Rebecca J Miller takes us through her vision for her new loungewear collection – the journey from ‘sofa to soirée’.
The Clothing Lounge: When and where did you first start your brand?
Rebecca J Miller: I initially launched my lifestyle brand with a homewares collection at Top Drawer in January 2019, as part of their Spotted area, which is for newcomers.
I set up my website and my homewares collection started to sell well online. From this success, I then started to branch out, extending my homewares collection to include some gifting items.
It had always been my dream to create a lifestyle brand that also included fashion items. I started with leggings and then developed into a full activewear range. Then last October I decided to branch out further and started to develop a loungewear collection.
TCL: Where does your design inspiration come from?
RJM: I would love to say that I am inspired by one particular thing, but the truth is my inspiration comes from many different things. It could be a piece of music, a fashion trend or something from nature. I absorb all sorts of patterns, colours and textures from everywhere.
My process to develop a print can either be led by a particular colour palette first, or the other way around where I have an idea for a pattern and then the colours come afterwards. I do not have fixed rules and I like to go with the flow.
While I am creating my prints, I think about the products I would like to incorporate them into. I build up a vision of what those products would be and how the collection will be pulled together.
My loungewear collection is based on a vision - from sofa to soirée- of a lady lying in a gorgeous dreamy slumber as the sun goes down. She suddenly wakes up with a start and realises she is supposed to be at a party! She jumps up, takes off her eye mask, straightens out her dress, grabs her scarf and bag and runs out the door.
TCL: Describe your brand in 3 words.
RJM: Colourful, Tactile and Luxe.
TCL: What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
RJM: I love the creative side, designing prints and product development. When you run your own label, you have to focus on the business side as well and this can take time away from creating.
You also have to develop skills for every aspect of your business, from sales and marketing & PR, as well as being financially and commercially astute. Running with all these skills at the same time can be challenging and it is hard to keep focused on your vision. I am lucky enough to have some great people around me, who understand my vision for the brand and support me with social media and sales.
TCL: Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
RJM: I absolutely love the process of creating new prints, from the research of colours and textures, through to looking at trends and finally translating all this into a print. I also love developing products and collections, and seeing my prints come to life is so amazing!
To be honest there are many aspects of the creative process that are not enjoyable. Perhaps when I am trying to put a pattern into repeat and it is not quite working, that can be a little frustrating.
TCL: Do you have a mentor?
RJM: I do not currently have an official mentor, although during lockdown I worked with a business coach who had previously been my mentor when I worked in the corporate world. She is amazing and really helped me to focus on the business side of things.
I also have a couple of unofficial mentors I look to for guidance. Also, women in business that are further down the track and wiser than me in many areas.
TCL: How long did your latest collection take to create?
RJM: For my loungewear, I knew I wanted to use some prints from my existing collections, so this part was easy. The idea for the loungewear collection was born last October, a year ago, and it has taken just under a year to launch.
As it was my first collection of this kind, we spent a lot of time researching fabrics and fit to ensure the ultimate comfort and maximum beauty.
TCL: What are your future plans?
RJM: I have many plans for the future. As sustainability has become such an important part of my business, I am going to be working even harder on this.
I have come a long way this year, making everything as locally as possible, using fair labour and minimising waste. I would now like to start focusing on becoming more transparent about where my materials come from.
I would like to expand my fashion collection to include some more categories, so watch this space.
I would also love to do a collaboration of some sort.
TCL: Which pieces do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
TCL: What attracted you to The Clothing Lounge?
RJM: It is such a great online platform for small independent designers. The support so far has been amazing and very focused. The platform is very clean and intuitive and I really feel the fit for my collection is so right. It offers such a great variety of different designers, it is so great to be in good company.