WITH Spring preparing to rear its head in a couple of short weeks now is the perfect time to update your wardrobe and invest in a handful of classic pieces.
Chinchilla News caught up with local lady Mel Weller, owner and designer of Melenco a fashion label dedicated to delivering well-made, timeless fashion to enjoy for years to come.
We spoke about Melenco's new Spring collection as well as why Mel has turned away from "fast fashion" and what the future holds for this year's Spring and Summer trends...
Chinchilla News: Could you start by telling us a little bit about your background and how you first started to develop Melenco designs?
Mel Weller: I grew up between Chinchilla and Miles. I always loved fashion and have had a bit of a creative streak so the two sort of aligned. Before I had children I was one of two designers for another label. I put it aside to focus on parenting and returned to teaching but I guess the urge for a creative outlet never really left me. I also felt that my style had evolved and I wanted classic and feminine designs with an element of fun... Basically, I couldn't choose between my love of teaching or designing so I found a way to do both. It keeps me busy but I see designing as much as a hobby as work.
I don't sew the pieces myself, when I learned to sew (a pencil case in high school) I quickly learned I was terrible at it! I outsource to an amazing ethical factory in Vietnam. They always nail the fit as items are tailor made rather than mass produced.
CN: How would you describe this latest collection you've just launched for Spring 2019 and who are three of your biggest style icons?
MW: The Spring collection is unashamedly feminine but I try to incorporate clean lines to add sophistication to the prettiness. I see the entire process through from the concept to the fabric production in my choice of print and fabric and finally to the pattern making and garment production.
Spring is such a fun season filled with events and excuses to dress up, so this collection has some more special pieces that could be suited to spring racing, daytime events, weddings and polo carnivals. I've also thrown in a touch of 70s throwback inspiration for this season's collection. My style icons- Kate space, Twiggy and Dianne Von Furstenberg
CN: How do you juggle being a working mother with such a creative side hustle?
MW: It's busy being a working mum with a side hustle but I run Melenco from home and the kids actually love helping out and being involved! My 5 year old daughter in particular loves it when a box of samples arrives and I 'model' them for her. They aren't backwards in coming forwards with their feedback and my son once told me a dress 'would look better on Aunty Becky.'
CN: Can you tell us a little more about the factory and how Melenco supports ethical fashion production?
When I had the previous label I did all the groundwork. Trips to Vietnam, countless samples and finally one that we were happy with. I have a fantastic relationship with them and have toured the factory which is beautiful. Water views and staff are happy and well paid!
CN: How has your experience as a business owner and designer changed the way you shop and buy your clothing?
MW: I am anti fast-fashion. I'd much rather buy less and buy well. I still have and wear many pieces from my previous label which are now at least 8 years old. I think the classic nature of my designs helps them take them through seasonal fashion changes without looking outdated... Having said that, I do think there is a place for a H&M tee!
CN: What do you think will be some of the biggest trends this Spring/Summer?
MW: I think there seems to be a bit of a return to femininity. It has been heading that way for the last few seasons. Also elegant loose fitting styles
CN: How can we see more of your beautiful clothes and funky accessories?
MW: I will hopefully have my website up and running by the end of September, but for now you can watch this space by following Melenco on Facebook.
For all the latest looks from Melenco's Spring collection as well as the friendly faces who attended the launch on Friday, take a gander at our photo gallery below: