Using only natural fibres such as linen, muslin and cotton, the new collection from Sweet Jane offers the little girls in our lives simple and practical garments in a lovely winter palette of cranberry, navy blue, plum and floral. We were so excited to find a children's clothing range that was not only locally made, but was also dedicated to creating beautifully made, modest childrenswear.
We spoke to Sweet Jane's founder, designer and maker Chelsea Thorpe about her daughter Primrose's influence, and how to make any space feel like home...
When did you start Sweet Jane and what was your motivation behind doing so?
I began Sweet Jane last winter. I was finding it difficult to find clothes for the girls that didn’t feature pink and sparkles, so I decided to create my own (I give in now again as a 5-year-old dreams of glitter!). My background is in clothing so it is an extension on my previous life and I love creating a collection for little minis.
Your daughter is also the little girl featured in your look books. How much of a say does your daughter Primrose have over the colours and fabric choices for Sweet Jane? How much of what you are doing is driven by your daughter or your friend's children?
Yes, Primrose is my little model…even when it is the last thing she want to do she still pulls it off! She is very sensitive to fabrics, she will never wear anything too scratchy or too hard, so yes I suppose she has influenced the collection. Both of my children are instantly drawn to certain pieces or prints so if they insist on wearing an item I know I am on the right track. Oddly amongst my group of close friends we have about 13 girls and 3 boys so I am sure that in itself has influenced my decision to produce clothing for girls.
We love your use of natural fibres. Can you tell us about the reasoning behind choosing to only use these?
I very rarely wear or sleep in anything other than natural fibres myself so why should we expect our children to? They also have beautiful properties that we cannot find in man-made fabrics, using natural fibres is a no brainer for Sweet Jane.
Tell us about the sorts of textures and colours you like to let into your own home.
Since having children I have learnt to downplay my colour palate as two noisy girls and their belongings create enough interest. I love space and we do not have much of it at the moment so we live with pale blues, greens, dusky pinks for the girls and of course white. We try to open up the space and allow for as much breathing room as possible. I am a great fan of linen on the beds, curtains and the couch, mixed in with wool, and jute on the floors. I also have old pieces of furniture that have followed me around for years which always make any space feel like home.
And lastly, living in a beautiful spot like the Gisborne, how do you like to spend your weekends during the winter?
Gisborne is very quiet during winter so we plan ahead and try to create fun projects (besides work) to keep us entertained. We also love to escape our little town and get away, visiting friends and my husband's family in Hawkes Bay.
Sweet Jane is now available in store and online at Tessuti.