• 'Dawn till Dusk' with Melbourne My Style

Australian Designer – Karyn Westren presents her label [et cetera] WOMAN

[et cetera] WOMAN was founded by Karyn Westren in 2011 and offers a collection of Bohemian hand crafted batik silk pieces you can take from beach, poolside and beyond. Each piece provides women with a luxurious high end designer look with a small run being made in each style that includes innovative bold patterns, bright colours and originality.

The designs are flattering to women of all shapes and sizes and are simple yet chic, allowing us to feel confident and effortlessly beautiful.

I was delighted to be invited to view Karyn’s latest collection at this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney and was captivated by the luxurious silk designs; something that I would personally wear myself which I found was so fresh for the Australian market.

Interview

[et cetera] WOMAN founder & designer, Karyn Westren

“I am no stranger to the Australian fashion industry, with formal qualifications in marketing & fashion (at UTS, Melbourne School of Fashion & TAFE) and over 20 years’ experience working for retail and industry giants including:  Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA), David Jones, Myer, Westfield, Woolmark and numerous international and local fashion and lifestyle brands in my own PR agency, plus ‘moonlighting’ as a personal shopper/stylist and colour expert for numerous major shopping centres, corporate and personal clients – I decided in 2016 it was time for a new challenge”

“It was through my styling/personal shopping work that I started to identify a gap in the market for effortlessly beautiful, affordably luxurious, figure flattering no-fuss designs that would appeal to the busy Australian woman’s lifestyle and climate.  Coupled with my travels to Bali over the years and discovering their beautiful traditional hand-batik silk I married the two together and [et cetera] WOMAN was born around 2011”

“What started as a very small capsule collection of simple resort wear developed for private clients looking for something unique that was versatile and wearable every day, not just special occasions, has now grown into a retail and wholesale business. In 2016 I gave up all of my other work (except the occasional lecturing at a local fashion college) to turn [et cetera] WOMAN into a full-time business”

Where are you based?

 “I am based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs where the coastal lifestyle, climate and beaches feed my inspiration”

 Where does your inspiration and creativity come from as a designer?

”I think creativity is something you are born with.  I am fortunate enough to have grown up around and been inspired by my mother, grandmother and aunt who were all extremely talented with a needle & thread, so I guess it’s in my blood.  I am also a very tactile person and appreciate truly beautiful things – both natural and man-made.  One of my greatest joys is creating or transforming something that has not been previously considered”

“I am an avid people watcher and am fascinated by popular culture and human behaviour.  I research the key trends each season and look at how they can be adapted to the local market, but most of my decisions are based on instinct and experience.  I also take on board customer feedback and requests (both wholesale and retail) and develop solutions to their fashion needs each season”

Who is [et cetera] Woman catered to?

“The brand’s philosophy is to make women feel and look effortlessly beautiful without the fuss, regardless of their age and size”

“Our product appeals most to women who love silk (that is hand-washable) and appreciate something that is custom-made, not mass produced”

“We work with a ‘one size fits most’ approach so each piece is carefully considered to ensure it looks and fits just as well on a petite size 8/10 to a womanly size 14/16”

“There is something for everyone in the collection, from flirty skin revealing sundresses to full sleeve maxi styles, for ladies who prefer more coverage”

 You recently showed your first ever collections in Sydney please tell us about the collection and where the inspiration came from? 

“The SS/18-19 collection is like a candy store for grown-ups with all the tempting colours and pretty dresses on offer this season”

 “The range has evolved considerably since our first humble kaftan seven years ago.  We now offer a smorgasbord of floaty sun and party dresses together with layering pieces from kimono style jackets, lounge pants, sarong style skirts, shorty playsuits and camisole tops – all with a nod to the latest trends whilst retaining design hallmarks of ‘the classics’”

 “Dresses make up 80% of our wholesale and customer orders as women can’t get enough of them and often come back each season for their new summer wardrobe injection”

 “My mantra ‘living an island life in the urban jungle’ inspires my collection each season, as I believe we can transport our mood and mindset to another place just by the clothes we wear.   So whether you are on an island paradise or just dreaming about one my collection can help take you there.  I see evidence of this every time a customer puts on one of my garments, which is an extremely satisfying and rewarding part of my work” 

What fabrics have you worked with for this collection and why?

“I love natural fibres, particularly luxurious silk and things that are hand-made in a time honoured tradition, providing greater individuality and authenticity.  The islands of Indonesia and their traditional hand-batik methods by highly skilled artisans are an enormous inspiration to my collection as I fuse modern design with traditional craftsmanship each season which works so beautifully together.  I love being able to create meaningful pieces for my customers that are like treasured works of art”

 How was the colour palette chosen?

 “The SS/18-19 colour palette is broken into two core themes”

 “The first is the return of rose-tinted colour with dreamlike pastels including: apple blossom, glacier mint, powder blue, marigold and lilac”

“The second and always popular is inspired by the natural harmony of an island paradise – azure blue and monsoonal skies, tropical waters and lush vegetation.  This season we’ve included a huge injection of magenta pink into the collection to get the party season started”

 What does [et cetera] Woman represent? What’s next?

“First launched in 2011 Australian lifestyle brand [et cetera] WOMAN was created for long hot summers and island escapes”    

“The 2018/19 collection, designed for the beach and beyond, fuses luxury natural fibre and bespoke design with effortless boho-luxe style”

“Each hand-crafted silk batik piece celebrates traditional craftsmanship and authenticity, something rare in a mass produced world”

“The brand has been growing organically in the past two years.  We currently have great premium stockists in Sydney’s eastern and northern beaches and this season are expanding to Byron Bay, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.  Victoria is next on my wish list for stockists.  Regardless of where one lives, they can always shop on my website…https://www.etceterawoman.com.au  the new season collection will be available on line from September ’18”

“We have also had quite a bit of O.S. Interest in the brand, particularly from buyers attending Fashion Week (MBFWA), so it’s only a matter of time before the brand expands internationally”

 

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