Quite frankly twinning is one of my favourite things… I love it when my son and I are “accidentally” dressed the same, and when I think about it I know exactly why it happens… It’s because I love to wear beautifully designed, high quality, Australian brands. And I love my son to have the same pleasure.
Award winning Australian brand, mother + joey have taken this phenomenon to the next level. As the first Australian label dedicated to creating matching outfits for families, these 2 mothers have redefined twinning with a beautifully Australian twist.
I had the pleasure of meeting Peta and Rowena of mother + joey recently and am delighted to share their story with you.
How did mother + joey come to be?
Two friends met as neighbours in the country village of Morpeth located in the Hunter Valley, Australia and started working on a little project…
With skills in dressmaking, a love for textiles, and a desire for clothes which were timeless, stylish and made to last – we decided to make what we couldn’t find for ourselves and own children.
As a result, mother + joey was created as the first Australian clothing label dedicated to creating matching outfits for families.
Our collections are designed and tested in our Hunter Valley workshop, then tailor made from hand-selected fabrics including soft linens, fine cottons and locally sourced leather.
Are there challenges running your own business in a small town?
Yes and no. We would like to think the good outweighs the bad though! Being here in a village like Morpeth with a population of 1,000 keeps things slow and peaceful. This sort of pace helps creativity thrive, although we have the services and businesses we need close by in Newcastle and Sydney.
All of our production happens between here in the Hunter Valley and Sydney, so we are constantly on the road visiting suppliers, picking up and delivering stock.
With an online store, it really is possible to operate anything from anywhere these days. It is very much an advantage.
Where did your love for quality, well made clothes come from?
It’s definitely what drew us to each other – we were always admiring each other’s clothing and what our kids were wearing. We would much prefer to buy something once, of value and good quality than have 10 things which fall apart and look terrible after one season.
Being able to pull out your favourite go-to every year (after year) is a must for labels like us who pride ourselves on longevity. We also wanted to create keepsakes for our children that were timeless in style, for both boys and girls.
What are your favourite Australian brands, and why?
- Without hesitation, R. M. Williams is our go to for inspiration. They keep reinventing themselves without losing their Australian roots. We style our clothing with their boots all the time. (Between us we own six pairs!).
- Akubra hats for stylish protection from the elements.
- Native Swinson is an amazing fabric designer in Sydney who specialises in Australian themes. We are currently working together with Director Kate Swinson to create a bespoke twinning set, made by us in her signature fabric. We can’t wait to share this project with you, watch this space!
- Hills & West based between Melbourne and Sydney are a favourite for making high quality leather lifestyle accessories. Their classic bags for transitioning to work and then play are a must for our style.
- Saddler & Co hand make the most amazing saddles and riding accessories. Our friends in the countryside can’t say enough about their craftsmanship
- Andie & Ollie are a gorgeous local brand also here in the Hunter Valley. Their wooden-crafted toys are perfect for decorating for children’s interiors.
What are you key design principals when you create your ranges?
We decided to focus on the most natural of fibres when choosing fabrics to work with, hence our Autumn / Winter range is mainly 100% linen and fine cotton. It feels amazing to wear, and is practical for busy mums. No ironing!
Our style is dictated by timeless designs – like the Peter Pan collar, and the classic cut for both mothers and children. Everything we design has to be comfortable yet versatile and durable.
We want our designs to stay in wardrobes for generations.
Our native floral binding is a gorgeous feature of every piece we make…It was drawn by a local botanical artist especially for us to keep our Australian ties visual.
Twinning has become such a phenomenon – I love your idea around this – would you mind to share?
We literally decided over the back fence one day to start making something together and twinning seemed to be the one thing un-touched in Australia. It’s big in Europe and the United States. We knew if we nailed the style as timeless and tasteful, it would gain interest here in Australia.
What does the future hold for mother + joey?
We would like to refine our business model, and focus on marketing, public relations, partnerships and collaborations – now that we have determined our product and processes in the domestic market. Next is to take our Australian brand global and create a reputation which opens doors and wins hearts.
Our business mother + joey is just one element of our purpose and intention. We are determined to slow down fast fashion, where it’s becoming more common to ask the question “who made my clothes?”
We are part of the Slow Fashion Revolution, the global movement creating a platform for designers and consumers to demand transparency. It’s the bigger picture driving us.
We hope our fashion label becomes recognised for its genuine roots and ethical principles. We hope to rule the world with ‘slow’ family fashion. As Vivienne Westwood said, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”
Living in the Hunter Valley, a region full of award winning vineyards, what is your favourite wine?
A Boydell’s Verdello is the best white wine for sure. Having said that we are spoiled for choice here!
Photo credit: Caitlin Schokker