For her column this month, Lisa introduces PER—TIM, a Melbourne-based label specialising in graphic loungewear, sleepwear and bedding, run by fashion-loving friends Bernadette Francis and Laura Albee Barton. With their impressive work ethic and unreserved sense of buzzing enthuasiasm, these two clever local girls have propelled PER-TIM from a summer holiday pipe-dream to a busy little enterprise in record time! – Lucy
Bernadette Francis and Laura Albee Barton hard at work in their Collingwood studio. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.
Mood board for PER—TIM’s first range ‘Club Bed’, which is loosely inspired by the original Club Med! Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.
‘Restoration’ print pillowcases made in Melbourne by PER—TIM. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.
Bernadette Francis and Laura Albee Barton of PER—TIM in their Collingwood studio. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.
Besides having names that sound like they’re descendants of royalty, Melbourne based designers Bernadette Francis and Laura Albee Barton are kicking some serious goals with their lifestyle label PER—TIM. Just five months short of launching their first range ‘Club Bed’, PER—TIM has quickly gathered a cult following. Their label specialises in bedding and something I’ve grown rather fond of lately – ‘loungewear’. As a recent loungewear convert, I must admit it’s just so much nicer to chill out in a PER—TIM leisure garment than your faded HSC/VCE jersey sweater, complete with every name from the ‘Class of 98′ on the back.
Although they’re young, these two go-getters have an impressive combined CV – Bernadette is a graduate of RMIT Fashion and was previously head buyer at Alice Euphemia, while Laura is currently working as Brand Manager and Creative Assistant at Kuwaii. ‘We’ve always shared similar views and ways of working, so when Bern completed her studies and after I had spent years working for other people in fashion, it felt like a natural progression to create something together, and in a way, materialise our friendship,’ says Laura.
PER—TIM was originally conceptualised during a trip to the beach last summer, when pals Laura and Bernadette were teasing each other about their ‘ugly’ beach towels. ‘We both thought: Hey, let’s stop teasing and start making!,’ recalls Laura.
Since that fortuitous beach outing, the pair has been steadfast in bringing their vision to life. Their first range ‘Club Bed’ is proudly Melbourne-made and includes cushion covers, bedding, casual slip dresses, kimonos, and short and tee ensembles in textiles designed by the pair, as well as a special edition print created in collaboration with local graphic designer Tristan Ceddia. ‘Our first collection celebrates the everyday and universal state of sleep, in ‘Club Bed’. It is our tongue-in-cheek homage to the glorious heydays of Club Med, and pays tribute to resort wear, and the idea of ‘faux luxury’ that these kinds of places conjure,’ notes Bernadette.
Already piquing interest from stockists in the US and Asia a few months after their launch, Bernadette and Laura are excited to see their little label grow, and are already planning their next range, themed around travel. Actually, the pair admits, ‘We’ve pretty much designed our next three collections already!’ It’s this buzzy work ethic and unreserved sense of enthusiasm that seems to have propelled PER—TIM from a summer holiday pipe-dream to a busy little enterprise in record time. ‘We kind of wrote our own rules, which meant liberating and energetic outcomes in the design process. Working on PER—TIM feels almost like a creative holiday!’ they say.