The ultimate creative multihyphenate, Alice Veivers channels her love for Australiana into her highly coveted label, Alice Nightingale, splashing beloved cultural icons across a variety of custom, screen-printed and vintage fabrics.
photos KELLEY SHEENAN
Tell us a bit about your business and creative design process…
I’ve been designing, printing, cutting, knitting and sewing for my Brisbane-based label, Alice Nightingale, for 12 years now! Most of my fabric prints are Aussie inspired – whether they be flora, fauna or biscuit. Each of my pieces is made to last, using a mix of quality new and second-hand fabrics.
What’s your design background?
I wasn’t much of a printmaker when I finished my fashion studies in 2009, but over the years, a lot of my designs have come from being hands-on in my label and constantly trying new crafts. Being out in nature is always inspiring as well – a lot of my prints have come from trips camping in the bush or road trips through my home state of Queensland.
Each of my pieces is made to last, using a mix of quality new and second-hand fabrics.
Has sustainability and ethics always been part of your ethos?
My love of making definitely stems from an uneasy feeling about fast fashion. When I started my label, a lot of my ethical choices were made purely for my own happiness (small batches so I didn’t get bored, vintage fabrics to fawn over). But these decisions led me to really identify what I wanted to see change in design and fashion and work harder to make pieces that last.
What’s been your biggest learning curve?
Finding specific fabrics in Australia has always been a challenge. I split my design choices into three categories now: vintage fabrics that I know exactly what they’re going to be made into; second-hand fabric that needs to be hand-printed before it can be exciting; and original print designs for the things I’ve always wanted to make – this is where Spoonflower comes in!
You seem to work at the intersection of craft and fashion… Do you consider yourself a fashion designer or maker first?
A maker! I definitely identify more as a maker than a fashion designer. I studied fashion, but I’ve always felt far more comfortable and free in the design and craft community. I’ve loved sharing ideas between disciplines and making mates within a broader community where all ideas are good ideas!
Why did you decide to start holding social sewing workshops?
Sewing is such a popular skill to have, but a lot of people find the prospect of jumping into classes daunting. My idea with social sewing is that people can come and work on whatever they want to work on, whenever they have time. They can learn new skills, meet new people, make something they love and, mainly, not feel like they’ve just taken on a new degree.
My love for picking up new crafts often means I end up drawing animals in new mediums, replicating them on my laptop and turning them into repeat prints.
Tell us about your fun prints and illustrations!
I love designing prints! My love for picking up new crafts often means I end up drawing animals in new mediums, replicating them on my laptop and turning them into repeat prints to add to my Spoonflower library. The Australian prints keep coming –we have such a rich array of flora, fauna and silly cultural icons to choose from!
Where do you source your fabrics from?
At the moment I’m sourcing a big mix of vintage and second-hand through my lovely pal Kijaro, who finds me small batches of fabric that I mix in with my original prints. I design, cut and print all of my screen prints in-house using second-hand fabric and then I leave my more detailed prints for Spoonflower!
Why do you like working with Spoonflower?
I’ve been using Spoonflower since 2012; I absolutely love their quality! The detail is so crisp and their cottons are so easy to work with. Their design space is so easy to use too – you get a great idea of how your fabric is going to turn out and it’s easy to pick up on design errors before they go to print.
Where to from here?
I’m so excited to keep growing my classes in store, and I’m looking forward to adding some lovely new people to my team in the new year. Look out for more sweet Aussie animals and colour aplenty!