Melbourne based designer, model and muse Iris O’Connell has been working with yarn since they were eight years old; lockdown in 2020 led them to realise that working in fashion was their future.
“My first introduction to fashion was when I was around eight years old when my grandmother taught me how to knit. I started again in 2020 to pass time, and fell in love with it again. I began to crochet and knit garments and my friends and family noticed,” they explain.
“A co-worker from my old job actually pushed me to apply to the fashion design course offered by RMIT. I applied for that and got in!”
Iris officially launched their brand as Tug At My Heartstrings in June, 2021, and then relaunched as s0nnet54 at the end of 2022.
“The brand came along quite naturally. I wanted to show people what I could do, and what I had to offer. When I started to apply a narrative to the garments I made, it became a very cathartic experience for me,” Iris says.
“The brand launch was quite organic. At the time I was unemployed, and was on a break from university. I spent all of my time knitting and crocheting, to the point that I thought I should show it off.
“Once the brand launch had been completed, I finished it by hosting an event with friends to celebrate the finished collection.”
INSPIRED BY …
“I think I’ve gained a significant amount of inspiration by working in a thrift store. Being surrounded by clothes all day, and seeing different cuts, colours and silhouettes has really supported me in creating my own personal vision and style.
“Other than that, I also am inspired by nature, literature, fashion history and my own emotions. In terms of brands, I am inspired by Miu Miu, Blumarine, Evade House and Holzwiler,” says Iris.
According to Iris, the name of their brand, s0nnet54, came from Shakespear’s poem ‘Sonnet 54’.
“It revolves around the concept of beauty, specifically the contrast between superficial and inner beauty. One of the main concepts behind s0nnet54 is the concept of emotion,” explains Iris.
“I think there is so much beauty to be found with how we feel, and such power in our sensitivity. Thus, I aim to create garments that can ‘bottle’ that experience into something wearable, recognising the beauty within and outside of us.”
The overall aesthetic of s0nnet54 is soft and feminine with an ethereal, whimsical vibe, says Iris. “They follow a neutral colour palette, as I only really experiment with white, grey, black and beige.”
LIMITED EDITION AND SLOW
As with all fashion brands, s0nnet54 has a strong sustainable focus, and as a completely handmade label is the epitome of #slowfashion.
“All of the garments that I make are one-of-one and made from recycled materials. The knit garments are either made from yarn that I purchased second-hand, or from a garment that I unravelled and spun into new yarn,” explains Iris.
“In the future, I aim to experiment more with woven fabric, which will also be up-cycled from old garments, or made from second-hand fabric or bedding.
“Long term I want to offer a wide range of garments and accessories to clients. This would involve designing and constructing knit and woven garments, as well as shoes and accessories.”
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