New Australian clothing label Mami Chula makes a statement
Melbourne based Mami Chula is a sassy, daring and playful new fashion label made for fun people, who like to make a statement with their clothing. It draws its inspiration from exotic places, tropical cultures and street attitude.
Mami Chula’s designs are very distinctive. Colourful ethnic textiles and bold embellishments bring classic cuts to life… it’s wild-west, retro-futuristic and tribal…. it’s sexy, tropical and carnivalesque.
Founder Tahnee Noakes explains how she started in the business fashion business, the detours she took along the way, and where the inspiration for Mami Chula came from.
“The primary target market of Mami Chula will be Melbourne’s vibrant music and lifestyle festival scene. This underground culture embraces all of the elements that inspire my label such as cultural appreciation, openness and freedom of expression.
I’ve always wanted to design a brand that would give me the freedom to really experiment with as many different elements as I like, without being too boxed in by having to follow mainstream fashion trends.
When I came to live in Melbourne just over a year ago, I observed that people here are really open minded, and very experimental in the way they dress. I feel free to take risks with my ideas here in Melbourne. Nothing is too much for people here. Coming to Melbourne has been really inspirational for me.
I completed my Diploma in Fashion & Textile Design at the Perth Central College of Design over ten years ago when I was fresh out of high school. The course was very art-based, and focused much more on the creative process and abstract concepts, than on the technical aspects of starting up a fashion label. So at that time I was flourishing in a creative sense, but lacking the industry knowledge (and the capital) to hit the ground running with my label.
Luckily, over the last few months, I have been learning a lot about the fashion industry from all of the diverse interesting people I’ve come into contact with, through my new part-time role in customer support and sales at Immago.
All that I have been required to learn for this role has given me a lot of perspective on how to go about creating my own brand, and at the same time I also feel that my background in fashion has helped me to understand our clients’ needs. I’m really very lucky to have a good job that complements my passions.
Previously I was working for a large textiles company which was also a very valuable experience, but the hours were all over the place and as any designer knows, you need time to get into the creative zone. It’s hard when you have to stop and start all the time, so getting out of retail and into the office has been a real blessing, in terms of being able to find the time to work on new designs.
I first became interested in fashion when I was just a kid. I hated being told what to wear by adults. Later when I was in high school I got inspired by the DIY nature of display costuming and festival wear. That was well over a decade ago now.
After I finished my fashion diploma, I felt an overwhelming need to discover the world, and my adventurous spirit lead me to many exotic places such as the Peruvian Andes, the Amazonian Jungle, Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival and the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.
In total I spent four years travelling everywhere between Argentina and Mexico. I visited many different rural villages and I was amazed by the beauty of indigenous textiles, and the unique colours and geometric patterns representing each region and its people.
It made me realise that fashion is much more than just a shallow consumer culture and the ego’s desire to impress and seek validation from others. It is an inextricable and fundamental part of our identity; whether in the context of following a cultural tradition as in the tribes I saw on my travels, or in the context of trying to make a statement of uniqueness, as in the DIY outfits you see at music festivals.
What we put on our bodies says so much about who we are and who we aspire to be. When I returned to Perth four years later, I needed to process and interpret all that I had seen on my travels with a more theoretical framework, in order to understand it on a deeper level. So I spent another four years studying Anthropology (the study of culture and meaning).
It was difficult to explain such an apparently drastic career change to concerned family members. But in reality, it was all part of the same career plan I’ve always had. Understanding the social context and the real meaning of things, is exactly what fuels my creative process leading to new ideas.
“The inspiration for Mami Chula in large part comes from all the wild adventures I’ve had travelling around Latin America. I really fell in love with Latin American street culture, the people, the music, the way they live, the atmosphere, everything. So my hope is that my label will come to embody that experience.
The Mami Chula range will be marketed across social media platforms and sold through an online store. There is hope to reach the international market, in particular the USA, where cowboys and cowgirls have developed a taste for the tribal patterns and textiles, which are becoming the hallmark of the Mami Chula clothing range.”
Bringing ideas to life
Tahnee is just one of many young fashion designers who has been able to bring her ideas to life, with the assistance of Immago.
If you would like to know more about how we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.