Rouda is Megan McNeill, one of the sweetest, most humble not to mention super talented
designers we’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
A local textile designer and all round sweet heart, we chatted to her about her first collection
Can you tell us a little bit about Rouda, what is the brands ethos and the driving force
behind it's creation?
Rouda is almost my product of a child-like state. I feel as if I am my most imaginative and can
be creative without any boundaries or inhibitions, it is where I have complete creative freedom.
Thoughtfully balancing surface pattern with form, Rouda is a harmony of playful charm and
effortlessness through simple styles with a hint of tongue in cheek.
The name Rouda came from a nickname my grandmother would call me as a young child,
“Gerty-rouda”, returning to this childishness when designing for Rouda, I can get away with
being a little cheeky and playful.
My grandmother is an incredible knitter and embroiderer, so I owe a lot of my initial interest
and knowledge in textile design to her so it felt appropriate to name the label with this memento.
What I think is most exciting about Rouda is that it is a label that is based around the fabric and
the textile designs more so than the garment styles themselves. As having a background in textile
design, I place more emphasis on the prints and fabrics and those elements speak for themselves.
Of course Rouda prides itself in ensuring the prints work with the garment's shape and form,
but the garment is the sub straight that really showcases the print and can tell the story.
I think the fabric plays a huge role in the integrity of a garment. You want it to feel nice against your
body, for Positive/Negative, I have opted for light weight natural fabrics, utilising cotton, silk and
linen so that they are cool and soft against the skin. Feeling comfortable in what you're wearing
is something that I hope I can offer people without compromising style.
Another aspect that I felt that it was really important for Rouda was to have as much as the
production and manufacturing done here in Australia. Locally made products are something I
am very passionate about, so all the pieces are made here in Melbourne. I think supporting local
business can strengthen the local design community, so it is very important to be active within it.
How do you seek inspiration for a new collection? Is there anything in particular that
inspires this collection?
My first collection Positive/Negative was inspired by light and shadow, but interpreting it in quite a
literal and playful way through the prints. Initial inspiration was drawn from noticing silhouettes forming
on my walls, this was a starting point for motif development, and were drawn from wavelengths and
hand shadow puppets to create fun, conversational prints.
I knew I wanted to create something quite clean and fresh for my first collection, so keeping the palette
quite restrained was very important. I feel that the crisp black and white palette was most appropriate
with the concept of light and shadow. Rouda is really about showcasing the prints on the garments,
so clean lines and simple shapes have been combined with the striking, playful prints to compliment
each element. My inspiration comes from many different places, it might come simply from mark
making or painting as a starting point, sometimes it's informed by nature, or traditional textile techniques,
I'm a huge sucker for vintage textiles. Things that look like other things inspire me a lot too. But something
amazing could hit you right in a face and stem from a completely unsuspecting source, then you just
have to explore it and resolve it! That's the most exciting part as a designer!
Can you tell us a bit about your installation in store?
I am very excited to be taking over the Monk House shop front when the range drops in store. The
window display will showcase the different prints working together across the range, while I play as
resident sign writer for day and paint the window with motifs from the collection.
What will summer be like for Rouda?
Designed to be mixed and matched, garment styles include very resort inspired, pool-side shapes
with pattern heavy fabrics. The range features long flowing silk dresses alongside more cropped length
dresses, printed linen culottes, alongside simpler linen raglan shirts and skirts. Combined with
accessories featuring the wide brimmed tie up cap and printed bucket hat.
I'm not that great with the heat, so summer will be spent poolside sheltered from the sun in my Rouda
wide-brimmed Tie Cap amongst good company and weather appropriate cocktails close at hand.