Inside the Canberra couture brand bringing timeless elegance to our winter wardrobes | HerCanberra

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Inside the Canberra couture brand bringing timeless elegance to our winter wardrobes

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It’s rare to see an item of clothing in Canberra that is completely unique—especially in winter.

After all, there’s a reason the Kathmandu puffer jacket is considered the official uniform of ACT residents.

But Brunswick & Tilley—a couture winter brand—is here to change that. Established by fashion powerhouse Nia Stavropoulos in 2018, the Canberra-based fashion house is bringing highly sustainable, beautifully timeless, and wonderfully warm clothing to our winter wardrobes.

Using only Merino and alpaca wool, cashmere, and silk, what makes Brunswick & Tilley so deliciously luxurious is not only the classic designs but its dedication to supporting the Australian fashion industry.

Previously working as a Senior Ministerial Adviser on Australian manufacturing, CEO at the Textile Fashion Industries of Australia, and sitting on the board of the Melbourne Fashion Festival for 13 years, Nia says that Brunswick & Tilley began as a series of conversations she was having with her peers about what was missing in the industry.

“It started off as a conversation about why we weren’t promoting our beautiful Merino wool, our alpaca, and now we have a cashmere industry which is highly environmental,” she says.

“When I moved to Canberra after having all these discussions—and because we have lots of really good Marino, alpaca, and cashmere everywhere—I thought ‘Australia focuses on summer, why don’t we focus on winter?’ There is always winter somewhere in the world.”

Targeting fashion lovers that want to be environmentally friendly as possible but can’t find the kind of clothing they’re looking for—and who are prepared to pay a little bit more to have an item that will last for years—each item of Nia’s designs is fabricated with super luxe natural fibres grown by Australian growers.

Selling cold weather necessities like knitted cable jumpers and matching skirts, wool jersey dresses, pea coats, cashmere wraps, and Yeti’s—a strictly limited-edition jacket that was handknitted in the Canberra region and offers an alternative to fur—from the hand-sewn cotton labels to the silk lining of the trousers, there isn’t a thread of artificial fibres found anywhere.

“We started looking at every element of the garment because I don’t want it going into landfill and sitting there for 300 years. Our labels are made in Italy, and they are the labels that are made for all of the major couture houses in Europe such as Chanel, Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent.”

“Our yarns are spun in New Zealand or in Italy and again our Italian spinners also supply all the major houses with their knitwear. What we try to do is work with these people who have been in the industry for a long time, who understand quality, and for us, it’s really good because we do not spin in Australia—there are craft spinners but no commercial spinners.”

With a philosophy that choosing growers, spinners, and manufacturers shouldn’t be based on price point (and only buying from people where everything is traceable and ethical) Nia says her designs are meant to be treasured for years, which is why Brunswick & Tilley focuses on luxurious, understated, and practical designs.

“People won’t care if it’s last season or this season because it looks great on them. They’re very adaptable for that purpose because we want women to enjoy them for a long time.”

“[I draw my inspiration from] looking at women, sitting in a café, and just watching how women look. Also, women work and so clothes must be practical because these days no one has the time to go home, get changed, and go out,” says Nia.

“You could be wearing a dress with a pair of Converse in the morning and then slip the Converse off and throw on a high heel and you’ll look just as elegant going out to dinner or to a cocktail party. Clothes must be versatile for women; they have to fit in with their lifestyles.”

And with each item of clothing strictly limited edition, Nia says her clients know that they’re spending their hard-earned money on something they not only love but is uniquely theirs.

“Every year, the people that we work with will only produce so much wool. We will use only what’s produced that year,” she says.

“So, what we do—for example with our dresses—is we pick four colours of the season, and we will do one in each size. We will go from an eight to a 16 and that’s it. We will not produce it again because I think women like the idea of something being theirs.”

Opening her Red Hill salon by appointment only, Nia personally fits each client to ensure that they feel confident in their purchase—but after working in the Australian fashion industry for over 20 years, her piece of advice for anyone looking to update their style is simply “Be you”.

“If you’re comfortable in your own skin and you feel confident about who you are and then whatever you wear, whatever you like, will project the person that you are,” she says.

“Whatever you do, own it.”

For more information email, call 0447 060 062 and keep an eye out for the website—it’s coming soon!

Images supplied.

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