We chatted with Tracey Watkins, owner and designer of Brisbane fashion label, White Label Noba.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I had always struggled to find clothing, so at 47, I decided to change my life and make the clothing I had always wished I could find. It began at my kitchen bench. I truly believe that any woman can be stylish no matter their size, age or body type. However in the media all you see is women who are size 8 or 10. I wanted to cater to this niche in the market.
Who is the White Label Noba woman?
It’s hard to define the White Label Noba woman as I design for women with a certain attitude or lifestyle, rather than an age or size. What I can say though, is that each woman who wears White Label Noba truly makes it her own. Some make it look fabulously bohemian; others wear it simply and classically. It’s beyond inspiring to see.
Can you tell us about your design process?
As a small, boutique brand I am involved in all aspects of the design process. I believe it’s an innate thought process that is difficult to articulate, particularly as it varies between seasons. I do look at trends and follow global fashion happenings, but I don’t follow them. I will reinterpret them for the White Label Noba woman and make it wearable for her.
For a piece to make it into production I have to love it passionately. The winter collection that is coming I LOVE, it’s been fun to design.
You must be thrilled with the success of the brand.
The growth of White Label Noba has been totally organic. As a lifestyle brand we’re constantly inspired by the White Label woman and different aspects of her life. As we grow and get to know who our woman is we evolve to meet her needs, whether that be through growing our range or opening a new store.
Tell us about dressing Zara Phillips !
Dressing Zara was surreal experience, it almost feels like it didn’t happen. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to have this global exposure and that the experience was such a wonderful one. Zara is lovely, humble and obviously looks amazing in White Label Noba.
What are some of your favourite fabrics to work with?
I love to work with natural fabrics that feel beautiful on the skin and get better with age. Lots of soft linens, silks and buttery soft leather.
Where do you find the inspiration for your collections?
Inspiration comes from anything aesthetic. It may be a building, a texture, a photograph, a piece of art… Inspiration is everywhere.
Prints are always an integral part of each White Label Nob collection. As child of the 60s I grew up surrounded by iconic designers like Mary Quant; how they mixed prints is still inspiring to me.
Does travelling also inspire you?
I mean you can’t beat the Australian beaches, but on a more global scale, definitely New York. A friend once told me to always look up in New York – there’s a whole world happening in the buildings above and it is so true.
What defines your personal style?
Cool, relaxed and classic, with an unexpected twist.
You must be always asked for tips for success.
Yes ! My number one is: surround yourself with people who have skills better than your own. My number two is: a creative person needs a business advisor from the outset.
Who would you like to dress?
I’d love to dress Cate Blanchett, she’s flawless and my Australian favourite.
About White Label Noba
White Label Noba Hawthorne Store
2/121 Riding Road
Hawthorne, Qld 4170
07 3899 9095
White Label Noba Ascot Store
Shop 1, 146 Racecourse Rd Ascot (next to Bar150)⠀
Ascot, Qld 4007
07 3192 3699