Penelope Murdoch and Hannah Knight, who we know in our nest as Pen and Han, have worked together to create our first that bird label collection.
that bird label is our birdsnest designed fashion label that features pieces for the modern Australian woman who loves to express herself with her wardrobe. Pen and Han answered some questions on the eve of that bird label’s release.
When did you know you wanted to design fashion, why?
Pen: It’s hard to say where my interest in fashion design came from. I know it didn’t come from the farm I grew up on, which was hardly surrounded by fashion! It has always been very important to me that I am enjoying and believing in what I am doing. As a student I adored my textiles class and I loved designing those very first dresses! Fashion has been a natural path for me to take.
Han: I have always been interested in clothing and design. I grew up on a farm in a small country town and my only sources of fashion were magazines and online fashion blogs. I realized that if I wanted to go to fashion and art exhibitions, textile lectures or see the clothing of the labels I had been dreaming about, I would have to travel. My high school didn’t offer any relevant textile or design classes but my parents were very supportive of me attending fashion design courses, stage productions, and fashion shows through the school holidays. I fell in love with the idea of designing fashion and all of the opportunities that might come with it. So far, these opportunities have included travel, experiencing new things and meeting creative and inspiring people every day.
What drove you to the CIT course in Canberra?
Pen: After studying fashion design during senior high school I remained 100% sure it was the career I wanted to pursue. I spent time researching the different options for studying fashion and questioned many who had studied in the field. They advised me that I was facing a very hard and time consuming few years! While I had also been offered a place at a fashion school in Sydney, staying in Canberra where I’d built such a strong network of friends through high school and lived only two hours away from my family seemed like the right choice. And it was.
Han: After a year abroad and time to research I picked the CIT course in Canberra because it offered a diverse range of subjects. I learned a wide range of skills from pattern making, sewing, business studies, marketing, graphic design, and many more. I had heard from past students that it was an intense and grilling course and I believed that if I could complete this course and attain outstanding marks, I could do anything! I did complete the course and with the marks I’d hoped for.
Describe your main responsibilities at birdsnest.com.au.
Pen: My main responsibility is to understand everything that is fabulous about the birdsnest customer – the different types of fashion that inspires and challenges her, and utilise this knowledge to create a collection that she will love. I also make sure that the passion of the birdsnest team is translated into our designs. It’s been a dream to create fashion that will suit the birdsnest girl perfectly and work with an inspired team.
Han: Understanding who the birdsnest customer is and recognizing where she might not have been properly served by the existing market. We created a collection based on the needs, wants and desires we identified, such as a love of colour and flattering shapes. The design process included analysing as much information as we could about our customers, creating specification sheets, managing the sample process, and producing ready to wear garments. Our team works really closely to ensure that the visions of each team member are realized and that the collection is the very best that we can make it.
What has been the most interesting thing about the design process of the launch collection of that bird label?
Pen: The whole design process has been interesting. It has been an amazing experience to watch a conversation and idea develop into a label and absolutely thrilling to have a key role in the development of it. From the first steps of designing and capturing our ideas on paper, to following it through and producing specifications, the thrill of getting samples made and seeing our 2d paper creations transform into living and breathing garments – and then thinking about doing it all again for winter! Every day there are new challenges but it is a road that is well worth the bumpy ride.
Han: The most interesting part of the design process has been applying the skills I had learnt and developed in my fashion education into a fashion industry environment. I learnt so much and I learnt fast. Coordinating an international team, understanding our market, designing and developing prints and being able to work in the industry I love has been an amazing experience that I can’t wait to build on with the next collection. But the part of the design development that I am most looking forward to is when I will see a girl walking down the street wearing that bird label!