This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Tara Whalley · Homely

Studio Visit

Tara Whalley is a maker of wearable art – eye-catching prints with distinctive flair, designed and made in Melbourne.

The textile designer’s latest collection, ‘Homely’, features her gouache paintings of favourite plants and keepsakes from her studio, alongside illustrations of friends. Today, Tara takes us through her vibrant little hoem studio and whimsical work.

11th December, 2017

Textile Designer at Tara Whalley at work in her studioPhoto – Amelia Stanwix.

Tara’s garments featuring new prints from her ‘Homely’ range. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Melbourne-based textile designer Tara Whalley. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Tara’s preferred media of the moment is gouache, but she also utilises software like Photoshop and Illustrator for her client work. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The designer splits her time between her own label and creating prints for other Australian labels. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘My mum definitely had an influence on me wanting to create a label, I just didn’t expect to start it so young,’ tells Tara. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Elle Murrell
Monday 11th December 2017

Upon graduating from high school, Tara Whalley knew a creative career was for her, but was a little bewildered as she began to explore the many tertiary pathways. Things became all the more clear at her interview for RMIT’s BA of Textile Design. ‘I had a good feeling about it; you could take all your love of experimenting creatively and develop a product, and bring it back to that practical level,’ recalls Tara. ‘I loved the idea of learning how to create wearable art.’

Tara had grown up around beautiful fabrics, watching her mother make everything she wore. While at uni, the textile designer developed a little scarf label for the student market, and caught the attention of a store owner, who placed a wholesale order. This was the real moment Tara realised she also loved the ‘business side’ of fashion.

Another formative experience was a year spent in Guatemala, where Tara worked on product and textile design with war-affected women. Along with being an introduction to new products and processes, this year abroad led to a sustainable and ethical footwear collection for ALAS the label, and developing prints for Rebel Yuths Milan runway Collection.

Tara’s latest collection, ‘Homely’, explores feelings of connection and community. Based on her original gouche paintings, the vibrant textiles in this collection are inspired by her immediate environment – her eclectic home studio. Motifs include details from Persian rugs, house plants, as well as Tara’s closest friends and family. The ‘Held’ print, in particular, was inspired by a moment at Golden Plains music festival where the whole crowd joined in an embrace during a tear-jerker of a track. ‘I wanted to create a print with the feeling that you were being held by your friends and family wherever you went,’ the designer explains. Meanwhile, ‘Faces’ spotlights pals on a similar creative path – Esther of Togetherness Design and Esther’s partner Pelham.

Tara’s prints are fashioned into a variety of dresses, skivvys, skirts – ‘Trans-seasonal garments for effortless style’. Feeling comfortable, confident, in high-quality fabrics is a big priority for Tara, and all prints are limited edition to keep it small, unique and special.

Tara’s Wildflower Collection is also currently available, featuring a linen jumpsuit painted on a trip to central Australia with Edith Rewa, and wrap dress featuring her studies of beautiful flowers from Mt Kosciuszko. ‘I like to spontaneously drop new styles, as I feel like it makes people interested to stay in the loop!’

Find out more and keep up with Tara Whalley’s current ranges on her website. The designer is currently in Los Angeles, working on a new collection, and also has a curated pop-up in the works for next year.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Art

Elle Campbell

The emotive artwork of Perth artist Elle Campbell.
Anna Flanders

Art

Evie Cahir

Painterly illustrations by Melbourne-based Evie Cahir
Elle Murrell

Shopping

Mirador · Luna

A new painterly accessories range from Melbourne-based textile artist Lauren Elise Cassar.
Elle Murrell

This Week

Architecture

The Long And Lean Sub-Tropical Dream!

Painted white brick and intriguing forms create a real eye-catcher, in this Shaun Lockyer designed home in Chandler, Queensland.
Miriam McGarry

Tiny Homes

Get Off-Grid With CABN

Escape the world in these sleek, contemporary tiny cabins, situated in secret locations, each within 1.5 hours of a major city.

News

TarraWarra Museum Of Art Opens Its Doors This Weekend

Enjoy free access to this celebrated Victorian museum and creative events at the TWMA Open Weekend!
Sally Tabart
  22 hours ago

Studio Visit

The Reinvention Of A Beloved Brisbane Artist

A chance meeting with a potter abroad inspired Rose Jensen-Holm to turn to the wheel, with a new exhibition opening this Friday.
Jo Hoban
  8 hours ago

Architecture

A Playful And Reorienting Renovation

Austin Maynard Architects joyfully reconfigure the Grant House in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Lucy Feagins
  24 hours ago

Art

A Celebrated Abstract Artist Shares Her ‘Rhythm Sequence’

Gemma Smith takes us inside a new exhibition, charting her experiments on canvas over the past 17 years.
Elle Murrell

News

Tired Of Intellectualising Everything? This Photographer Is

Kate Ballis’ new series ‘Spectrums of The Galapagos’ challenges us to connect and feel, rather than dissect.
Elle Murrell
  2 hours ago

Small Business

How To Get That Side Project Started

Groupon, Unsplash, WeWork, Craigslist and even Twitter were created initially as side hustles – maybe it's time to get your idea off t...
Fiona Killackey

Photography

A Solo Pilot's Breathtaking Photographic Project

Andrew Vukosav's current exhibition, 'Longitude, Latitude, Solitude', has taken the accomplished commercial photographer and his Cessna 182R...
Elle Murrell

Roundup

Just Announced – The 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards Shortlist

Our highlights reel of the lust-worthy residential interiors in the running for the prestigious Australian Interior Design Awards.

Interiors

2019 Dulux Colour Award Finalists Revealed!

Celebrating colour through this year's most eye-catching architectural and interior design projects.
Sally Tabart
  21 hours ago
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Landscape Designer Paul Bangay

One of Australia’s most celebrated green thumbs reflect on his career, the mentors who have inspired him and his brand new book!

Travel

7 Incredible Tiny Eco Getaways

Swap WiFi for star-gazing, in these dreamy eco retreats.

News

A History Of Melbourne, Told Through Train Tickets

Contemporary artist Peter Atkins reflects train ticket designs in Victoria to tell a forgotten history of Melbourne in The Passengers. 

News

Another Blockbuster Year For The Auckland Art Fair

The major annual event is back for another year, showcasing leading local and international contemporary art!

Similar Stories

Art

Elle Campbell

The emotive artwork of Perth artist Elle Campbell.
Anna Flanders

Art

Evie Cahir

Painterly illustrations by Melbourne-based Evie Cahir
Elle Murrell

Shopping

Mirador · Luna

A new painterly accessories range from Melbourne-based textile artist Lauren Elise Cassar.
Elle Murrell