How did you come about creating your designs for DTC?
My label and designs have grown with me other the years. I originally started with street wear in 2013. I used to draw a lot and I decided to get my drawings printed onto t-shirts and selling them to friends through Facebook. I then turned to Etsy; selling printed t-shirts and skater skirts made from different patterns and fabrics. This went on so well that I decided to make my label everything I wanted it to be. I worked hard over two years leading up to the relaunch of my label with Rebirth in November 2015.
I have a personal style that isn’t readily available. I knew there would be others out there who are in the same boat, so I decided to make my own. Dark Thorn Clothing is a representation of myself, inspired by the Victorian Era with hint of punk rock, full of different textured black fabrics and the occasional neutral.
Where do you source your material(s) from?
I source my materials through a bunch of different Australian wholesalers.
Who is a fashion designer that you look up to, as a source of inspiration?
I tend to not look up to anyone. I try and keep in my own lane and do my own thing. I find that if I get myself too invested in looking to others for inspiration I start doubting my design capabilities and journey, but if I had to choose it would be Alexander McQueen and Guo Pei.
Why have you primarily worked online, instead of having a permanent shopfront?
Working online has given me more flexibility. I live in the country and have no intentions on moving anywhere else as I have everything readily available where I am. Being primarily online also allows me to travel with my label and reach a wider audience, I sell a lot online to the UK and US, so, I have plans on taking my label over to them one day.
How did the pop-up shop at Adelaide Central Plaza turn out for your business?
The pop-up at ACP went really well! I was able to reach a different audience, put a shop front to my label and allow customers to step into the world of Dark Thorn Clothing and soak up the environment and story I tell through my designs.
How much time (on average) does it take to create a new piece for Dark Thorn Clothing?
I’ve currently been releasing one collection a year, with a focus on trans-seasonal collections. I’m not someone to follow trends as I don’t believe in throwaway culture, I am someone who believes in personal style and personal style never goes out of trend. I spend the year in between looking for inspiration through my endless books and textbooks on pre-Edwardian era clothing or scouring Victorian Era clothing on Pinterest and Tumblr. I then start sketching (I usually fill out a whole sketchbook for one collection), choosing the right designs to make up the collection, after which I finalise the designs and choose the fabrics, embellishments and trimmings for each design.
Tell me a bit more about your sets – Silver, Rebirth, New Moon. What makes them unique and stand out from each other?
Silver is a place where I can still produce my printed t-shirts and supply a more laid-back and comfortable style that is still within my brand. It also allows me to continue to highlight where I started.
Rebirth was the first collection I designed and released. It is full of velvets and pops of gold, which gives off a very royal and regal feel.
The Victorian Era solely inspired New Moon, along with the television shows Penny Dreadful, Salem and Reign. New Moon is full of luxurious wool and silk fabrics and braided trims that add that extra bit of detail to each piece. It also introduced the first pop of colour to Dark Thorn Clothing.
Every collection I design is tied together within the little details.
For example: Rebirth has the statement gold lace while New Moon is full of braided and lace trimmings.
What do you want your customers to experience, when they buy DTC apparel?
I want them to know they’re not just purchasing a piece of clothing, they’re purchasing an atmosphere, a story. Each piece is made to last a lifetime and to fit timelessly into anyone’s wardrobe. When they put on their DTC pieces, I want them to feel empowered, confident and strong. I keep production small on every collection, in order to allow the customer to feel special; owning a piece that (in some cases) may be 1 of 12 ever made! Nobody likes walking down the street to see themselves wearing the same thing as 3 other passers-by.
What are your future plans with DTC?
I want to travel with my label, do collaborations and work all around the world… opening pop-up stores interstate and eventually overseas.
Are you looking to create and unravel a new collection?
I’m currently in the middle of creating my next collection that I actually can’t wait to release and show everyone. I’m pretty proud of this one!
Photos supplied by Tori-Anne Gill
With special thanks to Girl About Town
Dark Thorn Clothing
Since its launch in 2015, Dark Thorn Clothing has become a womenswear label known for its sophisticated reimagined Victorian era clothing. Tori-Anne Gill has identified and established a classic tone that uses stylistic structures, lace trimmings, embroidery and textured fabrics allowing her to build a brand ethos that is one of elegance and class.
Tori-Anne Gill is from a small country town, two hours from Adelaide, South Australia. Moving to Adelaide in 2012, Tori-Anne’s creative journey began while studying as a make-up artist at Colour Cosmetica Academy. Once finishing her course, Tori-Anne deepened her passion for creative work designing clothing.