Pixie: Has your daily routine with the label changed during the unfolding of Covid?
JB: It did at the start, but now it’s relatively back to normal…apart from sanitising my hands 10 times a day haha.
Considering it’s hard to rely on international production, how has this strengthened your resolve to produce the majority of your label here in Australia?
It’s been really good to be made in Australia at this time. I think the customer values it more, it’s strengthened that aspect of the label. I feel really lucky to have my [Australian] network and skill-set. It does feel good to be supporting local suppliers, keeping them busy.
How was your experience of putting together your new knitwear collection? Was it a long and slow process working with manufacturers overseas?
Not really actually, I was quite lucky, I had someone helping me who was working directly with the factory. It is a small, family run factory and [my connection] had worked with them for years and helped me to communicate with them; what the styles were, sending the tech sketches and measurements.
Also fitting knitwear is a lot easier than fitting dresses and trousers and tops, there’s a lot more leeway so it actually was quite straightforward, which was good, but it took a while. I tried to make them in New Zealand but it was impossible.
What do you see as being the next big thing on the horizon for Jillian Boustred?
OMG, that’s a big question! I think being locally made, sustainable and ethical. Being made on-shore during Covid means I can be more flexible, which will be really great moving forward. I think this will be the big opportunity for me. In terms of styles…I’m not going to start doing puffer jackets or anything like that - there’s no new vision I’m seeing.
Can we expect any new materials at all?
I’m going to try get into organic cottons and use more sustainable fibres and, hopefully, mills that have sustainable practices - there’s a couple I’ve found in Italy that are very energy efficient.
What are you most looking forward to when lockdowns ease?
People wearing more dresses! Events! That’s a really big part of my label and the fashion industry.
Do you do pop-ups in the studio?
I have in the past and I did try last year to have the studio open consistently for a few months! However now with lockdowns in place I have changed it to be "shop by appointment". Last year I did a pop up in Melbourne too which was great and something I'd love to do again. I was hoping to have a JB event this year to celebrate 5 years but I'll have to postpone this until next year!
What has been a positive about spending so much time in isolation? Any new cooking skills, or hobbies you have picked up?
Mmm positive …I’ve been cooking a little bit and spending time with family, I’ve done a move and I’ve been decorating my new apartment. It’s been good for me to focus on content, be able to network more, and put more energy into [allowing customers] to engage more with the label. That’s all been positive!
Being able to get back to basics and really thinking about what works and what doesn’t work. Being more considered in what you’re producing and not getting carried away.
Thanks so much Jillian, for showing me your beautiful studio and having a chat!
Shop Jillian Boustred
Interview & Images by Pixie McElroy