This week on the Home Life Series we visit the flagship headquarters of Australian fashion label, steele.
Feminine, timeless and relevant are three words that steele founder Jess uses to describe the inspiration behind the styling and design of steele house.
In today's feature we chat with Jess about her 15 years of experience in the fast-paced world of fashion and her tips for someone looking to take the leap and start their own label.
1. Hi Jess, thank you so much for welcoming us inside the steele headquarters. Let’s start with a bit about you - you founded fashion label steele in 2010 which has been thriving ever since. What has this journey been like for you and what inspired you to start your own fashion label?
Thank you for visiting steele house. Its been an incredible path so far, full of highs and lows. Such a fulfilling personal journey to be on, and the women I’ve met and worked with along the way have been my true inspiration for building steele & our community. From the very beginning, steele has been the manifestation of my own dream wardrobe, it fuses a relaxed glamour with versatility and inclusivity. To this day my design approach is the same.
2. From working for several Australian fashion brands to now owning your own, we bet there have been some challenging yet rewarding moments. What’s one piece of advice you’d share with someone in a similar position wanting to take the leap and start their own fashion label?
After 15 years in a very fast-paced industry, I’ve seen quite a lot! My advice would be – be ready to hustle everyday . Take care of yourself and your health first. Make time in your life to be slow and creative. Be prepared to work hard and be growing personally and professionally every single day. I'm always open to learning.
3. In December 2021 you opened the steele HOUSE; the first flagship store in Melbourne. The beautiful early-1900s, heritage-listed house located in Hawthorn is light, homely and calm. What was it about this space you yearned to have for the steele community?
I always knew I wanted to find a space that embodied the steele brand. It had to be awe-inspiring and beautiful but also approachable. After years of looking, I knew as soon as I saw this building that it was the one. Even though it was an unrenovated shell at the time, it had spectacular classic proportions, stunning original lead-light windows in tones of peach, green and blue, and a welcoming vibe. I knew it was the perfect place for our customers to experience our collections, and a wonderful space for our steele HQ team to create.
4. The pastel hues, abundant floral prints and flowy dresses that inhabit the steele house are beautifully complimented by the curated interiors. What was the inspiration behind the styling of the steele house?
We really invested in the planning and interior architecture to ensure our customers felt inspired from the moment they enter steele house through our garden gate. We worked with interior designer NG Feathers to create a feminine, timeless but also relevant interior that feels like stepping into a dreamy home. There are beautiful focal points such as a dramatic entrance with a round stone foyer table, where we display seasonal blooms that reflect the moods of our collections. I was passionate about supporting Australian designers and suppliers in our furniture and fitting selections, we have beautiful pieces from Lucy Montgomery and Anna Charlesworth. The furniture and styling pieces are a mix of vintage and newer pieces, while the textures of rugs and upholstery fabrics add softness and depth within the grand proportions of the architecture.
5. steele just released their latest winter collection, Botany. What trends can we expect to see in fashion this winter?
steele is not a brand that overly looks to trends, we like to walk our own path! This season we're all about saturated colour and fun, oversized yet feminine shapes. We are really inspired by the way real women dress, and how pieces can be styled in a relevant and unique way. Lately we've been particularly drawn to looks seen on the streets of Paris and Copenhagen.