To celebrate the launch of local womenswear label 17 Sundays at Myer this month, we sat down with the label’s founders Claire Primrose & Nikala Vagg to chat fashion, mix tapes and ‘Super Normal’…
Myer: Who are the people behind 17 Sundays and how long have you been working together?
Claire Primrose: 17 Sundays was incorporated by Nikala and myself in 2010 but we’ve known each other since our early 20s. We met at uni and have been friends ever since! We’ve both worked in the fashion industry in Melbourne for over 15 years – Nikala has worked for all the major retailers focusing on business development, and I’ve worked with denim brands. Together, our individual handwriting brings depth to the range offer within 17 Sundays. We also have an amazing team of people doing pretty much everything behind the scenes, and there would be no 17 Sundays without them.
M: Where did the name 17 Sundays come from?
CP: 17 was the age we loved the most in our teens. We were defining our individuality and honing our self confidence through fashion and pop culture, mix tapes and everything Cherry Lane was of life or death importance, and looking good was an obsession. We lived for the drama of the weekend and, looking back, Sunday afternoons in summer seemed as dreamy as an Audrey Horne dance sequence from Twin Peaks. That’s how the name 17 Sundays was born.
M: What motivated you to create your label?
CP: Over the years, we could see the plus size retail offer was dominated by a handful of major retailers, and at the time boutique plus labels didn’t have a strong, credible presence in the market. We’d spent our careers adding value & creative to branded product and could see that this was what was needed in plus. It’s been a really steep learning curve, with many fails along the way – we’ve had to learn a lot about the curvy customer and what she responds to, but I think we’re slowly getting there. Every woman deserves the opportunity to define themselves aesthetically. It’s empowering and necessary.
M: Who is the 17 Sundays woman?
CP: Our customer is fashion forward, hot, sexy, social and cool. She’s anywhere from 14 – 65 & much more interested in quality, originality and newness than fast fashion. She’s been bursting for the opportunity to express herself in silhouettes that have a more high-end handwriting, so offering this to our customer in larger sizes has been sought after for a while. We also have a very conversational style of social media so we’re able to connect directly with our customer base, which enables us to gain a really clear insight into who is loving and living in 17 Sundays.
M: What is your new collection called and what inspired it?
CP: The new collection is called ‘Super Normal’ and it’s all about lifestyle. We collaborated with 3 amazing models, including Sophie Sheppard, and one of Australia’s best fashion photographers to deliver a concept celebrating lifestyle and the amazing models in the plus category. Our ranges would be nothing if it wasn’t for the girls we shoot with. They bring the heat to our collection, add context to the story and basically realise our vision. We have access to the worlds best plus size models so the campaign is about their ‘off duty’ style and of course, how they live in 17 Sundays.
M: What are your top 3 must have pieces for summer?
Claire Primrose: A chambray shirt, geometric print everything (especially slouch pants!), and a sporty stripe skirt or maxi dress.
Nikala Vagg: A white dress, a light-weight washed blue denim jacket and a selection of good basics to mix and match.
M: Give us your number one styling tip.
CP: My number one style tip for our customers is simply to wear whatever makes you feel ten feet tall and bullet proof.
NV: Go for styles that make you feel confident and comfortable.
M: Who are your style icons?
CP: Isabel Marant, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen and Chloe Sevigny
NV: Margherita Missoni, Nicole Ritchie and Leandra Medine
Shop the 17 Sundays collection here