Thursday Sunday interview

The Meander gets acquainted with Iris Cuaresma and Mara Tonetti, the old friends behind Melbourne label Thursday Sunday.

— i.

— i.

— ii.

— ii.

— iii.

— iii.

— iv.

— iv.

— v.

— v.

— vi.

— vi.

— vii.

— vii.

i. SS 11
ii. AW 12
iii. AW 12
iv. AW 12
v. AW 12
vi. Natalie Smith X Thursday Sunday Sweater
vii. AW 12 knit

All photos © Thursday Sunday

How did you two meet? 

We met in Grade 4 in primary school (we went to a really small school), so we have known each other for 16 years! 

Are you both originally from Melbourne?

We both grew up in Melbourne but were born overseas – Iris in the Philippines and Mara in Italy.

Mara, you studied graphic design, and Iris, you studied commerce – what made you decide to start a fashion label? 

After finishing university, we were dreading the thought of being stuck in the nine-to-five grind. We were looking to do something more – something we were passionate about. Mara’s mum is a dressmaker and we had always loved fashion, finding ourselves being distracted by magazines, blogs and books.

Being mentored by a dressmaker and coming from completely different backgrounds really put things in perspective. We found that we made a pretty good team that was a combination of the creative, technical and business-minded, with a plethora of ideas and designs. Once we started, we couldn’t stop. We have gone from creating a few one-off pieces in-house to producing a collection available in store and online.

"We were dreading the thought of being stuck in the nine-to-five grind."

Tell us a little bit about your relationship with dressmaker Gabriella Tonetti?

Gabriella is Mara's mum and she's been working with us from the very beginning. As she is a dressmaker, she has a great eye for the more technical side of garment fit and production, which is great, so we are able to toile and sample in house. Our exclusive hand-knitted pieces are actually knitted by her. She is very talented and has provided us with a great appreciation of traditional techniques which create pieces that are unique and embody superior craftmanship. Each knit is unique – no two are ever the same. As Gabriella is a mum first and our mentor second, she is very practical and honest with us, which keeps us grounded. She is also a fantastic cook, so not only do we share our love for fashion but also delicious fresh food.

As your label has grown, has your philosophy of a sustainable and eco-friendly business remained the same?

We're learning every day. We're not claiming to be a fully eco brand but we feel the small things count, and using natural fibres and recycling is very important to us. Currently, our collection is not mass-produced, and in future we look to keep numbers to a minimum to not only retain a sense of exclusivity but also to minimise waste.

"... letting the beautiful fabrics and textures talk for the pieces – instead of intricate, complicated or busy designs."

What can you tell us about your autumn/winter 2012 line?

Thursday Sunday’s autumn/winter 2012 collection draws inspiration from the traditional origins of patchwork and also is influenced by the arts and crafts movement. In keeping with the Thursday Sunday aesthetic of classical sensibilities and minimalist lines, the collection embodies mostly wool blends, with angora viscose and alpaca in addition to silk and cotton hemp. Herringbone and Prince of Wales check prints are worked into the collection, with a more modern appeal, which is seen in the long open jacket, cropped low-waisted pants, asymmetrical skirt, four-piece skirt and tunic. Subtle colour blocking is worked in by means of simple patchwork, seen in the V-neck dresses, four-piece tunic and the hand-knitted jumpers.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Minimalist lines. An aesthetic that’s not driven by trends but creates trans-seasonal pieces which are made to last. Simplicity, classic pieces using natural fibres such as wool, bamboo, viscose, silk, cotton, linen and jute. Focused on the fabrics and how they work with the female body, and letting the beautiful fabrics and textures talk for the pieces – instead of intricate, complicated or busy designs.

Is it difficult sourcing materials locally? 

Yes, it can be difficult. We do source as much fabric as we can locally and all of our patternmaking, sampling and manufacturing is done in Australia. With a huge movement in the past few years towards sourcing fabrics and manufacturing overseas, we are aware of the decline in the support of local talent like manufacturers and patternmakers. We have built great relationships with the ones we currently have in Melbourne – it’s so beneficial that they are close by, so you are able to work closely together and share ideas and expertise. 

Although a challenge, it has been a great learning experience, which makes seeing each collection so rewarding. You can see all your passion and hard work in the clothes, which you can share with everyone else.

What's the most exciting thing you've worked on so far? 

We did a collaboration with the lovely fashion writer and blogger Natalie Smith of Magic Surrounds. Based in New Zealand, she used to be part of the blog So Much to Tell You with Zoe Walker.

Natalie first featured us in So Much To Tell You and we were drawn immediately to the blog, which featured all their favourite things along with really simple but beautiful images. We jumped at the chance to create an exclusive hand-knitted jumper designed by Natalie and were overwhelmed by the response after it was featured in her blog. She perfectly captured our knits, which she shot in her beautiful back yard.

thursdaysunday.com