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Stella Vendetta is the Naarm label creating experimental ready-to-wear from the unwanted

IMAGE VIA STELLA VENDETTA

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“Stella Vendetta is our hippie-punk love child.”

Sometimes, in moments of pre-event anxiety, our sartorial choices can feel dire. Is it disproportionately dramatic? Certainly. But if you’re an avid consumer of fashion content, the smallest decisions (is the beret too much? Possibly) can feel overwhelming. If we’re honest, fashion tends to take itself a little too seriously. It’s just not that deep.

The brainchild of Melbourne duo Sarah and Jasper, Stella Vendetta is the art project-turned-label bringing charming frivolity back to fashion. Together, the pair “make weird shit from the unwanted”, gathering materials and garments from op shops, the streets, family, friends and any and all other wonderful places.


For more fashion-related features, browse through our Fashion section. 


Transforming these found treasures into tailored suits, playful denim and experimental ready-to-wear, Sarah and Jasper make interesting, sustainable and “super fkn special” pieces for everybody.

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

Sarah studied fashion design and worked in retail for a while before starting Stella. I studied graphic design and have done almost every odd job under the sun (this week I’m a fake welder). We’ve both been obsessed with fashion and art since we were teenagers and we’d always talked about starting something together that blended our skills.

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

 

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We were sitting on Sarah’s porch talking about how fucked it is that everything people wear is disposable. Fast fashion has completely pulled the emotional attachment out of what we wear! We thought it’d be sick if we could come up with a way to restore old clothes and give them a second life.

We ran to the op shop, picked out a small collection of stuff and just started doing really weird shit to them in Sarah’s garage. It’s two and a half years later and we’re now professional op shoppers. We’re still figuring out how to make clothes though.

Generally, in terms of process, I’ll come up with a really ambitious idea, explain it to Sarah, she’ll tell me it’s a ridiculous idea, and then we’ll try and make it happen. Most of the time it works.

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?

We just wanted to create an alternative to buying brand new clothing and accessories. It wasn’t all for the environment though, we also wanted to make cool stuff. Now it’s all about creating pieces that are as weird as possible and convincing people to wear them.

At this point we don’t even feel like an ‘upcycled’ label, we just don’t use anything new. We don’t actively communicate anything with Stella. Hopefully, we’re just encouraging people to wear fun stuff and make their own pieces.

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

Dumb, silly, fun, punk, green, emotional clothing.

Where did the name come from?

 

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We originally called ourselves ‘Fuck Fast’. After telling my mum she convinced us to change it, which was probably for the best. Thanks mum. We were really into stars at the time, so Sarah got her Italian dictionary out and we landed on Stella Vendetta. It means “starry revenge” in Italian. We both still really love the name, which is nice.

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

I’m so proud of what Sarah and I have done together. We make everything side by side and we’ve never had a fight (not about clothing, anyway). It’s a completely collaborative project. Even with Stella becoming more of a label – we still do what we want and create freely. Stella Vendetta is our hippie-punk love child.

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?

Everything? Big fashion houses and brands need to chill out. They probably won’t do that by themselves, so the government needs to jump in and charge them more tax or something. I’ve given up trying to solve that one. It’d be pretty funny if making new stuff became illegal.

Dream Australian collaborators?

 

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Hard Yakka, Vinnies, Blundstone, Speed Queen Laundromat, The Goon Sax, Sushi Sushi.

Favourite local artists and designers?

Rupa Anurendra, Amici Studio, Friendly Printers, Think About You, Nuestro Planeta.

How can we buy one of your pieces?

We just released our last collection of the year, Holey Moley!, which you can buy at stellavendetta.com or in-store at Sucker in Brunswick.

Anything else to add?

Pay the rent! If you have the means to, donate directly to a First Nations organisation, or support and buy from local Blak businesses. Black Rainbow, The Dhadjowa Foundation and Sisters Inside are amazing foundations and a great place to start.

Thank you so much to everyone who supports us, we’re so grateful.

Shop Stella Vendetta’s Holey Moley collection here.

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