Melbourne label Highrack Studios wants you to feel absolutely sublime





Community and transparency is so important to me, I think this is what we need more of in the fashion space.”


If you’re like me and your style has pivoted within the last year from the trusty ol’ ‘jeans and a nice top’ combo to consistently reaching for comfy loungewear and athleisure (thanks Rona), homegrown slow-fashion label Highrack Studios is the answer to all your 2021 wardrobe prayers.  

Highrack Studio’s founder Tessa McGregor has no formal training in fashion design but that hasn’t stopped her from creating incredibly popular pieces designed to make its wearers feel sexy and sublime – just ask the likes of Kylie Jenner and supermodel Romee Strijd.

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The label creates a variety of versatile pieces that amalgamate vintage staples with contemporary designs made to complement your “goddess warrior” energy, in the words of Tessa. Think, ’90s Chanel inspired boyshorts, athletic high-waisted swimwear, terrycloth halter dresses, ribbed tank tops, genderless tracksuits and earthy-toned jumpsuits that work for both lockdown and those brief respites we get from being indoors (aka socialising).

With an Instagram feed that boasts a cult following and speaks to the designer’s love for all things retro nostalgia and decades past, Highrack Studios is a brand committed to seasonless and sustainable production. It’s also giving back to the community through its partnership with One Tree Planted and regular donations to Pay the Rent and Red DustI chatted to Tessa about the label’s evolution and her vision for the brand’s future. 


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Hi Tessa! Tell me a little about your love for fashion design and where it all began.

I actually only just remembered the other day that I wanted to be a designer as a child. I had this ‘OMG’ moment when I realised my dream had been realised. It had been lost along the way of surviving through life I suppose! Highrack happened so organically from what started out as a hobby or a side hustle, I never thought it would amount to this. So when I finally took a moment to stop and reflect on where I was and realised that once upon a time this is where I dreamed to be, it was a very humbling moment, a moment full of gratitude. I suppose it was always meant to be!

You originally gained traction as Highrack Honey with your tees. Can you talk to me about the decision to expand into more collections and when you knew it was time to do so?

When I was creating those tees, I was actually working full time at Her Pony The Label in Collingwood and Highrack was more of a hobby or a side hustle. I then left my full-time job to go to the Amazon jungle and travel around the world with my partner for six months. Upon my return, I wasn’t sure what was next for me. I quickly realised Highrack was my future [and that] I had to give Highrack my all, so I started designing a collection. I moved back into my dad’s with my partner and he supported us while I took the year to turn Highrack from a hobby into my full-time gig. 


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How important to you is it to give back to the community through your label?

Extremely! However, I feel it’s important to give back to your community on a personal level through whatever you do in life, not just through this industry. Roots to your community fulfill your life and the lives of others around you. Whether I was running this label or had an office job or no job at all I would find a way to give back and immerse myself in the community. 

How do you want customers to feel wearing High Rack garments?

I want them to feel sublime! Like the amazing, powerful, goddess warriors they are.

Where does the inspiration behind your designs stem from?

My childhood wardrobe, vintage Playboy, nineties movies, everything seventies, anything decades past.

Tell me about your iconic Sublime collection.

I designed the Sublimes in 2019 after spending all summer lazing about in my fiancé’s underwear, I just felt sexier in those than anything else! So I sat down to refine the design and drew inspiration from the iconic ’90s Chanel briefs. I kept wearing them to the beach and was so sick of the tiny bikinis. There’s a place for these [bikinis], but I like covering up my tummy at times and there was only really one option of high-waisted bottoms on the market. I thought why not make the sublimes in a fabric you could swim in, and that’s how Beach Sublime was born!

How has your journey as a designer evolved over time?

I’m constantly evolving as a designer as I have no formal training. I’m always winging it and learning on the job! I hope to learn more about garment construction and fabrics so I can continue to steer High Rack in a sustainable direction.


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What kind of impact would you like High Rack to make in the fashion space?

I will continue to make small drops and produce in small quantities slowly to ensure this becomes more of the norm in the fashion space. It’s small brands like mine who can still produce things at a reasonable price and in a larger size range that can make space for customers to shop small rather than turning to fast fashion. I would love to create studios where my lovely customers can come and visit, meet me, try clothes, touch them, feel them and be a part of the process. Community and transparency is so important to me, I think this is what we need more of in the fashion space.

Some huge names have been snapped wearing your garments! How does it feel to see your designs take the stage internationally and be worn on such high-profile figures?

It’s wild! It’s absolutely incredible to see and completely surreal, but honestly, I lose it when I see anyone and everyone wearing High Rack, it still blows my mind! Every single customer who tags me makes me feel the same way, or when my friends call me to tell me they saw someone on the street wearing High Rack, that’s even better! 

Your latest collection is available to shop in person in Flying Solo NYC. Do you plan on bringing your designs to a shopfront in Melbourne soon?

Absolutely! I currently stock at So Familiar Store in Sydney, Blonde Concept in Canberra and Laate Store in Newcastle, and I would love nothing more than to have an IRL shopping experience for my Melbourne customers. At the moment I’m still pretty much a one-woman show, but as I expand and get a team behind me, a pop up where I could meet everyone and they could feel the designs would be a dream come true. Of course, if any Melbourne stores reached out, I would also stock with them in a heartbeat. I get asked about Melbourne stockists daily [so] I hope to make this a reality as soon as possible.

High Rack is definitely a trendsetter. How does it feel to be a small business with such a huge impact?

Thank you for saying that, I’m blushing! It feels surreal. My designs are an extension of myself, I run my business so authentically and pretty much one hundred per cent on intuition, so to have this kind of response leaves me flooded with gratitude, I am so thankful for everyone who supports me, and for the community High Rack has created, it’s truly changed my life for the better and I very much look forward to the future of High Rack with all the honeys.

Check out Highrack Studio’s range here.

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