Having established themselves both home and abroad in a few short years, Vanishing Elephant have expanded their line from humble beginnings to a flagship store that just celebrated its first anniversary.
On the back of their debut women’s collection, Couturing writer Darby-Perrin catches up with Huw Bennett, one of the three designers, about the label, the challenges of moving into women’s wear and coastal escapes
DARBY: This season saw the debut of your first women’s collection, what drew Vanishing Elephant to move into women’s wear?
HUW: It was all part of us invigorating ourselves by having a new challenge to work on, our menswear is by no means 100% perfect yet but we have a good process so we felt it would be a good time to add something new into the program. So far so good!
DARBY: What was the source of inspiration behind this particular collection?
HUW: We just looked at our men’s story and tried to turn that into a separate women’s ideology. Our plan, or working idea has always been about evolving what we consider classic clothing pieces into wearable pieces that are functional in the now.
DARBY: Did you find it challenging to retain the V.E. aesthetic when designing the women’s collection? How did you translate the story across both men’s and women’s wear this season?
HUW: It was definitely hard to start a new story whilst trying to maintain the same handwriting. We mainly tried to marry fabrics, compare detailing and match some fits in a unisex style.
DARBY: Prints are an essential element of the V.E. collection. Where are they sourced or are they developed in house?
HUW: We do a couple of prints internally each season that are usually aligned with our theme/idea. We also work with some fabric suppliers on season prints. We’ve always tried to find prints that have a current idea but are a little lighter hearted.
DARBY: The summer collection has a very classic and utilitarian look. What’s the story behind the range?
HUW: With this collection, and whilst adding women’s, we just tried to trim the fat. We worked on what we knew best, used fabrics we loved and knew would work well with the desired fits. We’re always trying for a utilitarian feel so perhaps we hit it with this one?!
DARBY: Your flagship store in QV just had its first anniversary, congratulations! Is the women’s line indications of a possible exploration in different aspects of design, such as home wear or even kid’s wear?
HUW: Not yet, we still need to get comfortable with womenswear. Hopefully a store in our home city, Sydney.
DARBY: Last year, you collaborated with Stussy. Are there hopes for more collaboration with others in the future?
HUW: We’re working on a couple of small ones for early 2013. We find with a colab that it has to have a voice that speaks for both parties and delivers something beyond some nice pictures, so we’re working hard with that in mind.
DARBY: What’s next for Vanishing Elephant?
HUW: Lots of what’s to come, a couple of exciting things for 2013 and before that a beach holiday or two.
Images courtesy of Vanishing Elephant.