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Naarm-based label Eethyn is prioritising self-expression and inclusivity

IMAGE VIA EETHYN

WORDS BY BELLA BACKWELL

“I want customers to use pieces as a form of self-expression that’s about their style and not necessarily what I have presented the item as.”

At a time when some of us (me) were glued to the couch bingeing Tiger King, Naarm-based label Eethyn was born. Its founder Georgina Taylor started knitting to stave off boredom after her work in the film industry stalled due to lockdown. She has no formal training in fashion design, but her isolation project soon transformed into a successful and innovative label.

Eethyn’s customers are encouraged to make the pieces their own and to use them as a form of self-expression. The label’s latest collection, Incubation, puts a spin on traditional garments; think relaxed hoodies paired with knitted corsets, merino arm warmers and tops with multiple ties that can be worn in a variety of ways.


For more local labels, head to our Fashion section.


Eethyn is a slow-fashion label, prioritising sustainability in its production process and choosing locally sourced materials for its pieces. Georgina designs irrespective of gender, as she wants Eethyn to be for a wide range of people. I chatted to her about the inspirations behind her designs, her focus on ethical practices and what’s up next for the label.

Hi Georgina! Tell me a little about you. How did you get into fashion?

Thanks for having me! I’ll start from the beginning. When I was growing up, my mum worked in the fashion industry. She was a seamstress so I learnt a lot of what I know now from her. I studied film, not fashion, and it wasn’t really doing it for me. When COVID happened, it was really hard to get work in the industry, because most things were cancelled or put on hold. I was kind of just stuck at home, and I started knitting because I was really bored. 

Then for fun, I made one of the corsets and shared it on Instagram. People were replying and asking me to make them, and it snowballed from there. I thought, why not make this into something? I did the NEIS small business program to get it started, and then it’s just gone from there. 

 

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Where does the inspiration behind your designs come from?

I’m very inspired by the people around me, the creatives that I am surrounded by. I really like to see the pieces as part of someone’s collection. I love to see how people incorporate the pieces into their wardrobe and make them their own. I’m inspired by the wearers and I want things to be adaptable. 

Who is Eethyn for? Who do you consider when creating your designs?

In terms of age range, I think of people around my age, in their twenties or up to thirties, but it can be whatever age. I try to design irrespective of gender, so it can be worn by a range of people, but being female myself I tend to lend a little bit more femme in the styling and designs. 

I definitely think about people in Melbourne and people in Australia that I see, and I think of creating for them. I like that connection to the people that are wearing my clothes. I like being able to see people that I know wearing them, or people in the wider community wearing them- I think that’s really awesome.

What is your favourite piece you have created for Eethyn?

Probably something I have created in the new stuff that I am working on. I’ve made a top that I really love. My favourite thing from the recent collection was the tie tank top.  

When will your next collection be released?

I’m looking at probably the end of this month or the start of next month. I’m just working out what release basis I’m going to do, whether I do a release or made-to-order. But hopefully soon! 

Previously, it’s just been ready-to-wear, so I’ll make it and do stock drops, and then update stock regularly based on demand or what is sold out. I think going forward, I am going to do just a small run initially of everything. Then, if there is a demand, maybe I will do made-to-order. 

 

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How do you want your customers to feel when wearing Eethyn?

Comfortable. I like stylish comfort. Traditionally corsets are quite uncomfortable, so making it out of knitwear is a comfortable alternative. It has the visual style of a corset, but it’s wearable, breathable and comfy. A lot of the time when I am choosing my material, I always think about the comfort of that piece. That’s why I use the merino because it’s so soft, nice and breathable, but still warm. 

I want customers to feel good; I want them to feel confident. I want them to use pieces as a form of self-expression that’s about their style and not necessarily what I have presented the item as. 

I know that sustainability is important to your brand. How do you incorporate ethical practices into the production process for Eethyn? 

I work on a small run basis, so I don’t make large quantities where there could be excess stock. I know that’s a huge thing in fast fashion, they throw away a lot of stock that doesn’t get sold. I don’t make mass amounts so that there’s not the risk of that.

I also try my best to source everything as locally as possible, which is quite difficult. It’s been one of the biggest difficulties I’ve found; getting yarn or wool that is processed in Australia. Many don’t have the mills here anymore that process the wool. A lot of it is Australian wool, from Australian sheep, but it is spun and dyed overseas. I struggled to find a supplier that did that here, but I’ve got some better leads and it’s ever-evolving.

We have a very strong industry for wool in Australia. Through what I could find, it does seem like it is ethical and has lots of regulations. Pretty much all the synthetic fibres are made overseas, and also those fibres never break down. So, weighing up those sorts of things, I’m going with locally sourced wool and fibres that can break down and aren’t going to pollute the environment. Natural fibres also feel way better on the skin. 

For the next collection, I’m going to be using cotton, but that’s been another challenge as there are no cotton mills in Australia. I have managed to find one where they do spin it overseas, but they dye it in Australia. Most of the process is here, so it’s all just about little wins.

What’s next up for Eethyn? 

I’ll be doing this new capsule collection, just a small drop. I’d love to collaborate with someone. I’m moving into a studio with a bunch of my friends who are other designers and we’ve spoken about collaborating many times. I’d love to do mixed medium, so maybe put on an exhibition or a show, something a little bit different. We’ve got a really great new place, so we can do some sort of pop-up or market. 

How can we buy one of your pieces?

I am currently stocked at Error 404 and Sucker and may have some places in New Zealand soon. Also, through the Eethyn website.

You can find Eethyn here.

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