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Three Fold Studio

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Nikki Lawrence is the 22-year-old at the helm of Melbourne-based bag label, Three Fold Studio.

Nikki has a fascination with pleats. Her popular pleated tote bags are made using custom fabric by Speciality Pleaters, an 86-year-old business operating out of Williamstown.

25th July, 2016

Nikki Lawrence of Three Fold Studio with pleated fabrics from Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown. Photo- Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Nikki Lawrence of Three Fold Studio with Simon Zdraweski from Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Three Fold Studio fabrics at Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Nikki Lawrence of Three Fold Studio with Simon Zdraweski from Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Details in the Speciality Pleaters factory in Williamstown. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Simon Zdraweski from Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown, with some custom fabrics he has created. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Nikki Lawrence of Three Fold Studio with her custom pleated fabrics from Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Three Fold Studio custom pleated fabrics that are then turned into tote bags. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Three Fold Studio pleated tote bag. Photo – Elise Wilken for Monk House Design.

Three Fold Studio pleated tote bag. Photo – Elise Wilken for Monk House Design.

Lisa Marie Corso
Monday 25th July 2016

The purpose of a bag is pretty straightforward: to carry and to hold. However, sometimes a bag is more than this, and has its own story. Three Fold Studio bags fall into this category. Based out of Melbourne with 22-year-old Nikki Lawrence at the helm, this pint-sized operation takes pride is doing things a little differently.

A graduate of gold and silversmithing, Nikki has always been a maker. She strives to create pieces with a pared back aesthetic, and is passionate about finding the delicate balance between form and function. Currently, in addition to running Three Fold Studio, she works full-time in production at Melbourne lighting studio Christopher Boots.

‘I’m completely fascinated by different methods of production, and through exploring this I started designing the products that began Three Fold,’ she says.

Nikki originally started Three Fold Studio late last year alongside her friend Lois McGuer-Fraser. Their goal was to simple – to create a unique bag that combined good design with everyday wearability. Having become fascinated with the delicate accordion-like creases of pleated materials, Nikki sought out the efforts of Specialty Pleaters in Williamstown, to give her bags the best pleats in the business. Currently run by Simon Zdraweski, Speciality Pleaters has been in business for 86 years, and is one of two remaining commercial pleaters in Australia.

Nikki collaborates with Simon to create all her fabrics. ‘The fabric is run though a pleating machine which pre-heats the fabric, manipulates it into folds, and then heat sets the pleats in place,’ explains Nikki. This custom pleated fabric then arrives at Nikki’s Fitzroy studio on a roll, where she and her studio assistant Gemma then individually sew each bag.

Keeping everything homegrown is most important to Nikki. She likes to think of it as one small business supporting another, and hopefully starting a chain reaction of more small businesses doing the same. ‘The support is mutual, Simon is happy to do small runs for me when my budget is low, and he is someone I can go visit and discuss my ideas with, it’s a pretty rare thing,’ she says.

Three Fold has just released its second collection, and Nikki is currently developing the third, which includes a new backpack design incorporating pleats and textile prints by local designers.

Three Fold Studio pleated tote bags are available online here or via Monk House Design and Kinobi.

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net