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JASONGRECH continues to be innovative, creating & accelerating his label during the Covid lockdown.

JASONGRECH is synonymous with luxury couture and has become one of our most celebrated Australian Couture Houses, residing in Melbourne.

Jason’s innovation to create and accelerate his label continues even during the Covid 19 crisis as he launches his new range of Designer Dog Accessories, JASONGRECH pet, inspired by his toy poodle Jaxson.

Jaxson the toy poodle – JASONGRECH pet

From glamorous dog beds, bow ties, and dog leashes, these stylish custom-made accessories will have your fur baby striding in style like a fashionista.

Recently our beloved pooches have helped more than ever keep us motivated and get us outside during lockdown, making such beautiful companions. There has never been a better time than now to spoil your furry family member.

Jason please tell us a bit more about JASONGRECH pet.

“My little best friend Jaxson and I spend most of our time together, he has always joined me at work pre-Covid 19 and would come with me every time I caught up with friends for dinner. He was rarely ever at home alone.  We live together in our warehouse conversion, which is currently our house and workroom, so I’ve been fortunate to have access to my machinery and fabrics while in lockdown, I’ve been able to design and sew.

I’ve been making clothes and taking photographs of him in them for his Instagram and Facebook @theAdventuresOfJaxson for over 4 years. I had begun to start sampling clothes for his collection 3 years ago but had to park the dog pet accessories business because my women’s label JASONGRECH started to take much more of my time, something had to give and it was the dog collection.

Fast forward to Covid 19 lockdown 1 – Australia goes into lockdown a few days after showing at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, now known as Melbourne Fashion Festival, and I began to struggle mentally, I have always thought that my brand and who I am are two different beings, but I discovered I was incorrect. I felt that I lost who I was, which was very confronting at the time, and I knew I had to remain focused and continue to be creative with work, I designed and produced for JASONGRECH Bride 20/21, with my team who worked from home.

I was inspired by parents and guardians home schooling their children and started making some clothes for Jaxson and photographing him in the workroom. Home schooling Jaxson brought so much joy to me and my social media friends and followers.  I photographed him looking through a fashion magazine wearing a jacket and glasses behind the laptop, in a grey skivvy and denim overalls, and then in a lime green denim jacket in the design room…. The list goes on!

Women are not investing in party dresses, wedding gowns or red carpet dresses right now so I had to figure out how I could pivot my business a little while staying true to who I was, so I introduced a luxurious cushion collection using my signature printed fabrics from our current and previous collections. This was and continues to be, a success part of our offering.

I learned a lot during the Black Lives Matter movement, and I stand with people whose lives are most directly impacted by brutality, incarceration and other manifestations of racial injustice and I know that I have not done enough. I have educated myself and learned about my white privilege and pledged 3 things during the movement.   I want to be the change I would like to see in the world.

  1. To use more People of Colour for our campaigns – I am privileged to have worked with Sabah Koj for JASONGRECH Bride 20/21 and we were fortunate to be able to do this when the 1st Lockdown restrictions eased. I am extremely proud of this.
  2. To offer financial support to an Indigenous cause. We did this through the sale of our first mask collection drop, 10% of all proceeds have been put aside and we are currently talking to some universities/causes. I am also continuing to search for a struggling indigenous fashion/art student who would appreciate some financial help to cover some of their costs associated with their studies.  I plan to do something similar annually.

3. Offer an internship at JASONGRECH to an indigenous fashion student.

The masks began after my free online MASKter Class. I felt that everyone should have the ability to make a mask at home so we asked people to cover the cost of postage and we supplied the mask making kit, that included fabric and elastic, and I held the workshop on how to make a mask on our social pages.

Speaking on social media was a first for me, and considering that talking to a camera gives me a panic attack, which speeds my heart rate, causing me to stutter at times, really was the breakthrough I needed.  This was bigger than me, this was about giving someone else the tools to be able to abide by the new mask-wearing rules and keeping them and everyone around them safe. I expected we would send out 50, we sent out over 200 kits.

The demand for masks from us came because I had many requests from clients who wanted to purchase rather than make so I decided to add them to my offering. I had seen many dark coloured and pretty masks and I wanted to do something different and use as many fabrics as I had in stock so we could offer them at an affordable price. 

We now offer 3 limited edition print styles including the JG monogram, Celebrate Melbourne Graffiti and our just released Knights of St. John which matches the currently JASONGRECH pet collection alongside our block crepe masks available in 9 colours.” 

JASONGRECH pet

This began in lockdown 2.4 (2nd lockdown, stage 4) I was walking Jaxson on our 1-hour exercise walk and noticed that I didn’t see any accessories on dogs that stood out. I groomed him and wanted to take a few pictures of him, so I made a bow, and then it hit me.  This is the pivot!

I am creative but I also understand how business works. I have worked too long and too hard, 7 days a week for 10 years and 6- 7 days a week for the last 7 and I will not let a pandemic take what I have invested my life in. Business is about being strategic, it’s about finding gaps that you can fill while remaining connected to your customer and introducing them to other markets.

There are not many things we can control at the moment, but one thing we can control is how we dress – and how we dress our pets during our 1-hour exercise.

Tracksuits and active wear depress me, I feel lazy and unfocused when I wear them. I feel powerless so I made a conscience effort to put them away and start wearing my best.  And if I am wearing my best, so should Jaxson so I introduced JASONGRECH pet, an offering of collars, bows, a leash, and lux bed, in signature JASONGRECH prints.   I have used the Knights of St. John fabric and offer it in 3 colours.

I am currently working on a harness and have sampled a skivvy and my favourite jacket I put on Jaxson which I will drop in the next few weeks.

Finally, I’d like to say that I am grateful that I am a recipient of the City of Melbourne Covid 19 grant which has allowed me to grow my business in new areas.”

Interview and words by Jason Grech

Written by Melinda Sullivan

Images by Meagan Harding

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