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Melbourne made-to-order label Krystal Deans might not exist if it weren’t for the pandemic

Photography by Trudi Treble 

Hair and makeup by Meg McConville 

Modelled by Daila at People Agency 

Floristry by India Robinson at Blossmbby

WORDS BY JULIETTE CAPOMOLLA

Did someone say Prada 1994?

If you’re anything like me, you go op shopping in the hopes of snagging a piece that looks like it’s straight out of the early seasons of Sex and the City. If you’re also like me, you don’t seem to have any luck op shopping.

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s your lucky day. Meet Melbourne designer Krystal Deans, who is bringing all your ’90s-inspired patchwork dreams and corset desires to life.

Born out of a studio along the Great Ocean Road, the brand hits the nail on the head when it comes to satisfying that classic neutral look Melburnians are renowned for, but with a vintage edge. 

But without losing her job and her social life, Krystal might never have taken the leap of faith which has resulted in her eponymous label. In hindsight, this might be one of the few things we can thank corona for. What was once merely a profitable hobby is now very much a fully-fledged business, so much so, even the taxman knows about it now.

Krystal did not expect success to come so quickly, and her one-woman team is soon to be expanded so that she can meet the increasing demand. I managed to grab a moment of Krystal’s time while she took a break from sewing all of her orders herself to chat about her creative inspiration for the brand, how it started and her process. 

Tell me about your brand. How did it start?

I think my grad collection was just very, very buyable. Through Instagram, people were getting interested in my stuff and wanting to buy things. For the last couple of years, I’ve just been like “Ooh, I’m just going to make this on a Sunday and post a photo”. It’s always given me a bit of a reason to get into my studio to make new things as a hobby, but also as a way to drive a little bit of profit to fund that hobby. 

I finished university and I was looking for full-time work. It was probably one of the most depressing times of my life, looking at boys designer [jobs] at Kmart or [a] buyer [job] for Mimco or something. University shoves you out at the end like “You’re amazing butterflies, go fly”, and then, you’re like “Oh, wait there’s nothing for us anywhere, we’re just dying out here”. That’s kind of how it felt. I did spiral a little bit and I was just so stuck. I didn’t have the confidence to start up my label yet. I think it was really just the pandemic when I was kind of like “Okay just suck it up, stop being a baby. Just do something, people love your work”. 

 

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A post shared by Krystal Deans (@krystaldeans)

How did the shoot featured above come about?

Blossm Bby and my eponymous label are businesses that started up in 2020 after the world shut down and we were sent into isolation to be sad and twiddle our thumbs. With a plethora of time to spare, we both took the pandemic by its horns and made our businesses into a thing. Being friends for years and being proud of each other’s success in this crazy year, we decided to bring our talents together and create a beautiful shoot to exhibit our practices and just do something exciting after months in isolation! The shoot took place at India’s [the founder of Blossm Bby] floristry studio at 69 Smith Street, Collingwood, which is available to visit by appointment only.

What’s your creative inspiration for the brand?

I’ve got a massive passion for fashion obviously, which also becomes a really big part of my design process. Pretty much everything I design is designed with the intention of being durable in an emotional and physical sense, a tangible sense. When I’m designing these pieces, I’m looking at these really classic design lines but also things with a little bit of uniqueness to them. I don’t produce anything if I don’t see it withstanding time, on the level of loving it over time but also in a sense of it staying in someone’s wardrobe and not breaking and falling to pieces. That’s always at the forefront of my mind when I am designing. There’s also constant nods to the ’90s and early 2000s, they’re my main go-to.

Whenever I’m feeling stuck, I go to Prada’s 1994 runway, just looking at these pop culture, incredible styles that you kind of can’t find anymore. I love recreating pieces. You know when you look in your mum’s wardrobe or through your mum’s photo album and you’re like “Mum, please tell me you’ve still got this” and it’s just a plain T-shirt or something which has just got these really unique, tiny accents. I love to relight those within my own design and my own fabric. I honestly find inspiration in so many places. I am very inspired by historical fashion. Just the everyday wearable sense of things that make people enlighten their own personal style and make them feel incredible and not worn by the clothing, but that they really are owning what they’re wearing. 

So far you’ve been really successful and selling out consistently. What’s that been like?

Yeah, it’s a bit of a pinch yourself kind of moment. I think I had a bit of a panic attack when I launched my website. I got 45 orders in the first 24 hours and it was insane. My phone just started going with the Shopify noise, which is actually a horribly daunting sound.   

A big part of your brand is that 95 per cent of the pieces are made to order. What’s that process like?

Made to order is how my business is running at the moment. I’ve got a three-week wait for anything ordered from my website because I don’t actually make anything until it has been ordered. That guarantees me that somebody wants that, somebody wants it to be created. I’m not just creating it to drive a profit, I’m doing it because someone wants it. It’s kind of engaging with the consumer and bringing them into the process. It’s not until they choose to make this happen that the garment is created, which I think is such a different way than what we’re used to.

My intention of it is to kind of involve people in the process and give them a lot more care and respect for the process and also what they’re consuming. It’s definitely getting very intense with me doing everything. I’ve got a couple of people coming in to trial over the next couple of weeks to step in and be another me, which I really need. I’m kind of just a manufacturer at the moment which is not what I went to university to be. I absolutely adore sewing. I love it, it’s like my happy place. It’s fun when you’re making new things here and there, but when you’re banging out 10 of the same thing, it gets a bit old. 

You can order your own unique Krystal Deans piece here.

To learn more about Melbourne florist Blossm Bby, whose incredible arrangements were used in this shoot, head here.

krystaldeans.com

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