I like busy, loud and colourful prints. I can admit to more than one occasion in which I have bought the most unflattering clothes just because I liked the print. Sure, these pieces don’t get much wear, but knowing I have this incredible textile hanging idle in my wardrobe is good enough for me. Cassie Byrnes also has an affinity with bold prints. However unlike me, she has embraced the obsession wholeheartedly, leaving behind a background in interior design to move interstate and study textile design. It’s now been a year since Cassie graduated from Melbourne’s RMIT, and in this short span of time she has already emerged as a talented and in-demand creative.
Cassie grew up in Mackay in tropical North Queensland. ‘I don’t think black is even a colour in Mackay, everything is really bright and colourful, so that might explain my strong affinity with patterns,’ she says. During her teenage op-shopping days, Cassie began to collect ’80s dresses for the fabrics and print repetition featured on them. She was inquisitive, and wanted to know how these prints got there in the first place.
Cassie started to research textile design and veteran designers including Collier Campbell, Jenny Kee, Rae Ganim and Linda Jackson, and with the hopes of one day joining the ranks of this cult alumni, she packed her bags and moved to Melbourne. ‘Knowing nothing about textiles and having never visited Victoria, I did what any sane twenty-something would do and quit my job to move interstate and enrol Textile Design at RMIT,’ explains Cassie.
Combining an old and new school approach to textile design, Cassie’s work is equal parts hand generated artwork and computer based. As a freelancer who has designed textile prints for local fashion and homewares labels including Kuwaii, Verner, Country Road and Linen House, Cassie understands the creative navigation required to fulfill a client’s brief. ‘I never start in repeat, it’s only once the clients feels good about the direction that I switch my focus to the preparing the final artwork,’ she says. It’s the practical and tactile nature of textiles that Cassie loves most. ‘Then comes scale, colour matching and technical specs for printing. It’s all about how the artwork translates to the end product, and I love having that practicality to my work.’
The remainder of the year is jam packed for Cassie, who is busy preparing her first collection of patterned products including garments, homewares and screen printed artwork. She also has new designs coming out this summer with Kuwaii, Sankalpa Studio, Ark Clothing Co, Nikel & Sole, and Milk & Sugar. Not to mention the final touches she is currently putting on a library of patterns ready to license from February 2016. ‘Basically anything that you can put a pattern on is in my sights!’ she says.