By Wendy Johnson
It all began when fashion designer Yumi Morrissey decided to make her own fabric prints for the collection she would launch at Fashfest 2015. That took her to the location of Australia’s most famous landmark and the meeting place of a nation—Parliament House—armed with her camera.
Yumi, who owns and operates the independent, local fashion label Zilpah Tart, captured ‘the shot’ she wanted while on Capital Hill and then headed to her computer to see what would happen if she manipulated it through Photoshop. After trying this and trying that she ended up with an intriguing kaleidoscope pattern and had it made into fabric for her new collection.
The exclusive Parliament Kaleidoscope print was a big hit on the catwalk at Fashfest, attracting several high-profile politicians and overseas customers to order garments created with it. Then it caught the attention of the Parliament Shop, inspiring Yumi to use the fabric to create a range of new products with the new print, including scarves, bags and cushions.
“You can’t really recognise Parliament House on the fabric from a distance but it all becomes clear when you get up close and study the pattern,” says Yumi. “That’s when it clicks that you’re looking at the building itself.” The print is a perfect fit for the shop at Parliament House and the items are great gifts for locals and the national and international tourists who make Canberra a destination. It’s unique. It’s designed here and made here, and the bags come in a range of styles ($65 to $120), some with accents of black, red and blue vinyl.
The Papillon design, for example, features blue vinyl corners, to protect the bag when it’s resting on a surface. The lining is a fun black and white polka dot cotton and the bag has an internal pocket and closes with a tab and magnetic fastener. The envelope clutch is simple and elegant, with a hand strap for easy carrying, and the large tote is a popular design.
Yumi is also producing scarves, made out of a super soft, 100 per cent cotton. They’re 190 cm long and so can be worn in several ways. They make a fabulous Christmas gift (super easy to pack up and mail also). Cushions come with the Parliament Kaleidoscope print on the front (canvas) and a solid black at the back.
Yumi is thrilled to be selling through Parliament Shop. “Parliament is such a significant institution and visitors to the shop include tourists from interstate and all over the worlds, so it’s giving my label exposure to new markets,” says the designer. Garments made out of the print are available through www.zilpahtart.com.au or you can visit Yumi at some of Canberra’s best markets, including those coming up in time for the ho-ho-ho season.