Nice Rack! Bonnie Hislop Invites You On the Ultimate Play Date

campaign photos MELANIE HINDS 

At the risk of stating the obvious, the clothes we wear matter. And not just in the sense of sartorial splendour and self-expression, but for those across the supply chain and beyond working towards a more sustainable fashion future. To celebrate these creatives putting people and planet first, we’ve introduced a digital series called Nice Rack! (…get it) so we can go behind the seams with some of our favourite sustainable brands, together.

Playful ceramicist, joyful dresser, workshop facilitator and all-round good human, Bonnie Hislop truly can do it all. The latest string in her bow is a 37-piece collaborative fashion range with ethical Fremantle label The ANJELMS Project called Ultimate Play Date.

Featuring original prints by Bonnie – her first foray into the world of fashion – along with a reimagining of a few ANJELMS staples, the range includes a healthy dose of patterns, neutrals, classic staples and Bonnie’s signature pink. Working with the colour was a first for ANJELMS founder Gaelle Beech who has long since maintained she’d never produce pink garments. “We really considered what both of our audiences would enjoy wearing, and made sure that there was something for everyone,” Gaelle shares.

The collection sees Bonnie designing for her own ultimate play date – something she describes as “a gathering with all our favourite people in a space where we can explore our creativity and push boundaries through all mediums of expression. Through creating we connect.” We caught up with her to learn more.

What does sustainable fashion mean to you? Has it always been something you’re interested in?

Sustainable fashion for me is being mindful when purchasing garments and being informed about where they have come from, who has made them and how. I try to support local and ethical or sustainable labels as much as possible, and if I buy a fast-fashion item, I opt for secondhand the majority of the time. It’s a balance to me. I love clothes and try to introduce pieces into my wardrobe that can be styled in several different ways.

READ MORE: Master Stroke: Ikuntji Artists Is Bringing Wearable Art to the World

How did this collaboration with The ANJELMS Project come about? Why were you drawn to them as a brand?

I actually spotted ANJELMS through Peppermint! I was drawn to the unique silhouettes, natural fabrics and their partnership with Pushkar social enterprise, The Stitching Project.

Sustainable fashion for me is being mindful when purchasing garments and being informed about where they have come from, who has made them and how.

What were the biggest learnings you took away from the process?

It’s been wonderful learning about the design and production process The Stitching Project uses (who manufacture all the clothing in Pushkar). It took a little while for me to get my head around drawing a print specifically for a wood block but it’s so exciting to see it come together!

How has your own style evolved over time?

There have been many phases in my art practice! I started out selling small illustrative ceramic pendants and art prints, then moved into playful functional ceramics. Along the way, I’ve slowly been working to increase the scale of the work. Now I feel like I’ve settled into a good rhythm of switching between utilitarian ware, small sculptures and large-scale conceptual works.

It’s silly and dramatic and glamorous and something I will keep forever.

What is the most meaningful item in your wardrobe?

I have an incredibly special gown that was made for me by Kiara Bulley of Bulley Bulley Label. The fabric is custom-printed with photos of my ceramics paired with images of horses. It’s silly and dramatic and glamorous and something I will keep forever.

What are your favourite pieces to wear?

I love colourful, comfortable clothing I can move and work in.

Who are a few of your favourite local designers?

I have so many friends doing really special things who I think are challenging the idea of what fashion can be – Bulley Bulley Label, Elleni the Label, Ivy Niu, Rachel Burke, Ukiyo, Kholo, ANJELMS are a few!

Where is your favourite place to shop?

I really love supporting local and lately, I’ve been buying most of my shoes second-hand from Depop.

READ MORE: Nice Rack! This Melbourne Label Is Everything We Love About Aussie Fashion

What do you think needs to change in the Australian fashion landscape?

I think there’s a sense of urgency and need to keep up with trends that only further perpetuates a throw-away mentality once garments are out of ‘style’. I think big change could come from people filling their wardrobe with special pieces they want to wear and reflect their personality and lifestyle rather than looking at what everyone else is wearing.