I spent many of my childhood years with my Oma who was a self taught seamstress and had spent years traveling to Bali back in the 70s, building friendships with the locals and offering her hand where needed such as supplying blankets to the hospitals and helping her friends to open their resort which is thriving still today in Legian.
After pursuing studies in fashion textiles during high school, often staying in through lunch hours to complete garments worn to many occasions and heavily enthused by my Oma, Anita. My love for the process of watching designs on paper come to life led me to completing an Advanced diploma at kangan Institute in Fashion Design and Technology.
A heightened sense of creativity came along with my travels on my first trip to Bali, to meet my Oma’s Balinese extended family with my twin sister, coming home with a suitcase full of fabrics and trims we picked out together, I began creating bold colourful garments of my own.
I started Carlabella Designs in 2016 after leaving Melbourne for a slow pace Coastal lifestyle on the Great Ocean Road of Victoria, where I had spent many Summers with a family beach house growing up and felt most at peace living by the ocean.
I knew I wanted to work for myself and could not ignore the nagging desire to take hold of my own freewill by taking a leap of faith jumping headlong into the creation of my own fashion label, which I named after my twin sister Carla and myself Belinda, however Bella rolls off the tongue better when best pronounced in an Italian accent, so Carlabella was born.
Carla is a shining light in my life. Embodying a fun-loving spirit and love for life, nature and creativity. She is always there to bounce ideas off and encourage me to follow my wildest dreams and never give up on doing what I love. We believe life should be a fun and vibrant adventure so who needs boring clothes.
After deciding to turn my little passion project into a business I headed back to Bali where I felt a strong connection, so full of love, tradition and simplicity and where better than to outsource the production with the help of a small community of artisans that I have come to know and cherish, working closely to make slow fashion in small batch collections. I can’t wait to go back once we can travel again and visit all of my extended family and friends.
The daily trials and tribulations of running my own business are shared with a strong desire to create and evolve, knowing that life is more about the journey than the destination. Stemming from humble market beginnings across the coast of Victoria during the Summer months to following the sun throughout Winter and relocating to Byron Bay. Today Carlabella is based back in Aireys Inlet, Victoria, our home state and strives to infuse our calm and coastal vibes into every collection.
Photos on film of my Oma and shots taken by her of Bali and her friends. Carla(left) and me(right) on our first trip to Bali at the bottom.