Nickelby At Darnum

nickelby designs

Welcome 2019

shop newsAngela Betheras

Well 2018 was certainly a huge year for us here there is no denying that. Our clothing range Nickelby Designs took off and gained a great following around the world and it is leading to some very exciting events coming up in 2019. It however has made for some changes here at Nickelby At Darnum.

The most exciting thing is that we have joined forces with a couple of other artists to open a new shop in Yarragon. For those who don’t know, Yarragon is a gorgeous little tourist village located about 10 mins from us here in Darnum and has thousands of visitors every month coming to explore the quaint little village and all its delightful shops. Well the Campbell Street Emporium has joined the collection and in it you can find not only Nickelby Designs but other textile and jewellery delights. It is certainly worth a visit. We are easy to find, just turn right at the very famous lolly shop and we are opposite the supermarket. Too easy as they say!

These changes have complimented our new opening hours here at Darnum perfectly so now I am working out of two shops - we are nearly a conglomerate !!

It has also meant that changes have continued here at Darnum. I have made the decision to stop having the licenced café. I was finding it all a bit too difficult with everything I was doing and I was baking new cakes every week and giving them to the birds when no one turned up to enjoy them. Even when I knew it was going to be a quiet week due to the weather or school going back, I still had to be stocked up just in case someone came in. I actually don’t really like cooking so it was all getting a bit much and on top of all the govt fees one has to pay to have a café it was proving to be not financially viable. My time is far better spent creating the clothes that everyone wants to purchase and in reality I don’t have time to bake cakes anymore! I do know there will be many however who will miss the very famous apple and walnut cake, including me.

As I am writing this I am looking out onto the “shop paddock” where the girls are sitting under trees and I cannot see a blade of green grass anywhere. We are down to the last 20cm of water in the tank and that is for the alpacas to drink and there is a smoke haze over the property from fires further in the hills. Summer can be a fun time to be with friends but it can also be a very scary time and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the rain promised for this week comes and doesn’t disappear before it arrives but that it comes without the fork lightening which can start the fires.

Despite the heat we push on and we hope to see you at one of our stores in the not too distant future when the weather cools down and keep an eye on our events page as we will be planning more events possibly teaming up with people who do like to cook and make wine and having some specially fun days here at Nickelby At Darnum.

Hope everyone has a wonderful 2019 and that all our dreams come true. xx

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Nickelby Designs hits the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018

shop newsAngela BetherasComment

Last June I happened to stumble across a website about a new style of fashion show which happened for the first time in Fremantle, Western Australia in November 2017. It sparked my interest as it was an Eco Fashion event. I had stumbled across a fashion show which celebrated designers who cared about their environment and created their designs with total respect for our world and the impact we all have with how we live.

Fashion is one of the top four world polluters and I have spent my entire corporate career working for fashion companies, running their international supply chains so I was impacting the world in such a huge way.

My label; Nickelby Designs is an eco friendly label. After all, the alpacas live on the farm, I send their fleece after shearing less than 100km to be processed into yarn, I dye and weave the fabric I then sew into garments, all in my studio on the farm. If ever I was going to hit the runway it made total sense that I do so at an Eco Fashion event.

I decided I would enquire with the hope that perhaps I could participate in 2019 as I was sure I wasn’t ready for November 2018. So I filled in the enquiry form and within about twenty minutes I received a phone call from a very passionate woman named Zuhal. Zuhal is the founder of the event, a veterinary, fashion designer and also a breeder of alpacas! She was very excited that she had found another designer who made garments from alpaca and wanted to know all about my processes. We got along like a house of fire and I was so excited that I met all the very stringent requirements to be a part of Eco Fashion Week Australia. You see to be part of it you not only have to design in your country of origin, all manufacturing has to also occur in your country of origin. So 100% Australian in all criteria is the requirement or if you are international then 100% (n) country. Many apply but designed in Australia, made in China just doesn’t cut it.

So off I set to raise the funds to pay the fees, organise the airfares and the accommodation and get ready for not only a week in Fremantle in November but also a week in Port Douglas, (perfect spot to hold an eco event when we consider the plight of the reef). Oh and also design and make 12-16 outfits for the runway.

So from July - October, I sat at my SAORI loom nearly every day weaving cloth ready to then sit at the sewing machine to create the garments. I managed to finish 12 and then various tops, scarves and hats for the designer studio which was also part of the event.

The time came to leave and to set the farm and shop up so my mum could manage it for the weeks away and off I” flew to Port Douglas.

I was so excited to be finally doing something I had dreamt of doing since I had decided that I wanted to be in the fashion industry over 35 years ago and I was so proud that I was embarking on this journey adopting sustainable practices. Nickelby Designs was finally reaching out to the world. My byline that I use when I am dreaming was one step closer. “Nickelby Designs; made in Gippsland, sold to the world”

As I write this my final show was on two nights ago at Freemantle, the reception from the crowd was fantastic, the bloggers have loved my work, magazines have made lovely online comments, there are photos galore and I was so proud of what I had managed to achieve. From the start of my career where I worked in the marketing department of Country Road organising fashion shows, here I was 30 odd years later participating in my own. What a circle! What a buzz!

There are a couple more shows to go and tonight I will be in the audience supporting more wonderful designers.

I am sure I will do much reflecting over the next couple of months of this incredible ride, I will work out how to showcase the wonderful photographs that have been taken, I will post some of the pieces in the online shop, but I think the best thing that I will take from this entire experience is the wonderful people I have met. Not only have all the designers been so supportive of each other and making sure we give the loudest applause for each other at the end of each show, but the organisers; Zuhal, Carl, Regina etc., the wonderful young models, their mums, the volunteers, the make up artists, the hair stylists, the media and the list goes on.

I have been involved as I have said in the fashion industry for most of my working life and the family feeling that is here at this event is unique. I have felt as though we have all been wrapped up in a warm blanket as we all look to 2019 to keep designing, keep dreaming but most importantly we keep working on doing out bit to save our planet.

Now to start designing for 2019

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Summer is here so we can't wear alpaca, right?

Angela BetherasComment

Wrong! Yes here in Australia we are finally entering the t-shirt wearing time.  Most would say down here in Victoria it has taken its time in coming but that doesn't mean your alpaca needs to be bagged up and packed away.

why? Alpaca is not technically a wool, it is a hair.  It is a hollow fibre which allows it to breath with your body so it is one of those rare fibres where we can say that it keeps you lovely and warm in Winter and cool in Summer.  If that wasn't the case you would see alpacas panting in the paddock like you do sheep in the heat.  The lightness of the alpaca means they can handle the heat and indeed many of them love to sunbake.  You will often see them stretched out in the paddock exposing their tummies to the sun to soak up all the rays.  Oh what a life.  Don't we all wish we could do just that and then at dinner time some human comes along and feeds you your dinner, just the way you like it.

To make alpaca even more versatile we mix it with cotton as well in our own range and of course we only use Australian cotton which is known in the cotton industry to be the best in the world so we would have nothing less to go with our beautiful alpacas.

So don't completely tuck your alpaca away to the bottom draw during Summer.  Granted you probably won't want to wear it when the temp hits the mid 30's but if you have a choice between alpaca and a manmade fibre such as polyester, then please, for the sake of your skin and body, put on the alpaca.

Here is a picture of Judy and Saori enjoying the beautiful sunny day

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