I recently came across the wonderful designs of Leeanne Kennedy and immediately contacted her for an interview for Iced Vovo. Leeanne spoke to me about the background story to her fashion label Mindall & Bungall, balancing her busy workload and participating in the recent Deadly Dressed Awards.
Q: I heard that your fashion designing only really got going when you were making a dress for a friends wedding? Is that true or were you ‘playing’ around with dressmaking for yourself before that?
This is true, I have always done fashion whilst at school, but, never followed through with it, however, I have always enjoyed designing from the start of a vision through to the finished product.
Q: How long has the label been going and how did the name come about?
This label has been about since 2007. I named the label Mindall & Bungall which means beautiful & swift from my aboriginal traditional language. The name Mindall is named after my niece who passed away at a very young age from complications, and Bungall is named after my brother who passed away at 15 years of age, from a severe asthma attack Mindall was very beautiful in everything she was about and Bungall was very swift in everything he did.
Q: I know that your fashion is driven by your culture and the stories of your people – can you explain a little more about that?
My fashion is all bout me being inspired by my Aboriginal culture in textures, colours and lines, these are all from the stories of the land that are taught to me and or passed onto me from one generation to the next. I am from the far north coast of NSW, YAMBA NSW, however I am living in Sydney, but when I do get to go home I am inspired by the lands and then I get to create around this. An example would be the Clarence river, I would get the gorgeous colours and or silhouettes from the river, then adapt my designs in line with the story of the Clarence river, to draw in customers to the garment with the richness of the story and how it is portrayed within my garments.
Q: You try to integrate your culture into the making of the clothes not just in the fabrics, they are not just literal interpretations of the things that influence you – can you expand on how you achieve this?
Sometimes when you see fabric that represents the lands, with fine details which also put depth to the story and or creation, this is how I ensure that I am able to create my designs and stay true to my contemporary style, in saying this, I do love the richness of the literal designs on garments and they look very stunning. I hope to achieve this stage through out my designs, but again, ensuring that I stay true to the contemporary designs.
Q: I understand that you balance fashion designing with another job and raising a family – how do you manage to fit it all in? Do you assign certain hours of the day for designing and work (I realise you can’t really do that with the family! ;))
I have a gorgeous and supportive family, who are there to pick up on the small things that really matter and or take up the most time for me. I would not be able to have balance if I did not have a solid base of support to do it all.
I have been working in a government position for the past 12 years, and this is 9-5 daily. My priority is my family, so I always ensure that I can keep them very active as well as involved with the community in which are apart of, so this means sports training during the weekdays, and sports on the weekends, this helps to keep them grounded as well and not to take too much for granted.
My hours are very precious so I really do like to ensure that I plan to the best that I can with what I have, example would be that I finish work at 5pm, take kids to training, organise the house and duties for the next day. By then it is very late, however I manage to then give and hour or two hours to my fashion, when it comes to the weekend I can obviously put in more hours, without denying me and or my family some down time. This become a challenge especially when you are in a creative frame of mind, as the later hours can get very hard, due to the creativity at its peak, and you just don’t stop.
Q: What are your hopes for the label? Where do you see it in say five years time?
I would like to see my label to be a very viable and sustainable business, being able to source out to boutiques and or individuals, to be in demand would be fantastic. I am hoping to also get into the fashion industry and stay on top of the trends with all the competitors; this is a huge challenge. I would also like to see that every person loves to wear a Mindall & Bungall design and feel “ Beautiful & Swift”.
Q: You recently participated at the Deadly Awards in the Deadly Dressed competition – was this your first time and what was the experience like?
Yes I did, this is now my third year, the experience is great; it helps you understand why it is important to plan, as well as making a commitment. It is a great way to network and ensure that you are getting known within a wider community as well the national arena. I really like being able to showcase my designs, regardless of the fact that it is a competition, it is great exposure for Mindall & Bungall label. I also like to ensure that I am able to give back to community as well.
Q: What are you working on at the moment? Do you do seasonal pieces such as Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring?
I don’t have seasonal pieces at the moment, however, I will be working on a few bits and pieces for both summer and spring (currently) and I am also hoping to apply to be apart of the Australian Indigenous Fashion week in 2013 so I will be working on a full collection to contribute towards that.
Q: Where can people purchase your beautiful designs?
I do have a website that is currently getting reviewed, there is the Journey collection that was showcased at Fashion Exposed in Melbourne as well as Newcastle Fashion Week recently, however, it needs to be upgraded and new stock uploaded. People can still log onto the website and the contact details are available if anyone needs to email me.
Thanks so much for sharing the Mindall & Bungall story and we look forward to seeing more of your beautiful designs.