Living colours inspire Wilmington fashion designer

From hues of toffee, brown and gold that add a softness to the harsh dry of the Flinders Ranges to the brilliant blues of the Spencer Gulf, designer Nikki Atkinson creates with inspiration from her ‘backyard’.

From the family property in the Flinders Ranges and nearby Wilmington to Port Augusta, where she has opened a boutique selling her own Liv Sienne designs and fashion from other Australian designers, Nikki says it is easy to see beauty in even the harshest conditions.

“My inspiration comes currently from the drought conditions and the colours, I draw so much from the environment around me,” she says.

Nikki first launched into design and production after studying at Marleston TAFE, going on to co-own the successful Betrothed bridal boutique in Adelaide at just 26-years-old.

One of Nikki Atkinson’s Liv Sienne bridal creations.

After eight years, love lured Nikki back to the country, when she married husband Dallas and moved to Wilmington in the Mid North. She continued made-to-measure couture and design from home for a number of years with her young children often playing at her feet while she sewed.

As a farmer’s wife and mother of three, Nikki says her passion for the fashion and design industry was bubbling away under the surface and in 2013 she decided to launch her Liv Sienne label and eventually a store in nearby Port Augusta.

It has not been easy, but Nikki has been determined to make it work and share her passion for design and creating, forever fortunate for what her ‘home’ brings to her work.

Liv Sienne designer and creator Nikki Atkinson at home on her family’s Flinders Ranges property.

“The farm is my zen place – to go home at night and see the wildlife and hear the kookaburras really is very special, although I don’t slow down nearly enough to appreciate it at times,” she says.

“Life is busy, but I really needed some of me back. Designing and fashion is ‘me’ and so we make it work.

“When we’re shearing or crutching on the property, I have meals to prep before the kids go off to school, and it’s crazy and it’s busy but we make it work.”

As a woolgrower and also a farmer’s daughter who grew up on a grain, cattle and sheep farm at Buckleboo on Eyre Peninsula, wool and natural fibres have been an obvious choice for Nikki, who is fiercely supportive of Australian-made products.

“I’m very passionate about wool – it’s such an easy fibre to work with,” she says. “It is amazing, it’s pliable, you can do anything with it. It’s a long way from the scratchy, itchy fibre people associated with wool before we really discovered the beauty and versatility of fine wool.

One of Nikki Atkinson’s Liv Sienne designs, photographed in the Flinders Ranges by Meridee Groves Photography.

“I probably shouldn’t be so emotionally attached to Australian-made – it is more expensive to create and produce in Australia – but if we don’t, we lose the skills of being able to use a sewing machine, thread a needle and pattern making, and I’m passionate about keeping those skills.”

Nikki’s return to the fashion industry has been well-supported, her designs popping up at country race meets, weddings, formals and even as far as New York where she was asked to design the “perfect dress” for DeVoe magazine’s Full Figured Fashion Week.

Having concentrated the last 12 months on developing the Liv Sienne brand and storefront in Port Augusta, Nikki is now ready to launch back into her real passion for design.

“This is going to be a big year, I’m really excited for what lies ahead,” she adds.

Feature image by Meridee Groves Photography.

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Sustainable hemp at the heart of Good Studios

Ethical fashion designer Anny Duff is championing the use of hemp fabrics to create her contemporary clothing designs with minimal environmental impact.

Her South Australian-based ethical and sustainable fashion label Good Studios features clothing and homewares made from luxurious hemp linens and hemp organic cotton blends woven in Adelaide’s sister city of Qingdao, China.

Industrial hemp is still a fledgling industry in SA, with a number of growing trials rolling out in the Riverland and South East.

Anny, Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador, is passionate about hemp linen as a sustainable fabric, which she uses to create simple and minimalistic pieces, with colour palettes of blues, greys, naturals, blacks, earthy oranges and khaki greens.

Hemp linen is made from the largely misunderstood hemp plant, which aside from the clothing industry can also be used in the manufacturing of some health foods, skin care, construction materials, paper and biofuel.

Anny is quick to point out the differences between the hemp plant and its infamous cousin, marijuana. While it’s a variety of the cannabis sativa species, the chemical compounds of hemp are different to marijuana as hemp contains little to no levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC.

I Choose SA ambassador Anny Duff is behind sustainable fashion label Good Studios. Photo by JKTP.

“I could spend hours talking about the vast differences between marijuana and hemp, they are completely different plants, just of a similar species. If you were to smoke a field of hemp you’d just get a headache,” she says.

“It was only recently that SA changed legislation that allows farmers to apply for licenses to grow industrial hemp. But we still have a long way to go.”

Anny works hard to ensure as much of her supply chain as possible follows sustainable paths.

“We have really tried to find companies who are doing really incredible things and we showcase their fabrics as much as possible with really simplistic designs,” says Anny, who has showcased her pieces from creative workshop, retail and gallery space Ensemble Studio since 2016.

“One of our suppliers is an incredible organisation and is the first Chinese company to be fair wear certified. We work with them to get their surplus and deadstock if we can, so we try to not make too much from scratch.”

Once Anny has sourced the fabric, it is dyed by Oeko-Tex Certified dyes before all design and manufacturing is done in Adelaide.

Some of Good Studios pieces are made from Australian wool, while the label’s line of swimwear is made from up-cycled nylon from salvaged fishing nets.

Good Studios also has a homewares line with bedding made from 100% hemp linen, known for its durability, antibacterial properties and for being naturally thermoregulating. The bedding is made to order with the help of Anny’s mother, a talented seamstress.

Anny says having a sustainable supply chain is sometimes a challenge due to cost and logistics, but she “couldn’t do it any other way”.

“There are moments you have to compromise but my mantra is to try and not compromise as much as possible,” she says.

“There are things you could just turn a blind eye towards but at the end of the day why should some people have less of a livelihood than you just because of the way things are? “Things need to change and need to be transparent.”

Anny founded Good Studios in 2012 after working in the film industry but longing to get back to the roots of her upbringing.

She grew up on an organic farm at Wistow in the Adelaide Hills and attended Mt Barker Waldorf School, a Steiner school offering an education rich in creativity and dynamic learning.

Ensemble Studios has a small retail space showcasing wares made by fellow SA makers, as well as a few selected pieces from sustainable makers across the country.

After completing Year 12 she got an apprenticeship in the film industry as a camera assistant before moving into art direction and production design. She worked on local feature film One Eyed Girl as production designer and set out to find simple, minimalistic, op-shop-style outfits for the cast.

“That sort of aesthetic of really paring back design to the bare minimum was really enjoyable for me and was definitely the first seeds of Good Studios,” Anny says.

“It (fashion design) started as something on the side in-between film projects but then it took on a life of its own and I was hanging onto the proverbial coattails.

“I had no background in pattern making or sewing, I have done a pattern making course since, but it’s been a baptism of fire making sure I work with the right people to deliver my vision.”

Filmmaking still takes up some of Anny’s time. In August she travelled to China to document Good Studios’ supply chain beginning in the hemp fields, and hopes to release a film in the near future.

Aside from Good Studios, Ensemble Studios is also home to two other resident designers, Beccy Bromilow of BB Shoemaker and plant stylist Emma Sadie Thomson.

“That’s probably the best thing that has happened from starting my label, meeting an incredible group of people,” Anny says.

“Consumers are placing a lot more value on the handmade and it’s such a human thing to make. To be able to do it for a living is really special.”

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Robyn Wood crafting bespoke furniture pieces from Adelaide

Despite still being on the road travelling home from three long days at The Big Design Market in Melbourne, furniture maker Robyn Wood is keen to talk about her passion for the South Australian industry.

The talented designer runs her own studio from The Mill creative studios in Adelaide and is firmly behind the state’s craft and making industry growing its presence on the national stage.

“We have such an amazing culture for the arts, the next step is getting people to embrace the designers and makers, the artisans along with that, to somehow connect the dots,” says Robyn, Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador.

“I’m really keen to see the craft and making industry becoming like the food side of things, the wine, food and cheese in SA that is so well known.”

It’s been four years since the aptly named Robyn Wood – she married into the name, “how is that for serendipity?” – set up her own design studio at The Mill in Adelaide’s CBD.

After working as an interior architect for 20 years, her interest in furniture making was particularly stirred during a seven-year stint with joinery firm IJF.

Furniture designer and I Choose SA ambassador Robyn Wood at Neigbour Workshop. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

Robyn remembers a moment working with IJF after the Adelaide company won a three-year contract to fit out Federal Government embassies around the world.

“It was in Paris, 1995, 15th arrondissement. I was overseeing moving furniture out of an Embassy apartment complex as part of an interior fit out,” she says. “But this wasn’t just any furniture – it was mid-20th century. Timeless, elegant, iconic, built to last. It was beautiful.”

The experience stirred a growing appreciation for beautiful furniture, and in 2014, Robyn opened her own studio.

She now makes furniture and bespoke objects for architects, galleries and “lovers of good design” throughout Australia, selling at galleries, online, at two markets – The Big Design Market and Bowerbird – and on commission.

Her very first piece made for small production is a favourite, a hand turned timber base Bud Lamp. It drew committed fans among the 70,000 people streaming through The Big Design Market held in the Carlton Royal Exhibition Building last weekend.

“Some of those people at the market saw me there four years ago and they bought my lamp and they came in just to say hello and thanks for the lamp,” Robyn says. “I can still remember their faces from when it was sold, I have some bizarre connection with it.”

There’s also a Reflect desk, vases, candle holders, along with a glass topped coffee table she’s recently finished. Most are made from wood and Robyn has a particular soft spot for sycamore maple and “walnut is lovely to work with too”.

There are other pieces made with glass and steel, with Robyn committed to ensuring each is made from sustainable, renewable materials.

“My design philosophy can be summed up in three words: warmth, simplicity and connection,” she says.

Her plan is to scale back selling smaller pieces with the focus turning to one-off larger designs “to show what I can do” through exhibitions, high-end galleries and stores.

It’s a carefully considered decision in a local industry where artists and designers are working to raise their profile and build stronger business models.

Robyn is a member of craft and design industry group Guildhouse and features on the organisation’s Well Made website, also regularly attending its professional development programs to hone her skills.

She believes there are enormous opportunities to develop a more vibrant local industry.

“I think there’s growing confidence coming through from artist and designers,” Robyn says.

Her career has been marked by the local scene’s strength in collaboration. Robyn regularly works with other makers like Tony Neighbour from Neighbour’s Workshop in Kensington.

“Adelaide is still small scale, its designers and makers are a tight community and I have access to all of that, there’s a lot of old school skills that are still around and I’ve a lot of people mentoring me,” she says.

“The collaboration and skill sets in SA are wonderful, we have so many great makers here.

“Guys like Tony, they don’t get the press and they don’t look for it, but he would be one of the preeminent production makers in SA – if you speak to (acclaimed furniture designer) Khai Liew and others in the know, Tony would be a guy they would all work with.”

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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MJP Studio a showcase of quality craftsmanship in our city

Crafting timeless pieces that are made to last is at the core of South Australian furniture designer Matt Pearson’s studio in Adelaide’s north eastern suburbs.

The craftsman is behind MJP Studio, maker of handmade and one-off designs that are manufactured from high quality materials with precision and passion.

Matt has an eye for refined style and a drive to make use of SA’s local supplier base wherever he can, and says Adelaide’s strong support networks allow the small but strong craft and furniture industry to flourish.

Matt Pearson in action at the Hendon-based MJP Studio. Photo by Lewis and Wilson Photography.

“The thing about Adelaide is that people support each other, they support good design and culture, they give back, and that instils confidence in me and my business,” he says.

“Supporting local is incredibly important and it’s something I’m doing in my business as well, I use local suppliers as much as I can. If local businesses expect people to buy local then they should be supporting local too.”

Matt strives to craft furniture pieces “to be woven into the fabric of the family home” but also builds custom designs for commercial and retail markets.

The Husk chair features Australian Wool-blend fabric. Photo by Heidi Wolff.

He encourages consumers to see the value of investing in high-quality locally made products and not fall victim to “high turnover consumerism” where furniture is mass manufactured and likely to be thrown away – not repaired – if broken.

He says a market of consumers who choose well made and sustainable bespoke pieces does exist, helping to sustain not only his own business, but the industry as a whole as the effects trickle through.

“With low cost furniture, if it breaks people will just throw it away, whereas if you’ve spent time with a furniture maker along the process you become connected to the maker … good furniture is made so it can be repaired,” Matt says. “A lot of contemporary makers push that and it’s always something MJP Studio has always done.”

His playful yet sophisticated works are made from high quality, locally sourced timbers from Australian and American origin, while leather and Australian wool also works their way into the fabric on some pieces, such as dining chairs and armchairs.

MJP Studio’s coffee table, the ‘Crossover’. Photo by Heidi Wolff.

Matt is originally from Sydney and moved to Tasmania in 2011 to complete a Bachelor of Environmental Design with Honours at the UTAS School of Architecture and Design, majoring in furniture.

He had heard of SA’s renowned craft and design hub JamFactory during his time at university and ended up applying for a coveted associate position within its furniture studio.

Matt was successful in gaining the spot at JamFactory in Adelaide and worked under the guidance of furniture designer Jon Goulder before going on to have his own studio there for one year.

Matt says he made the decision to remain in SA because Adelaide “ticked all the boxes”, with MJP Studio now settled as one of the city’s high end furniture manufacturers.

“Aesthetically, my style is influenced by Scandinavian design and contemporary Australian architecture and I think that comes from my training in Tassie,” he adds.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Harvey The Label stitches towards a sustainable future

In a world of fast fashion, one South Australian label is standing out from the crowd by designing and producing socially sustainable clothing.

“One of the core elements of our mission statement is not to mass produce,” explains Harvey The Label founder and designer Mim Harvey.

“I only order enough of each style to fulfil our wholesalers’ orders and stock our Rundle Street flagship store.”

The garments themselves are naturally sustainable due to their multiway styling – some having the ability to be worn up to 17 ways.

Adelaide’s Mim Harvey, of Harvey The Label on Rundle Street.

With the designs not being tied to seasonal trends and made with trans-seasonal fabrics, they can work back with every wardrobe for years to come.

“The Harvey ethos is to make designer clothing accessible, wearable and versatile,” Mim says.

“All clothing and prints are designed in-house from our Rundle Street office, above the store, which gives us daily feedback direct from our customers to our design room.”

This year has seen Harvey The Label take flight from Adelaide to the runways of New York, for the 2018 Fashion Palette show, held during New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

“The organisers of Fashion Palette had seen us via our Instagram and the influencers we work with and extended the invitation,” Mim says.

“We were amazed with the outcome. After the runway show, we had five meetings a day with agencies and stores reaching out to us. To say we were overwhelmed when we got back is an understatement.”

Harvey The Label at NYFW’s Fashion Palette.

Mim has since been in contact with major US-based PR and sales agencies and has signed with POSH Showrooms in LA to begin the wholesale expansion of Harvey The Label into the west coast.

“Our US expansion strategy is a slow and curated one which we are not rushing as we need much more re-con and to see the fruits of the seeds we planted while over there.”

Mim is now back on home soil and gearing up for this year’s Adelaide Fashion Festival (AFF).

“It’s an amazing opportunity for our local fashion community to shine and showcase their work on a well-publicised and celebrated platform.”

Harvey The Label will feature in the SA Designer Showcase on Thursday 18 October alongside a number of other talents who have pursed their fashion careers in the state.

Harvey The Label at NYFW’s Fashion Palette.

“We will be showing our SS19 collection from the NYFW runway and also debuting some pieces that will be shown on the AFF runway for the very first time,” Mim says.

“It’s a romantic collection with a clash of prints, colour, signature multiway pieces juxtaposed with florals and bold linear prints.”

Joining Harvey The Label on the runway in the SA Designer Showcase is a mix of emerging and familiar favourites, including: Binny, Cinquante, Georgy Collection, Holiday Trading, Katya Komarova, Naomi Murrell, Ryderwear, Stephanie Chehade, Sylvy Earl, The Daily Edited, Tiff Manuell, and The Wolf Gang.

The runway show will be styled by Vogue Australia fashion editor Philippa Moroney, who has featured local designers and models regularly in the pages of the famous title.

Connect with Harvey The Label on Facebook and Instagram.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Inside the architecture of the new Rundle Mall Plaza, H & M store

Aspects in the design of the $40m Rundle Mall Plaza redevelopment featuring an H & M store will be a “standout” and will help reawaken a somewhat tired precinct along Adelaide’s premier retail strip.

Brand SA News caught up with one of the contributors to the four-storey redevelopment, Hames Sharley’s managing director Caillin Howard, for an insight into this retail and infrastructure coup.

Caillin, who has been with the Adelaide-based multidisciplinary design firm for almost 20 years, says the plaza revamp is one of Hames Sharley’s most exciting projects.

“Rundle Mall Plaza isn’t one of our biggest projects at the moment, but is it our favourite at the moment? Absolutely, because of its complexity, because it sits in the middle of the CBD, because it’s not just about retail,” he says.

“It has the ability to touch the most people in Adelaide, therefore it’s a pretty special project.”

Concept imagery of the plaza redevelopment.

Rundle Mall Plaza’s owner, The Weinert Group, announced the redevelopment plans in February, saying the addition of the Swedish fashion giant H & M would be a “significant drawcard for Rundle Mall in particular but Adelaide in general”.

While H & M will be the plaza’s major tenant, the redevelopment spans across four lower levels of the nine-storey building.

The lower ground is expected to become a ‘tech hub’ with offices and co-working spaces, while the ground floor will be dedicated to retail and fashion.

A new, higher-end dining precinct will unfold on level one, with large glass windows overlooking the mall, while a health and wellbeing precinct is envisaged for level two.

A multi-storey void at the main entrance will be a “standout architectural feature” and will host the relocated Progress statue, a welder copper sculpture created by Lyndon Dadswell in 1959.

The refurbished iconic Progress statue will mark the entrance to the plaza.

Caillin says the redevelopment presents a chance for the plaza to take better advantage of its Rundle Mall frontage as well as its activation with Gawler Place and the Myer Centre.

He says the higher-end dining precinct will also give shoppers and nearby workers another option to a unique dining experience able to be enjoyed within an office lunch break.

“You don’t have to have a burger, souvlaki, or sushi in a food court when you’re in that retail mall,” he says.

“You can go and have great fish and chips or great Italian and have a turnaround of 40 minutes rather than going to a café or restaurant.

“Adelaide has heaps of them (cafés and restaurants) and they’re brilliant, but you have to put aside an hour-and-a-half to do it.”

The dining precinct on level one will offer views over Rundle Mall.

Rundle Mall Plaza is just one of the many projects that Hames Sharley’s Adelaide team of 45 is working on, with the Cedar Woods housing development at Glenside among other ventures.

Its portfolio includes the design collaborations on the Adelaide Oval redevelopment and the University of Adelaide’s Braggs building, as well as the Channel Seven studios on Port Road, the Whyalla Hospital, Elizabeth Aquadome, and the West Lakes and Gilles Plains shopping centres.

Caillin says Hames Sharley prides itself on delivering “contextual architecture” by taking into consideration the impact of a building on its surroundings.

“We believe that architecture has a responsibility to answer to its city, site or location, so we have as much responsibility to give back as to take,” he says.

While born in SA, Caillin undertook his secondary and tertiary education in Perth, where he joined Hames Sharley in 1999.

Hames Sharley collaborated with BVN Donovan Hill on the design of The University of Adelaide’s award-winning science and research facility, The Braggs Building.

Hames Sharley is listed as one of the 100 largest design practices in the world and has offices in every capital city across Australia. It was established in Adelaide more than 40 years ago.

With a grandfather as a builder and a father as an architect, entering the world of design was almost inevitable for Caillin, also a keen cricketer and yachtsman.

Stepping up to the role of managing director in 2014, he says there is no shortage of leading architecture and design companies in Adelaide.

“When you have a look at the large practices across the country, I think over 50% of them started in Adelaide,” he says.

“There’s us, Woods Bagot, Hassell, all of these big players who originated out of Adelaide.

“For me, geographically, Adelaide is a great place to be … we have great education and really smart people.

“It’s a really good place to centrally locate the business.”

Rundle Mall Plaza redevelopment is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

TCL adding the art to infrastructure

You might not know their name, but chances are you’ve heard of, seen or even walked along their work.

Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) is a leading Australian landscape architecture firm based in Adelaide and is behind some of the city’s most redefining public settings.

From the city’s heart of Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga to the Riverbank footbridge that connects thousands of sports fans with Adelaide Oval, their work has helped shape the CBD.

TCL’s senior landscape architect Alexandra Lock played a part in both of these landmarks.

But for Alexandra – an I Choose SA ambassador – designing something as significant as the 255m-long footbridge is about much more than getting people from A to B.

“It’s more than just a bridge,” she says.

“We’ve created a space that has become iconic in itself but also speaks to the scale and activity of the city.”

The Riverbank footbridge, completed in 2014, provides a vital connection to the Adelaide Festival Centre, railway station and Adelaide Oval. Its glass cladding, LED lighting and waterfall features make it a showpiece for the River Torrens.

But Alexandra’s portfolio doesn’t stop there.

The 33-year-old has worked on a number of other projects which have gone on to become highly recognised public spaces across Adelaide’s CBD and wider metropolitan areas.

When she joined TCL eight years ago as a graduate landscape architect from the University of Adelaide, her first project involved working on the masterplan and further documentation for the stage one redevelopment of Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga.

TCL senior landscape architect and I Choose SA ambassador Alexandra Lock. Photo by James Knowler / JK+Crew.

The project included an overall greening of the precinct, featuring flexible lawn for major events, extensive urban lounges, water features, and a more vibrant central plaza.

“That was a significant project for the studio but also for Adelaide in general – it is the heart of the city and was the first masterplan to be fully endorsed for the square in 40 years,” Alexandra says.

In 2015, Alex’s work on the redevelopment of another town square 11km from the city in Henley Beach was complete, featuring public furniture, terracing, shade for visitors and a “playful plaza”.

Her work also sprawls across cities and regional areas around the country.

Henley Square.

TCL was born in SA in 1989 and has an office on Grote Street in Adelaide and in Melbourne, employing a complete team of 25 people.

Its name comes from the first letter of the surnames of each of its founders, the late Kevin Taylor, Kate Cullity and Perry Lethlean.

TCL has influenced the design and layout of national parks, wetlands and gardens across the country, and also works on projects overseas.

Its local portfolio includes a collection of infrastructure, urban design and residential projects, from the Adelaide Airport pedestrian bridge and plaza upgrade, to public art along the 23km Northern Expressway.

TCL was also behind the redevelopment of North Terrace in the CBD.

North Terrace is now a greener, more open cultural boulevard.

Over the years the northern side of the premier civic street has been transformed into a more open and inviting cultural boulevard with a greater connection between the major public institutions and the open space around them.

“Beforehand, North Terrace had fences and rambling, overgrown gardens around the institutions, which blocked them off from the rest of the street,” Alexandra says.

“Views to the exceptional heritage architecture of the buildings were being lost.

“It was a big move to remove these barriers, open up the ground plane and replant with taller canopy trees. It allowed the public to filter through the university and around the museum and library, creating far better access to these institutions and reconnecting the terrace to the river.”

Alexandra says she believes the way Adelaide people engage with the public realm is becoming more important to their every day lives.

“People need to feel just as comfortable in a public space as they would in their own backyard,” she says.

“The city is developing quickly so there needs to be a focus on design quality and innovative design solutions.

“Adelaide has a lot of local talent in design, planning and in the engineering disciplines that our city is benefiting from.”

The Victoria Square redevelopment redefined the space as the city’s civic heart.

Not only is Alexandra choosing to allow her design career to flourish in Adelaide, but she’s also raising a family here.

With her second child due in October, she says she finds comfort in the city’s affordable housing market and its “small town” vibe.

And it’s this same small town community feel that holds the key to Adelaide’s success, she says.

“I think it’s going to be really important that Adelaide builds strength as a vibrant city and that we stay true to that as Adelaide continues to grow,” Alexandra says.

“It’s important that we don’t rush it and that we get it right, and I think Adelaide is quite good at getting things right.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Living regionally no barrier to success for teen entrepreneur

Renmark teenager Nathan Woodrow might only be a few months outside of finishing high school, but he already knows what it’s like to run his own business.

The young Riverlander launched his own clothing label, Ryde Clothing, two years ago and has since sold about 1000 units across the country, the majority through online sales.

The brand is inspired by the former Renmark High School student’s love for skating, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and wakeskating, a sport similar to wakeboarding except the rider’s feet aren’t strapped to the board.

At the age of 15 Nathan suffered a knee injury leaving him unable to participate in the many sporting activities that usually kept him busy.

Searching for something else to keep him occupied, he started sketching designs for t-shirts, screen printing them from his bedroom and selling the items online.

He told no one of his entrepreneurial pursuits and it wasn’t until he was interviewed by music and fashion publication, TEO Magazine, that Ryde Clothing began to gain local traction.

“When I was at school, a lot of the sales would come from me walking around the yard at lunch time and selling shirts,” Nathan says.

“It’s really good that in the Riverland everyone gets around you.”

While at school, Nathan also held down two part-time jobs, saving his money to invest in the small business.

He now sketches his designs at home before sending them off to be refined by Queensland artist Tammen Willmott.

Once the prints are sent back to Renmark, Nathan screen prints the designs onto the clothing.

He originally began running Ryde from his bedroom, but it wasn’t until t-shirts began to clutter his family’s living room that he decided to move operations to a shipping container in the backyard.

“I might go for a skate and just think to myself about a design, then come home straight away and sketch something up until I get it right,” he says.

Ryde Clothing released a t-shirt design for the 2018 Riverland Dinghy Derby.

Ryde Clothing’s motto is ‘stay stoked’. Many of the designs are reflective of water sports enjoyed on the Murray River.

In 2017 Nathan was mentored by Bruce Mellett from Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland who helped him to seek local media attention, find local stockists and set business goals.

Nathan finished Year 12 last year and now splits his time between a part-time role at Renmark printing company Tri State Graphics, and running Ryde Clothing.

He says living in a regional town has been an advantage to his business rather than a detriment.

“A lot of people think that you can’t do something because you’re in the Riverland,” Nathan says.

“But being here gives you an advantage because the community always gets behind you, and with the internet, you can do everything you need to.”

Ryde Clothing will release its winter collection later this month.

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