South African born Storm Wyness is taking the Australian fashion market literally by storm. Along with her brother Ross, they developed Clique Arcade to offer a platfrom to independent designers and equisite fashion finds, and we can’t get enough of their latest PET. range.
Growing up, what inspired you? My grandmother was a model and honestly her clothes stopped fitting me after about age ten, so it was a short lived dress-up party but I loved playing with her clothes. In my early teens was obsessed with international fashion magazines, but they were so expensive so I’d buy old ones by the kilogram in Golden Acre centre. Then I’d cut out all my favourite images, and stick them in other book sort of making my own customised magazine.
I like to think I’ve always had an eye for something, but ‘beautiful’ may be pushing it. I like the fine line between things being hideous and amazing, I feel like that’s where the magic happens
You’re clearly good at identifying great design and selling fashion, are you into designing yourself? Absolutely, designing was something I always dreamt of doing. Working in fashion and with other labels there was always that thought in the back of my head, wondering if I could pull it off!
Any design rituals? I spend a lot of time making mood boards, it’s the best way to really build on ideas and get a feel for what you want to create, before you start actually designing.
PET. has obviously grabbed our attention, do tell us more…. One of the many advantages of living on the west coast of Australia is we are stupidly close to Bali – a great place to manufacture small run fashion. With my moms encouragement we were on the plane before I knew it and my first collection was selling in stores. (Thanks Mom!) PET. is really fun and easy. It’s all about prints and colour and texture, with simple design. It’s also very affordable, which is something that has always been important to me – I’ve never had much interest in making R5 000 dresses.
Have your African roots influenced your style and are they creaping into the Australian market Absolutely, I think that’s where I get my love for prints and colour, and finding beauty in things that aren’t perfect, rather full of personality and character. We are also seeing a lot of people from Africa bring their beautiful labels and tailoring styles over here and doing really well.
How would you describe Australian style? Like South Africa we are in the “other” hemisphere and our seasons are out of sync with the fashion capitals of New York, London, Paris and Milan. Trends are often interpreted and adapted for the opposite season rather than our style being dictated by international runways. I’ve always found this so much more interesting! Australian style is fresh, carefree, adventurous and individualist, but also comes off as being effortless. No one wants to look like they have put too much effort in (even if they have!)
And African style? To me African style is fresh, fun and bold. I think that a lot of pride is taken in what people wear, something not as prevalent in Australia. I look forward to being able to answer this question better in the coming months when Clique Arcade starts to welcome South African designers into the marketplace!
What do you look for in a designer or item that fits the Clique Arcade guidelines? Most importantly they are an independent designer, not owned or run by a fast fashion house or corporation. We are always looking for designers doing something interesting – and there is certainly no drought of talent! It is, however, important that labels are positioning themselves to be sellable online, which is not easy by any measure. So if a label approaches us, that perhaps doesn’t have all their ducks quite in a row yet, we do our best to chaperone them into being successful online vendors.
Who is on your fashion and design radar at the moment? I love anyone that has created a full aesthetic rather than just products. Australian fashion labels like State Of Georgia, Deon Dane, Hickey Hardware.
What’s your view on sustainaility in the fashion industry and eco-fashion? Conscious Consumption is something I’m becoming more and more passionate about. In our office we like to compare fast fashion to caged eggs. It’s hard to believe that anyone with a conscious could actually pick up a dozen caged eggs at the super market these days – but it’s only because we have been educated to know better. I look forward to that same sigma being connected to unethical fashion, and would love the Clique Arcade to play as much as a role as possible in making that happen.
Are there specific techniques/old skills that are being revived? With the building focus on ethical manufacturing, we are seeing the lot of traditional dying and print methods being celebrated. But it’s also leading to some amazing new techniques as well, like pineapple or mushroom leather which I’m so excited about!
Who would be your ideal collaborator? I’d love to do collection with someone like Solange. She’s a massive inspiration to me, a true style icon.
Is your home as stylish as your wardrobe? What’s rocks your boat when it comes to décor? As I’ve grown older my home has become as important as my wardrobe, which was very surprising to be honest! Spending money on anything other than clothing seemed like madness when I was in my early twenties!
Our home is full of comfortable spots and plants, we have more plants than cutlery!! A mix of minimal and industrial pieces with vintage bits that have been collected over the years. Local Perth brand @natsukashi is making me all kinds of happy at the moment. They make gorgeous linen bed sheets in unusual colours. It’s making me love my bedroom more than ever.
Any plans on coming home? I sure hope so! I haven’t been home in three years, it’s ridiculous but it’s been a pretty busy three years… The combination of my love for the mother land, as well as the crazy amount of talent coming out of it, puts South Africa very high on our list of country’s to branch into. I’m looking forward to having a little SA head office in Cape Town soon!
The Summer Issue is all about new beginnings, rejuvenation and adventure. Consider it a celebration of both indulging in wanderlust and the sweetness of coming home. We discover the most spectacular design hotels around the world, show you a beautiful collection of outdoor furniture and décor, and tempt your tastebuds with a new indian tapas restaurant. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #SummerIssue.