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Local label Soot is the one to know this summer

WORDS BY AMY FOCIC

“I think there are so many exciting designers emerging from the Australian fashion industry – all with an aesthetic that is distinctively Australian and difficult to replicate.”

While it may have just been confirmed that Australia will experience a La Niña weather event this summer, dashing our collective plans for a hot vax summer, I for one intend to commit to the summer I initially had in mind.

How, you ask? By dressing in clothes that make me feel like I’m on a yacht in the Whitsundays, when in reality I’m withering away in rainy Newcastle (melodramatic, I know).


Discover more up-and-coming local designers in our Fashion section. 


It seems Byron Bay label Soot is ideal for my plan – its holiday 2022 collection Wave is bursting with coral and cobalt hues in playful cuts that evoke memories of summers gone by.

I spoke with Soot’s founder and designer Edwina Sinclair about starting her label, prioritising fun in her designs and making clothes that epitomise the classic Australian summer.

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

I am Edwina, owner and designer of the Byron Bay brand Soot. I re-launched Soot last year and have just released a new holiday collection called Wave. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to work in fashion. My parents always encouraged my creativity and my mum ran a costume design and dance business when I was in school.

I studied fine arts majoring in fashion at the Queensland University of Technology. A few years after graduating, I received a job opportunity as a design assistant in Melbourne for the brand Kookai. Working for a commercial label was extremely insightful and a great experience. A few years later I was lucky enough to be offered a role designing at Melbourne brand Alpha60.

 

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Georgie and Alex from Alpha60 were amazing mentors and I learnt so much working for them. In 2018 I made a decision to move north to be closer to my family and my partner. I was very fortunate to start working as a textile designer at Spell in Byron Bay. I think this role really sparked my passion for colour and print.

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

It was a very organic process starting Soot. There was a lot of interest in my graduate collection from some stockists I admired, so it only seemed right to give it a go! After a few years stocking with some amazing stores, such as Blonde Venus, Monk House Design and Fat, I came to a realisation that I had a lot more to learn. I then moved to Melbourne and began my journey in the industry.

What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the brand now?

The brand has evolved as a result of my development and experiences as a designer. My purpose with Soot is to create a sense of playful wearability and add fun and ease into the modern woman’s wardrobe.

 

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

Elevated holiday resort wear focusing on colour, comfort, quality and fun.

Where did the name come from?

I wanted the name to be short and sweet, also ‘o’ is my favourite letter in the alphabet.

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

Honouring thoughtful design and quality products.

What do you wish you knew when you started?

Follow your instincts!

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

I think there are so many exciting designers emerging from the Australian fashion industry – all with an aesthetic that is distinctively Australian and difficult to replicate. Easy going, vibrant and considered.

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?

I think every brand (not just Australian) should aim to be the best version of themselves, doing what they can to implement sustainable practices into their business.

 

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Dream Australian collaborators?

It would be pretty cool to collaborate with Kylie Minogue.

Go-to dinner party playlist?

I am getting married in June and my partner and I have a fun playlist for the recovery day – it is on repeat at the moment. It includes a mishmash of Madonna, Tame Impala, Nelly Furtado and Gwen McCrae.

Who is in your wardrobe right now?

Soot, Jacquemus, Marni, Paloma Wool, Acne and Ganni. Jewellery is Tilly Jewellery and Natasha Schweitzer.

How can we buy one of your pieces?

All Soot styles are available through our online store. We have selected styles through our wonderful stockists – Camargue in Queensland and Atelier on George in Western Australia. You can also find us at Twiin Store in London.

You can shop Soot’s newest collection here.

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