What can we say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said? It’s a year that will no doubt stay with us long after it ends. But out of the darkness comes light and with it a gorgeous new sustainable label from designers Geraldine Nortje and Kate Kozak of Seaside Tones. Pairing bold prints with natural materials, we caught up with Kate and Geraldine, the founders and creative force behind 2020.Design, to hear more about their new beautiful and sustainable artisan fashion label and the passion behind it.
What inspired you to start the label?
We met last year at a design market in Sydney and it was a perfect meeting of talent and timing. Over a few months it was clear that together we could achieve a brand that we were proud of. One that was sustainable, inclusive, fun, inspirational and reflected our audience’s needs.
We share the same values and our skills complement one another. (Geraldine handles the design and manufacturing, and Kate is responsible for the branding and business side.) Because we’re just beginning, we do everything together to learn from each other. You need to know your business from start to finish.
LEFT TO RIGHT: KATE KOZAK, GERALDINE NORTJE.
Why the name 2020.Design?
It is 2020: the year of change! There is no way back. As designers and founders we have a responsibility and opportunity to make wise choices – often not the most affordable but ones that are kind to the planet and the makers. Because of COVID-19 our makers rely on us at the moment, needing not only financial but also mental support. The label name reflects our experience and our hope for a more sustainable future in fashion.
Tell us about your design process from inspiration to creation?
Our style is a combination of culture and skills with distinct influences from Africa, Australia and Bali. The design work is carried out in Kiama and Sydney, where we live and operate the business. The manufacturing process always begins with the textile business in Bali, using traditional block printing and various hand-dyeing techniques, creating unique pieces exclusively for us. All our garments are manufactured by a small production family business. Geraldine has cultivated this relationship since 2015, working closely with our production house and third generation artisans and tailors.
We personally know the makers who share our ethical values and practices. We use only natural materials like bamboo buttons and pure linen grown and woven in West Java. We don’t use plastic in the shipping process. Above all we concentrate on infecting others with enthusiasm – it is possible to be sustainable and sexy at the same time…
Any tips for people starting a label?
1. Be clear on your vision for your brand, find your production team, establish a personal relationship with your manufacturers, visit and connect with the people you are working with.
2. Know and understand the process from start to finish.
3. Love what you’re going to create.
4. Celebrate the wins!
What’s been your happy place to go to during these trying times?
The excitement of building a new label; keeping our design dreams alive; helping our manufacturers and artisans stay in business; and knowing we have helped turn a difficult time into a positive experience as much as we possibly could. It’s been incredibly rewarding. We really hope that 2020 will set a precedent for the years to follow.