A sneak peek into unfurling fashion!

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The Gently Unfurling Sneak is the intriguing fashion label of designer Anika Cook based in Melbourne, Australia.

As always Iced Vovo is on the search for all things sweet and unique and we just had to find out more about the label and the lady!

Q: I read where you started the business after completing your Creative Arts Degree as you found the degree “rendered you completely unqualified for actual jobs.” Firstly, did you study fashion design as part of that degree and what do you think makes it so hard to get a job for Arts Graduates?

A: No, I did a course called Creative Arts at Melbourne Uni which doesn’t exist anymore, and I did a lot of film making and collage and photography and writing. It encouraged us to explore a range of media rather than having to pick painting or writing or theatre studies as a poor clueless 19-year-old. I think it’s hard to get an arts job because what you study in courses like that is not really vocational. It’s not focused on getting you a job and I don’t think it should be either. It’s just that once you finish you take a breath, look around and think… so what do I do now?

Q: What advice would you give to other Creative Arts Graduates about to try and embark on employment?

A: Just take a bit of time to think about what kind of creative life you want – are you solely into making and do you need to carve out an exhibiting/commission career, or do you love the arts community and feel like you could be very happy working in arts administration, or do you want to be a curator… and so on. And then once you’ve worked that out just go to things, volunteer and talk to people. Not in a selling-yourself kind of way, but get to know your community and how it works and there’ll be a place for you. (You’ll probably have to work a crappy job or two in the meantime.)

Q: Your label isn’t just clothing but accessories, cards, stickers and art works too – is that your degree coming into play?

A: Yes I would say so. At the heart of all my products is the illustration, and I’ve built up an aesthetic from years of messing around with collage and drawing. I usually start with an illustration and then once it’s about a quarter done, think about whether it’d work best on clothing or as a print or what. At uni I never thought my collages were very good until a lecturer saw one and said ‘you know this is great, right?’ I didn’t know and I just kind of gaped at her. And then made a whole bunch more!

Q: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

A: This is so tricky! I’m inspired by vintage surrealism, wonderful oddities and the adventures of mysterious creatures, so that forms my aesthetic really. On a more technical level I love delicate black lines and detail, swirly patterns and I can’t stay away from clouds and giraffes.

Q: What is the philosophy for the label and the products?

A: I think I really like the idea of strange things in everyday places. Strange things that make you want to look closer, and don’t have ready explanations. Some of my customers seem uncomfortable when they don’t understand an illustration (they say but what DOES IT MEAN?) but I love that and try to encourage them to love it too. On a more practical level I’m very vocal about ethical production, safe workplaces and paying people appropriately. There’s no reason why all fashion workers around the world can’t be paid properly. It just means we have to pay decent prices for our clothing in the west, which quite frankly I think is worth it. I make everything in Melbourne but even so I often hear stories of people being horribly exploited.

Q: What is the story behind the name?

A: Well Sneak is a bit of a nickname, and when I started the business it was called Sneak Design. After a while I decided this was too boring and didn’t really match the designs I was making, so I sat down with a lot of coffee and a notebook and crafted a new name. People either like it or they think it’s a bit frivolous. I still love it.

Q: What do you most like to make/design and why?

A: It varies but I probably like making prints for the clothing best of all. And of course they’re the least profitable! I love combining a flat print with three-dimensional clothing, it’s more challenging and so lovely when you get it right. Avoiding circular designs in the boob area was something I learned early.

Q: What is the most popular item you sell?

A: In 2013 it was the Boating silk top http://thegentlyunfurlingsneak.com/shop/tops/boating-silk-top of which I only have a handful left. People just love the giraffe in a boat, and I think the colours worked really well. And no circles over the boobs either.

Q: What new products/ideas have you got lined up for the label / new ventures that you can tell us about?

A: I’m getting my winter range into production now which I’m pretty excited about. There’s a great button-up shirt which has worked out really well and I just want to wear it! Aside from that I’ll have some new prints soon, and other things just tend to appear from time to time. I’m half really organised and half pretty off the cuff. Something that’s in the someday-maybe pile is having a gallery show… when I have some time!

Q: Are you aiming your label at a particular market and if so, who do you see the GUS client to be?

A: This is a common question and I always struggle with it. Basically I’m aiming it at people like me – whenever I try to design for a particular audience or to second-guess my customer, the designs aren’t as good. I have to like it or it doesn’t go out. Having said that I think I do have a broad audience, and I try to keep the clothing simple and roomy so more people can fit into it and love it.

Q: What is your most treasured piece of clothing/accessory – either your own or not – and what do you love about it?

A: I think it’s probably this lovely cosy beanie that I have. It’s white and knitted and kinda fat and lumpy, and whenever I put it on I have a good day (weather permitting, it’s not really a summer item I guess!) I got it from Craft Victoria a few years ago and I wear it maybe every third day in winter. It’s travelled everywhere with me.

To find out more about Anika and The Gently Unfurling Sneak toodle along to her website and take a peek at all the other wonderfully wild prints and designs that adorn her goodies.

Burnished dress
Burnished Dress

Rainbow Split Dress
Rainbow Split Dress

Cityscape Dress - back view
Cityscape Dress – back view

Boating Silk Top
Boating Silk Top

Close-up of boating print
Close-up of boating print

Wave wide top in aqua
Wave wide top in aqua

Between the stars - Limited edition long silk scarves
Between the stars – Limited edition long silk scarves

Between the stars
Between the stars

Wave earring
Wave Earring

Star cufflinks
Star Cufflinks

Feathers Pendant
Feathers Pendant

Mrs Rainbow brooch
Mrs Rainbow Brooch

Flippy novelty cards
Flippy novelty cards

Fun sticker cards
Fun sticker cards

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