If there’s one thing we love here at Bailey Nelson, it’s well-crafted, high-quality designs – and Sydney label Nawato embodies this wholeheartedly. The duo behind the brand are partners in business (and life) - Tanawat Seethiang and Jackie Pettitt - who launched Nawato together as a way of combining their common love for textiles and design. Their menswear, womenswear, accessories and homewares are handmade bespoke creations; unique styles that incorporate denim, patchwork, and paisley. In a sea of generic fast fashion, the two-part team behind Nawato are breaking free from this model and forging their own path in the industry.
We caught up with Jackie, one half of the creative couple, to discuss the fashion landscape in Sydney, the value of good denim, and how to shop sustainably.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do!
We are a couple living in Sydney who share a love for denim, textiles and vintage workwear. Just under two years ago we started Nawato, a clothing label for men and women that represents our shared interests.
How did you end up running a fashion label? Do you both have a background in textiles and fashion?
Tanawat studied Applied Fashion Design at TAFE a few years ago. When he started looking for work in the fashion industry he struggled to find positions that interested him. We already had a few sewing machines at home and space in our garage to set up a studio, so we literally just thought why not! I was studying for a business degree at the time so I was able to work on the back end of everything while Tanawat designed and made the products.
Do either of you have any other creative projects or jobs on top of running Nawato?
At the moment there isn't much time for anything else! Haha. Creating all of our products ourselves is very time-consuming and we spend a lot of time designing, making patterns and sampling. We also try to fit in time to regularly create content for our personal social media accounts.
Judging by your range, denim seems to be your material of choice to work with in terms of both clothes and accessories. What is it about denim that appeals to you?
Where do we start!? Denim is such a versatile fabric, you can make so many different products with it and it just looks so good! We have experimented quite a lot with ways to alter denim such as distressing, patching and repairing. The way a pair of jeans can fade and change over time is such a cool concept to us.
While travelling in Japan and Thailand we learned more about the fabrication process behind denim, from spinning to dying and weaving the cotton. We sourced many naturally dyed fabrics which were dyed and woven by local farmers. These fabrics inspired our latest patchwork collection.
There has been an increase in discourse about the harmful effects of fast fashion on the planet and society over the past few years. Do you see any long-term positive change happening in the near future? And what can the average person do to ensure they’re engaging with fashion responsibly?
There has definitely been a step in the right direction from smaller businesses. It's so great to see how many startup fashion labels have gone straight to the source and are working with local craftsmen to create ethical and slower-made fashion. Hopefully this type of work inspires people, gains more support and we see more of it in the future.
I think the most important thing is to buy wisely and try to avoid fast fashion. We try to mainly buy quality items which will last a long time and are wearable for more than one or two seasons. It's also a good idea to research about the brand and how their products are made before purchasing!
How do you feel about the creative landscape in Sydney right now? Do you see yourself staying in the city in the long run?
To be honest, we think Sydney needs to step up its game. Compared to our trips in Asia, we've realised Sydney doesn't offer as many outlets for startup fashion creatives to share their work.
For now, it makes sense for us to stay in Sydney, but you never know. I think our dream would probably be to move to Tokyo or Bangkok, but that would all depend on how things work out in the future.
What are you reading, watching or doing at the moment that’s inspiring you?
We find a lot of inspiration from reading Japanese magazines and watching old movies. We are constantly creating mood boards full of photos we find from any and every source as well.
What do you like to do together when you have a day off?
Our typical day off would start off by taking our dog for a walk and then having brunch at a cafe, visiting our favourite bookstore to find a few magazines or books for inspiration and, of course, creating content for our social media accounts.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
Our main goal is to stay inspired and continue to work on our products, our quality and craftsmanship and bring out new collections.