Mimi Holvast is a designer and seamstress based in Byron Bay, Australia. Her minimalist, practical garments use natural materials that achieve a timeless, trans-seasonal look. See the full story from Paul’s studio visit for Where They Create here.
Tell me a little about you and where we are right now…
We’re in my Bungalow studio, where I design, pattern-make, sew, cut, send orders — do everything in my clothing label! It’s pretty beautiful here on the farm, pretty remote. Lots of space and clean air. This is where everything happens from start to finish.
Tell us more about the space you share.
This space is where we live but also work. I do pattern making and sewing; Brad is a graphic and web designer, and Sammy does a whole bunch of things from restoration, to furniture making, to interior architecture. We’ve got our veggie patch as well as our work spaces — this is our little sanctuary!
Why did you choose to live up here?
Sammy and I were living in Sydney, and we wanted to get out of the hustle and bustle and have the sea change… Just that lifestyle change, to slow it down a bit, to have more time and space to pursue our creative endeavors, which has been really good.
You could have been in Byron Centre or Brunswick Heads or in town. How come you chose to be in the country?
It’s a pretty vast difference from Surry Hills to here. But I think when we were moving up, we thought, if we were to do it, we were going to do it right and go all out. We wanted the farm and the space. And we definitely lucked out with this house. We kind of blindly applied for it and got it. The photos were really crap online, and the only thing you could really see was a cow in the background. And I was like, “Alright, white wall, timber floors, cow in the background, this is looking pretty promising!”
Describe your ideal workplace in 3 words.
Lots of natural light.
You learned your craft in Sydney. Why did you decide to establish a fashion label in Byron Bay.
I was starting it when I still lived in Sydney, but I was working 3 jobs to pay for my rent. I just didn’t have enough time, and when I moved up here, I did this NEIS business program, which has been really helpful. I wanted to start with a clean slate and have a really wholesome environment to be doing it in.
What does a normal day look like for you?
It’s changing everyday. I definitely wake up with a coffee, some breakfast, check on the chickens, have a little wander outside… And then I get to work — whether it’s computer work or pattern making or cutting and sewing. I usually try to cook something throughout the day in the kitchen, utilizing the fact that I’m here. And then I try to either go to pilates or get to the beach later in the day, to sort of separate that home-slash-workspace.
Do you go out to Sydney a lot for your materials?
I do go back occasionally, but I can get things couriered here. There’s places in Brisbane and Melbourne and all over. But I do take advantage when I am in Sydney to go to the showrooms and actually see the fabrics in person. Otherwise, I only get sent little swatches, and you’ve got this tiny swatch and you don’t know what it will look like on a bigger scale. It’s kind of tricky.
What are the challenges of living here?
There’s a bit of a bubble, so it’s good to be able to get out of here and explore a bit more and see different places. It’s very insular, it’s so picturesque and you can get that “This is so amazing” — but it’s good to expand your world and get inspiration from elsewhere and not just the farm.
What are your plans for the next five years? To expand and have a team?
I guess it’s something I’m always thinking about — whether I want to take the step, and what size I want my business to be. Because I really love the making side of it. I don’t want to be running a business in that sense that I have all these other people making for me. Probably would be good to get a seamstress or someone to help here and there. But whilst I can handle it myself and live comfortably, I’m pretty happy with that.
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