New to Coco, Australian Fashion Designer Dominique Healy is here to fuse luxurious fabrications and floaty silhouettes into your wardrobe. Go behind the scenes with Coco to get to know the brand and her design processes and inspiration.
Can you tell us how and when the label started. What is the philosophy behind the brand?
I started the label full-time about 5 years ago in 2017, before that I'd been slowly chipping away at it for a couple years while I worked full-time. A couple of my friends and I would do markets and pop-up stores in our spare time. I worked for a fabric retail and wholesaler for almost 10 years. I loved it! But when my fabric 'collecting' started to get out of hand I made the call to finally leave my job and jump in full-time. I've been collecting fabric and making clothes since I was kid, my label is really just a reflection of that.
We would love to understand your design process and where the garments are created?
My design process has always started with fabric. When I used to work at 'The Fabric Store' we would spend all day admiring fabrics and imagining what we could make from them. When I start a collection I always select all of my fabrics first and then I start to design. My friends often find me sitting on the ground in my living room for weeks completely surrounded by fabrics just staring at them, drawing and noting down ideas that pop up. I could literally spend all day staring at fabric and do nothing else. I then start to make up and develop the garments and patterns from my Melbourne studio and occasionally from home as I also have machines there.
Can you tell us about your creative process when approaching a new collection? What inspires you?
So many things! Music, people, my environment, I would love to be able to travel more as I feel like your surroundings have such a big impact on your inspiration and the design process. I definitely still feel like fabric is the largest inspiration for my collections though, this is always where design has started for me.
Could you share the inspiration behind this collection?
My collections are always a development from the previous. With this range I wanted to develop and create shapes which are elegant but also have a really strong focus on comfort. I personally just get so much more wear out of the pieces in my wardrobe that I feel like look great but also feel extremely comfortable to wear.
What is your favourite piece of the collection? How would you style it?
Eeek. Um.. I am obsessed with the two-tone Adaline Dress I've done as an exclusive for you. This style and probably the Kashmira Dress are my favourites. I often wear my dresses with little strappy heels.
The pieces I get the most wear out of, especially in the warmer months, would be my Louie Crops. I love pairing this style with vintage Levis and either sneakers or heels with a pop of colour.
How important is ethical production and what practices do you have in place to achieve this?
This has always been something I've been passionate about which is why our production is predominantly all in-house and is also all made locally. This allows me to have so much more control over the environment where the clothing is made as well as making sure the people making these garments are being paid a fair and living wage. I feel like Clothing is something that should be enjoyed, not just for the wearer but also the maker. All of your pieces in this drop were made by my in-house team - Armeda, Izzy, Zoe, Kalaurie and Pippa.
I'm more and more focused on sustainability when sourcing fabrics for each range. My linens are all either OEKO-TEX certified or European Flax Standard and the remainder of the fabrics I use are predominantly dead stock.
What is your plan for the future and what direction do you see for your brand?
At the moment one of my major goals is opening a store in Auckland, New Zealand where I grew up. As I get older I'm finding I'd like to spend more time with family so setting up another base in New Zealand means I can split my time more easily between the two places. I actually just secured a space last week and will be opening before the end of the year - I haven't actually announced it yet so you're the first to know! I imagine a beautiful space where people can try on all my pieces in person.
Longterm, I'd mostly just like to continue to find ways in which I can improve my practices with becoming a more sustainable brand, not just through the making but also through all other areas within the industry. There is SO much more to be done!