Designer Jillian Boustred on slow fashion, timeless design and dressing for comfort
Meet Jillian Boustred, the namesake of her sustainable fashion label based in Chippendale, Sydney. At the core of Jillian Boustred's label are wardrobe staples with a focus on classic and comfortable styles. All prints are designed in-house, bringing together a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques. Here we explore Jillian's affinity for working with colours and textures, devotion to minimising waste and dressing for comfort in low maintenance outfits.
What is the inspiration behind your brand?
The brand has evolved so much over the last 5 years so it’s almost hard to define the inspiration. When I started out in 2015 it had quite an artistic focus, I was doing a lot of my own prints using painting and drawing techniques, which I would then digitise and turn into prints. As the brand evolved I found people were gravitating more towards the basic staples within collections, so I began to focus more on silhouettes and developing timeless styles that were flattering, comfortable and a great fit.
Describe your creative process.
My creative process usually starts with mood boarding and sketching shapes and styles. This usually coincides with fabric sourcing and considering what colours and textures will work together. Once I have a few styles I am set on we usually start mocking them up and bringing them to life to see if the shape is working in terms of fit and proportion. It’s always a lengthy process to get a style perfect, but fit is a priority of mine so we spend a lot of time on this.
How do you incorporate sustainable practices in your work?
We focus on striving to use majority natural fibres, minimising waste and minimising the use of plastic. Being locally made we are able to make small quantities and recut styles if the demand is there, this means we don’t have a lot of excess stock which can often turn into waste. I also like to focus on creating styles that are classic and timeless so they can be worn over and over and aren’t thrown away after one season. Minimising the use of plastic is also a priority; all garments are shipped in biodegradable satchels. This is another plus of being locally made, as our garments don’t arrive individually wrapped in plastic, we pick them all up from our makers in Sydney in reusable garment bags.
What is your favourite piece from the Jillian Boustred Public Figure edit?
I love the flora dress in check. I think its such a fun statement piece but also comfortable and easy to wear. The fabric also comes from a beautiful Italian Mill that prioritises sustainability production throughout their factory.
What is an item of clothing you couldn’t live without?
I have been living in the JB knitwear all winter so I probably couldn’t live without the Stacey jumper in black, I usually layer it over the Spencer dress in green when I’m feeling the COVID kg’s and just want to be comfy!
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is very relaxed and low maintenance. I live in sneakers and pieces that are comfortable; I do wear quite a lot of black especially in winter. In summer I am very much a “dress” girl. I’ll usually wear a long linen number with Birkenstocks or sneakers.
What change do you want to see in our industry?
I would love to see fashion slow down a little bit, the seasons move so quickly and there is a lot of pressure on labels for “newness”. It’s expensive for brands to constantly be sampling styles and creating new designs, it can also be wasteful and encourages society to focus on “new” styles rather then “classic” styles. I have been selling some of my styles for three years and people still purchase them every season, this is such a great sign to me of a style that is classic and has longevity. I think it would be great to see this celebrated a bit more and encouraged.
What is the future for your brand?
I would love to get more into some organic fabric, mainly organic cotton. I do always try and source fibres that are sustainable or have sustainable properties however it can be difficult to find them – especially in Aus. where we are a bit limited for choice. I am hoping that as the demand increases we may see more fabric suppliers and mills producing these fabrics.
Aside from this I will continue to focus on small runs, classic pieces and hope to continue to grow the label nationally and internationally as people start to value local production more.