, stick at it and value what you have that’s unique – it’s your best asset!

 

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You have a strong web presence, particularly on social media platforms such as Instagram. How important is it to you to reach your customers through this medium?

I love Instagram! It can be an incredible distraction, but I love that platforms like this gives everyone a chance to spread their word and the work they do. I’ve met such a great community of other creatives though it, beyond where I live, and it’s truly a good feeling when I’ve met people in person after an Instagram exchange be it at design markets or event.

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How can we keep up with your latest collections?

You can stay tuned on Instagram – @hellojuliewhite!


Feature image: Julie White, Straya Night sock collection. 

All images courtesy of the artist. 

 

 


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