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Melbourne label Hom Sted is making tongue-in-cheek pieces you’ll want to keep forever

WORDS BY CARA BRIGGS

“It’s all about creating garments that people will want to hold on to for a lifetime.”

Lockdown left many of us stir-crazy and isolated, but for others, it fostered creativity. For Melbourne designers Amy Lawrance and Kirsten Olsen, enforced hibernation provided them with the opportunity to throw their artistic efforts into creating their label, Hom Sted. 

In their honors year, after honing their design skills, the duo combined their talents to create pieces that focus on longevity and playfulness. With a curation of avant-garde hats, silk blouses, structured skirts and pants and glass-bead jewellery, Hom Sted creates pieces that are both staples and statements.


For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.


Designed and made from their home studios, the label looks to bring items of the past into the present and the custom prints that cover their delicately draped blouses feature nostalgia-evoking items from their childhood. Who knew a first-place ribbon and floppy disk could become such an elegant feature on the label’s Forget Not Blouse

Hom Sted has elevated its online store by animating its pieces, allowing its designs to really come alive. Amy and Kirsten wanted to include movement to create an ‘immersive experience’ that would help consumers move past the limitations of online shopping. Below, the duo shares their journey, the ethos behind the brand and the challenges of running their own label.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background? 

 

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Amy: I always knew I wanted to do something creative. So, I always did arts and design-based subjects in high school. I was always really into clothes. I think that just became more apparent in my final years of high school. I did a course at TAFE straight out of high school, which was in fashion design. I wanted to continue studying, so wound up doing my Honors in Fashion Design at RMIT. 

Kirsten: When I started studying, I was doing an environment course at Melbourne University, and I was going to major in architecture. But once I started, I was like, ‘This is not for me’. Although, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue fashion because I never did any subjects related to it in high school. But I got to a point where I was like, I just really need to do what I have an instinct towards, and I’ve always been interested in clothes. 

 

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How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges.

A: We met during our first year at RMIT and became good friends towards the end of the year. We were out one night, and I remember sort of saying to Kirsten, “We should have a label together”. But it was an up-in-the-air idea at that point.

K: We had finished studying and then we were in lockdown. We both still wanted to keep creating. So, that was kind of where it started. We both had honors projects that were rooted in the home and the like domestic setting. So, we’ve always created in our own home. 

 

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A: The biggest challenge has probably been money. Financing. Staying on top of the business side of things and [that’s] probably more Kirsten’s strong suit than it is mine. Also, more often than not, we’re not physically together. So, it’s a matter of coordinating things through phone calls and messaging. Just kind of staying on the same page. 

How would you describe Hom Sted to someone who’s never seen it before?

A: The label and its designs are tongue-in-cheek and playful, but also, we really bear in mind the longevity and practicality of garments. So, it’s all about creating garments that people will want to hold on to for a lifetime. There’s always something a bit special and quirky about that, whether it be colour or print design. 

 

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K: We focus on pieces that are more playful, but then we pair them with staples. And Amy’s really good at hand finishing things, which is something that she does a lot of. We like to bring that to Hom Sted, pushing the wearability a little bit, but not so much that you can’t wear it every day if you wanted to.

Where did the name come from?

 

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K: The name is a play on word ‘homestead’ because we were both doing projects during our honors that stemmed from the home. We kind of just created that. It was just thinking of something that we both liked.

A: We did spitball quite a few names. Also, Kirsten has its Danish heritage. So, I sort of liked the heritage aspect of it. 

What are you most proud of in your work on your label? 

A: I really liked the print that we came up with together. It was really hands-on and was a fifty-fifty collaboration when we were putting it together.

 

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K: All the things in that print are things that we scanned in [and they] are all like things from our childhood, just little objects from around our house. I’d say that’s probably my favourite thing that we’ve made as well. Particularly the blouse.

I also am proud of the way that we’ve presented the work on the website. Doing the animations is more emotive and gives you a better sense of what the clothing is like. It creates an immersive experience. 

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now? 

 

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A: I like Jordan Dalah. They’re Sydney based. Their work is really interesting. Really amazing silhouettes.

K: Most exciting for me I would say is Stella Vendetta, I like their image making. They’re experimental and humorous in the way they express their designs. I appreciate the light-hearted nature of their work

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?

A: Other than, obviously, more emphasis on sustainability, [it] would be looking less to overseas for inspiration. I just feel like it is kind of the default of a lot of fashion brands to be looking at international labels for inspiration. I think maybe just being a bit more self-referential.

 

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K: I guess we’ve been good at doing that because we’ve been looking at our immediate environment. So, I would say the industry needs to take more inspiration from its context. 

Dream collaborators? 

K and A: Dream Australian collaborators would be Lucy O’Doherty. She’s an amazing painter and artist who does dreamlike depictions of houses and objects which I think works perfectly with where we draw a lot of our inspiration from. I also like the idea of dressing bands.

I love a lot of local bands in Melbourne and someone like Terry I can see in our Howdy Hats for sure. They were wearing cowboy hats for a while and the Howdy Hat speaks to that aesthetic… maybe each band member in a different colour hat! 

 

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How can we buy one of your pieces?

A and K: You can order online on our website, and we make it within three weeks. We ship Australia-wide and internationally, it would just be more expensive to ship to Europe. 

Shop the Hom Sted collection here.

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