Each month we celebrate an emerging Aussie designer. This month we chat with Tori-Anne Gill from Dark Thorn Clothing about her inspiration to create her moody and evocative line. Interview: Jacqui Miholos
What inspired you to begin designing?
I started Dark Thorn Clothing because I couldn’t really find the style of clothing that I wanted. I use to draw in high school in art class and began printing my designs on t-shirts and selling them on Etsy. I always wanted to start a label but I never thought that I could; being from the country, I didn’t really know a lot about fashion. I then branched off into designing skirts, shorts and tops, progressing Dark Thorn Clothing into more than just t-shirts. It was then that I thought “you know what? I’m going to do this”. My Rebirth Collection was a relaunch of the brand into what I wanted it to be with more designer pieces showing my creativity and expressing who I am and what I love.
Tell us about your influences?
I have a love for the Victorian and Edwardian eras and source a lot of my inspiration and influences from the clothing of these times. I watch a lot of periodic television shows including Reign, based on Mary Queen of Scots and Penny Dreadful, as the beautiful detailing, colours, designs and jewellery inspire me. I also have a lot of old text books; I don’t really look at modern culture for inspiration.
What makes your designs different?
The details, style, cuts and quality soft fabrics makes Dark Thorn Clothing unique. When you look at antiques you see all the beautiful ornate and detail carvings. This is what I am trying to portray through my designs along with beautiful luxurious fabrics. I feel like now when people see a piece of my clothing, they know it’s Dark Thorn.
We love that you pride yourself on remaining Aussie made! We’d love to hear more.
Because I live in country South Australia (my family are farmers) I know how important it is to stay Australian made and to support local businesses and jobs. It’s also beneficial for Dark Thorn Clothing as I can control quality to create timeless pieces. Being Australian Made means I can build trust with my suppliers and manufacturers because they’re so close to home.
Can we get a little sneak-peek into your next collection?
I’m still finalising it, but it’s going to be a bigger collection with more pieces. I’ve noticed a trend within my current collection that I’m drawing, there are lots of frills and ruffles, so that’s one of the main elements. My first collection ‘Rebirth’ was gold statement pieces, my second collection ‘New Moon’ was braided and lace trim; so I feel like my third collection is going to be based on frills and ruffles. I can’t wait to show everyone!
What are your plans for Dark Thorn?
I don’t really want to move from Australia, I want to stay in country South Australia. I feel like being online lets you do that. “It is the most peaceful experience working from a studio where you can look out the window and see fields of green in the winter and yellow in the summer, listen to the birds chirping and the trees blowing in the wind. I am a nature loving girl and I’m not sure how I would cope if one day I had to move my studio to the big smoke.”
I sell a lot of my clothing overseas so I really want to establish my label internationally. One of my goals is to have Dark Thorn Clothing stocked in one exclusive department store in the US and the UK and see what happens from there. I don’t want to be too big for my boots though, I still want to remain hands on and stay in the country. I don’t produce a lot of each style and I don’t want to exceed that no matter how big I get. I feel like this makes the customer feel special as my pieces have mystical glamour, secrecy and romance.