Meet Adelaide’s best accessory makers

Making their mark.

Adelaide Fashion Festival is fast approaching but it’s not just the clothing we’re looking forward to.

Celebrating the independent offerings of Adelaide’s many talented fashion creatives, the festival will also showcase a selection of Adelaide’s unique accessory designers. Think along the lines of Julie White, Tiff Manuell and Sylvy Earl.

Each independent designer has carved her own niche in the market, with striking designs and an instantly recognisable aesthetic.

Before we see their designs on the runway, we thought we’d find out a little bit more about the trio and how each is making waves in the industry.

Name: Julie White
Makes: Super cute scarves and socks covered in colourful Australian-inspired designs
Find her at: juliewhite.com.au

How did you start out?

It started with making my own clothing in my teens many moons ago, which turned into a screen-printed clothing label and now into art fashion accessories!

How does Australian culture influence your designs?

Contemporary Australiana is my biggest influence. I’m constantly inspired by the Australian landscape and Aussie flora and fauna.

What is your favourite design?

Picking a favourite is like not telling the full story, sorry but I can’t say!

If your label were a song, what would it be?

‘Great Southern Land’ by Icehouse.

When you’re not designing, where can we find you?

Exploring the Flinders Ranges.

What can we expect from you in future?

I’m currently putting together the final touches of my new collection and expanding my accessories line. Think full-printed legs!


Name: Tiff Manuell
Makes: Bold and bright hand-painted clutches, bags and jewellery
Find her at: tiffmanuell.com

How did you start out?

I started the Tiff range as a happy accident after making a clutch for a friend’s birthday present. I made a few more and girls came knocking on my studio door asking about them. It felt right because I was bringing all my loves into one product: painting, product design, sewing and making.

Tell us about your design process.

Each bag or accessory comes from a hand-painted titled canvas. We take two to five days to complete a series of canvases that are then cut up into the individual products. This allows every item to be totally unique from the other.

Do you have a favourite piece?

I guess my favourite item is the large clutch, it just holds the right amount of ‘stuff’ and shows an amazing amount of detail from the canvas design. I also love the Nightingale neckpieces, I wear them a few times a week!

If your label were a song, what would it be?

There are too many. I work every day to music and often my art can be determined by the mood of each album or song. Painting needs music, it helps with the outcome!

When you’re not designing, where can we find you?

I guess I try to make sure I’m home when I can, with my family in the hills. Our house has a beautiful view and an amazing arid garden we have created.

What can we expect from you in future?

I am excited to continually develop my art and design, and further pursue new international reach for our products. I’m hoping to find new amazing gallery-style stores and grow our website store.


Designer: Sylvy Earl
Makes: Delicate handmade headpieces and lush velvet fedoras

Find her at: sylvyearl.bigcartel.com

How did you start out?

I did my formal millinery training when I was living in Brisbane, and initially thought I would just do it for fun. At the time I was still working as a physio but decided to start up my own business when I moved back to Adelaide. It’s grown from there. I’ve always been interested in making things and working out how pieces are put together.

Can you take us through your design process?

The process varies a lot depending on the style and materials. For classic felt and straw fedoras, I use quite traditional methods and equipment, including wooden hat blocks, steamers and irons. The heat helps to soften the materials so I can stretch and shape each by hand. For more styled headpieces, my material choices are influenced by colour, shape and texture. How I use them is often dictated by the material itself.

What has been your favourite custom-designed piece?

I loved making a hand-beaded wedding headpiece for Greta Rumsby (of Greta Kate), especially for its sentimental value. She’s a wonderful friend and we often work together, so I loved making something for her special day.

If your label were a song, what would it be?

Alright’ by Supergrass. One of the things that first attracted me to millinery was that it allowed me to have some fun and show a less serious side.

When you’re not designing, where can we find you?

If I’m not in my studio making hats, I’m usually in the kitchen making cakes.

What can we expect from you in future?

I’m always working on a few pieces at once and am currently preparing some new styles for Spring Racing. I’ve just been appointed as this year’s millinery ambassador for Fashion at the Races, and will be involved in the new Races SA campaign shoot.

You can check out Tiff, Julie and Sylvy’s designs at the upcoming Adelaide Fashion Festival. For more Festival info, check out adelaidefashionfestival.com.au or at @adlfashionfest.

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