Meet Your Maker: Soren of Isla by Talulah

  • Style
posted by Kate McCart

We caught up with the Head of Design at Isla by Talulah, Soren. The younger and slightly more laid back sister brand to Talulah, the Byron Bay favourite is making waving nationally and internationally. We caught up with Soren to talk through the inspiration behind the AW15 collection, what’s to come out of Isla for SS16, how she got her foot in the door of the fashion industry and life in Byron Bay.

What’s your role at Isla by Talulah?

I’m the Head of Design for Isla.

How did Isla come to fruition?
Isla actually came about sort of in reverse. We wanted to design for a certain girl. Obviously this is now the ‘Isla girl’ but before we had a name we were just talking about who she was and how fun she’d be to design for. We knew who the Isla girl was before we had any Isla designs! These discussions soon morphed into a collection and the Isla label was born.

What does Isla by Talulah mean to you?
The Isla girl has an adventurous and fun approach to fashion. She’s got a youthful energy and that’s what I keep in mind when designing. Isla is also effortless and chic – she’s a cool chick who’s pretty fun to design for to be honest! Isla is all about those pieces that every girl wants in their wardrobe each season.

Walk us through the design team’s innovation process for the AW15 collection?
The Isla AW15 collection is called The Maze – this kind of sums up the inspiration in a way. We wanted the collection to be this intoxicating journey with vibrant knits, bold prints and tactile fabrications on top. There’s a lot of print on print and layered textures. All together, the collection is youthful yet refined. I love it!

Describe your style…
My style is quite feminine and relaxed . I’ll wear an Isla dress paired back with black boots to give it a grungy edge.

What will we see you wearing from the new season collection?
This season there are going to be quite a few additions from Isla’s current collection. I’ve got my eye on so many pieces! I can’t wait to wear the matching twin sets and there’s a lot of knitwear that I’m excited about too. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the weather to cool down because I want to wear all the knitwear!

Where is Isla by Talulah HQ?
We’re based in the beautiful Byron Bay. We’re so lucky to live and work here! Living the dream!

Describe your workspace?
I work with a lot of girls so an average day in the office is pretty fun. There’s great energy and a fast pace. It’s a workplace with lots of inspirational images, fabric cards, prints everywhere. It’s always lively. 

Walk us through a typical day at the Isla by Talulah HQ…
Every day is really busy, so I make sure I’ve got all my priorities on a to-do list. Typically we will start the day with a production meeting to check we’re all on track. The rest of my day is spent designing and discussing upcoming ranges. We go over a design quite a few times to make sure it ticks all the boxes. It needs to be luxurious, comfortable to wear and flattering on the wearer. Most importantly though, it needs to speak to the Isla girl. It’s really important that every design we make for her makes her feel like a million bucks.

Tell us a couple of funny/quirky things that take place behind the scenes at Isla by Talulah HQ?
I’ve got one. We have a whole lot of inspiration walls, but there’s one section that’s devoted to each designer and their ‘inspo-animal’. It’s what animal we would be. It’s provided a lot of giggles in the design room. Right now, I’m Soren the swan which I’m pretty happy with!

Describe the Isla by Talulah team in 3 words…
Vibrant, fun-loving and dynamic.

The fashion industry is a bit of a hard one to crack, how did you get your foot in the door?
While I was studying Fashion Design I did some work experience with Australian brands that I love. It was a great opportunity to meet some inspiring people and see what the fashion industry is all about. I think getting that initial experience while I was still studying helped me a lot in getting a job when I left. Also, gaining experience in the kinds of companies I wanted to eventually work in was helpful too when applying for roles.

Give us a brief rundown on your story?
When I was really young my Nan taught me to sew, knit and embroider. I’m not sure if it was because I loved making crafty things that my nan taught me, or if it was the other way around and I loved it because I loved Nan who was teaching me. Either way, I’ve loved drawing and anything hands on since I was a small child. After school I gained a Diploma of Fashion Design and Industry Practices from TAFE and when I finished that I moved to Byron Bay. I wanted to live somewhere inspiring, somewhere that would help me creatively. I’m glad I did too, it’s a decision that’s paid off!

What’s been playing in your head phones lately?
At the moment it’s Banks, Hozier and Ben Howard.

Any hobbies/interests outside of Isla by Talulah?
Drawing – I cant go anywhere without taking a notebook and pen. I spend a lot of my free time sketching.

Describe your morning routine…
Living in Byron Bay, I try to spend as much time outside as possible. I love going for a walk along the beach or a swim before work. Any time that’s not spent in the design room is spent outside.

What is your ideal Sunday?
Anything relaxing… No errands, no pressure to do anything. I love a lazy Sunday basking on the beach. My ideal Sunday would start with a morning swim, followed by breakfast at the markets, then catching up with friends in the evening to wrap up the weekend.

Where’s paradise?
I’m a very lucky girl – I feel like I live in paradise!

Next trip?
I would love to go to New York. The winter Isla collection has a lot of NYC references – there’s a Chrysler print and the Brooklyn sweater. I keep referring to New York in my inspiration boards in the design room too. New York is on my mind!

Favourite food?
Gelato – definitely my guilty pleasure.

Tea or coffee?
Tea. Especially Chai.

Cats or dogs?
Both – I love animals.

What’s the next big thing coming out of Isla by Talulah?
There’s always a million things going on at Isla. It’s such an exciting brand and there’s so many opportunities and projects on the go. We’ve just finished working on our Summer collection. Can’t wait to show you that!

Shop Isla by Talulah AW15 collection here!