Youth is no boundary for burgeoning Sydney-born label m a c g r a w, which has begun to dominate the fashion world on an International scale. Since launching their eponymous label in only 2012, “new guard” designers Beth and Tessa MacGraw, have gained features in prominent publications including Harper’s BAZAAR US and Vogue Australia. What’s more, 2015 has already seen a milestone year for the savvy sisters after participating in the Festival’s prestigious Tiffany & Co National Designer Award, supported by Harper’s BAZAAR and being picked up by 3 retailers aboard, Avenue 32 UK, Otte NYC and US based global e-tailer, Moda Operandi. This week, we were lucky that both Beth and Tessa could share with us more about their journey, individual talents, and details of their upcoming Spring/Summer collection.
In addition to showing on Premium Runway 7 presented by Instyle at VAMFF this year, m a c g r a w was admirably selected as one of the top five finalists in the Tiffany & Co. National Designer Award, supported by Harper’s BAZAAR. What was it like to have your label acknowledged by such an esteemed event?
Beth MacGraw: Being a finalist in the Tiffany & Co. National Designer Award was definitely one of our career highlights. The whole process was an incredible experience for us, the exposure and association our brand received was invaluable and we also found it encouraged us to look at our business as a whole with an editing eye.
You two have been working alongside one another for over 3 years now. How long ago did you start collaborating creatively and what inspired you to venture into business together?
Tess MacGraw: Having a label together was always the plan…we talked about it quite a lot growing up. I guess you could say Barbie always looked pretty original.
Beth MacGraw: We got serious about things once we moved to NYC in 2010. We had left our fashion/PR jobs and soaked up the city for a year while putting together our master plan, we flew back and registered the business the following day.
Although you have similar career aspirations, do your individual design aesthetics and creative skill sets differ at all?
B: We do have different back grounds, I was in PR for years and Tess went to design school and has a background in retail/buying so we find those skill sets really complement each other. Tess is definitely the sketcher and I am more conceptual.
T: In terms of design aesthetic we are pretty much on the same page….it probably wouldn’t work for us otherwise as being sisters we can be vocal! We tend to gravitate toward the same fabric and if both of us don’t love it…it doesn’t make the cut.
So what’s next for m a c g r a w? Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming Spring Summer 15/16 Collection?
B: For our Spring/Summer collection, ‘Shepherdess’ we wanted to create a modern day shepherd girl with a m a c g r a w sensibility. Imagine a Frenchy cool girl running through the fields and you’re on our page. Our girl loves easy to wear pieces in beautiful fabrics and we have sourced some really special laces and embroidery this season. We have also created 2 custom in-house prints drawn by Tess.
T: At our Spring/Summer show in April we took the audience into our world complete with plush pink carpet, messy ponytails and smiling models with fresh, dewy faces. We also designed our first shoe this season…The Shepherd Girl T-Bar will be available for purchase with our first drop.
There often seems as though there is some sort of fashion divide between Sydney siders and Melburnians. Being Sydney-born and based yourselves, do you see any distinct differences in the style of our two cities?
B: I guess if you break it down quite simply they are 2 very different cities…they have a different feel and climate so it’s not surprising the fashion would reflect this.
T: We are from Sydney and love Melbourne…no divide here!
And finally, when you can grasp a moment of personal time, what do you enjoy getting up to?
B: Travel is very much part of our lives.
T: We are really close with our family so family-time is always on the top of our list.
m a c g r a w’s Spring/Summer Collection, ‘Shepherdess’, will drop in September 2015. For more information, visit m a c g r a w’s website here.