Why ethical fashion is worth it: a guide for new designers and existing brands Now that…
It’s hard to argue that Canberra lacks creativity…We need only look to the abundance of markets taking up residency in the hip ‘n’ happening corners of the nation’s capital and showcases like RAW that offer new and emerging designers a leg up into the industry, to know that really, we’ve got it pretty good when it comes to local, accessible handmade designs. But if you find yourself a little time poor and unable to get to all these fabulous creative outlets, then the answer to your local shopping woes may be more accessible than you think.
Local designer and screen printer, Muzi Wen has created Lazy Sunday Home, an outlet for Canberra-based designers to sell their creative designs without the huge overheads while featuring items that make the best and laziest Sundays from the softest bedlinens to decorations for an impromptu garden party! Here Muzi tells how it all fell into place and where Lazy Sunday Home fits into Canberra’s very big design puzzle!
With places like Lonsdale Traders, Handmade Canberra and RAW who support and offer local designers a platform to sell and promote their wares, where does Lazy Sunday Home fit into this and how does it make products more accessible to the general public?
Muzi: There is definitely something happening in Canberra! There are so many new places and platforms appearing that nurture locally sourced, hand-made crafts. Canberra has been starved of such places for so long, and I believe Lazy Sunday is a smaller piece in a larger puzzle championing this movement. Canberra has a wonderful ability to cultivate and promote communities like this without the cutthroat competition of other larger cities. My presence online and at markets simply provides another outlet for talented people!
Where did the name Lazy Sunday Home come from?
It came about over a bottle of wine on a friend’s balcony—like many ideas often do! The name and products encapsulate everything you enjoy on the weekend (Sundays in particular!). Whether it is doing a DIY project, organising the home, arranging flowers and planting herbs from the Sunday market, dressing up your cat, throwing a garden party or just lazing in bed all day.
What are some of the more unusual design pieces that you currently feature?
I have one item with a great Canberra story! Elliot Bastianon is a graduate of ANU’s art school and owner of Six Wiluna (a studio in Fyshwick which provides the tools and space for graduates with the skills, but no place to practice their craft). We stock his beautiful salad servers, which are made of elms entirely sourced from decommissioned street trees in Canberra’s inner North! Elms are great for kitchen applications because they never suffer from water damage or rot. In fact, hollowed-out Elm logs were used as sewage pipes in 14th century London (ewww!) and are being dug up today, completely unchanged and still useful!
But Lazy Sunday Home isn’t just about an outlet for other designers, you design also. What do you design?
I design homewares, mainly textiles, and have an obsession for storage and bedding (since I discovered tencel). I aim for simple, beautiful and practical things that create a happy and comfortable feeling. I recently designed a baby! So in true new mum fashion, I am designing things suitable for both adults and kids’ rooms.
The store also features my handprinted tencel bedding. Children of the 90s may remember this material as their super soft and drapey jeans… It’s actually not as daggy as you think! Made of recycled eucalypt fibres, it is perfect as bedding because the eucalyptus repels harmful dustmites, allergens and bacteria. The way its fibres are bound make it super soft, yet durable and breathable. But wait there’s more! It also has one of the best enviro credentials in the textiles world—made with a closed-loop process that recovers or decomposes the solvents and emissions used in its making… Needless to say, I fell in love as soon as I discovered it.
What do you love about design work?
For me, it is being able to do something that doesn’t feel like work and to look at pretty things all day. In general, I love the way design allows people to reconsider things they are familiar with. To look with fresh eyes at something they’ve been looking at for a lifetime.
When you’re a creative mind, like yourself, why is it important to surround yourself with other like-minded people?
Humans are social creatures, but designers often go about their work in their own heads, so not being surrounded by others can make for a lonely existence. It really helps the creative process when you have a friend to share tidbits of information with! Plus work is always more fun when you can bounce ideas off someone, upcoming events, someone else’s experiences and random facts (like elm wood’s resilience to sewerage…). Even the boring stuff like bookkeeping and how hashtags work on Instagram are best learnt through someone who is in a similar position to you.
At HerCanberra we’re all about shopping and buying local designs, why do you think this is important?
Keeping it local has obvious benefits for sustainability: of the environment, of the community, of the economy, of the scene. By supporting local design, you are keeping the talent here, and that in turn makes for a more vibrant and interesting place to live. It creates more events and hubs that play host to markets and spaces (like the ones that have sprung up all over the place). The success of these events and hubs demonstrate that Canberrans love that kind of atmosphere – everyone turns out! And the more local design talent there is, the more we will have to enjoy!
What have been two of the biggest changes that you’ve seen with the Canberra arts and design scene?
I think one big symbol of change was the launch of Craft ACT’s DESIGN Canberra Festival. What a fantastic event! Such a multi-faceted, diverse festival which catered to so many different aspects of design; showing off some of those iconic Canberran designers we’re all familiar with, but also introducing the next generation who may be slightly less known.
Another huge change is the number of amazing events popping up which are seemingly coordinated by ‘regular’ people – such as Fashfest and all the wonderful markets (Hustle & Scout, Night Market Canberra, Three Sixty Fashion Market). By this I mean that regular people are identifying a gap and getting it done themselves! I think the more prevalent these events are, the more confident we are becoming – and thinking ‘if they could do that, we can organise this!’. It’s fantastic to see communities being formed that make our city a more exciting place. Events like this allow people to see all the interesting things that are here, right under our noses! Platforms like HerCanberra also help a great deal in showing people how achievable this is by showcasing the stories.
There’s been an abundance of new markets pop up this year in Canberra, but what is one thing you’d like to see develop for Canberra designers?
I would love to see more (affordable) access for designers to make and showcase their wares. At the end of the day, a designer has to make a living to sustain their craft. Pop-up shops are a great way of using otherwise wasted retail opportunities for a fraction of the cost of setting up an actual store (very affordable for artists!!) DESIGN Canberra made the most of empty retail space throughout Civic, why can’t it be a regular thing? Why are we letting those spaces go to waste?
Once you graduate or finish a course, you often find yourself without a space or tools to practice your craft. Designers are often a bit homeless and work from cafés because they have nowhere else to go! While cafés have an abundance of all-important coffee, they lack the equipment. This is why I would love to see more affordable working spaces like Megalo and Six Wiluna where people can go to learn or hone their craft.