STUDIO TALK: Rabia Lockwood (Ginny & Jude)

Rabia Lockwood creates beautiful garments that give a nod to the past. I swear, the clothing she creates through Ginny & Jude Designs will make you swoon. And if you’re a minimalist trying hard not to be swayed be the ever changing, frivolous nature of the fashion world, Ginny & Jude is your friend because the clothes are beautifully made with high quality fabrics. I should know – I own a couple of her pieces, and not only do they fit like a dream and look divine, they last! Hooray!

I met Rabia through a very good friend who married her dad. When I saw what she was creating I was captivated. I wanted her to share some of her process here for many reasons. One of them is that she is a new mother, and I know that creatives with young children find it tough to keep going. If that’s you, through Rabia’s talk of her studio proactice, I hope you find some courage and grace to push on.

You can find Rabia’s Winter 2017 collection, THREE RAVENS, here.

All images in this post belong to Rabia.

What do you create?

I design clothing as well as creating handcrafted hats, headpieces and jewellery for Sydney fashion label Ginny & Jude Designs.

How long has your practice been going?

I started Ginny & Jude Designs in 2008. At the time I made jewellery and handmade, very delicate feather headpieces from deadstock 1920s-1940s millinery trim I had sourced from Germany, France and USA. Five years ago I released my first fashion collection and I haven’t looked back. Apparel now accounts for the bulk of my business. 

Tell us about your studio. Is it a designated space? Or a space run from home? What does it look like? Do you share it with others?

Having always worked from home I would say that the term ‘studio’ has applied to my practice rather loosely. And since having a baby last year you can hardly describe it as a designated space anymore! There is a gated sunroom where all of my fabric, patterns, stock. and boxes, and boxes of trims and hat forms live, along with my partner’s copious music collection for his work as a dj and broadcaster. There is very limited space and it is a deeply unglamorous area which can best be described as organised chaos. I know where everything is, but to the untrained eye it would look quite mad! Whenever a new collection comes in I have to move everything around to try and make everything fit better. Most things hang off hooks on the back of a space divider and a set of industrial shelves. 

What does a typical day (or morning/afternoon/evening) look like in your studio?

Now that my baby is in home daycare once a week I actually have a dedicated work day which has been fantastic. I get to spread everything out all over the house and make a right mess. There’s no typical day for me anymore though. Now I just madly scramble to get whatever work I can get done as quickly as possible in the hours before 5pm.

How do you find your creative vein? Do you have a series of steps you follow to get into the right zone to work? Or some other way? Tell us about this.

Creativity has always been a fleeting and ephemeral thing for me. I take a lot of my inspiration from the world around me; from responding to fabrics or patterns, or looking at the way the land is shaped, the cadence of roofing, the curves of pathways. It has never been a ‘sit down and be creative’ kind of vibe. Having a baby has made being creative a very different prospect for me. I now have to snatch moments during nap time (when I’m not eating or doing a load of laundry) and often it’s hard to snap my brain around. I never really appreciated how much idleness is an important part of the creative process for me. To have a gap in your day to think, to create, to consider thoughtfully without constraints is actually incredibly important. 

I now have to take my time going for walks with the pram to organise my head when it comes to designing and creating. 

What are the biggest joys of your studio practice?

Having all the textures and colours of the many fabrics around me is the biggest joy. To actually see and feel them is probably where I get the biggest kick. Leafing through the fabric swatch cards is my happy place.

Any challenges?

I have always dreamed of having a dedicated studio space so for me the biggest challenge is not having everything set up ready to go when inspiration hits. Instead I have to methodically unpack and then pack up again every time which can quite take the spontaneous shine off it. 

If you could share something about studio practice with another creative just starting out, what would it be?

Expect nothing and you will always be surprised! And in the words of Anne Shirley tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes. Many years ago I had a hat pop-up at a shop owned by a friend of mine in Melbourne to coincide with Melbourne Cup. Part of the idea was to be actively creating in the shop during the week and she was so shocked at how much I swore and grimaced during the process of actually making a headpiece! 

Creating can be challenging and frustrating and utterly bewildering and even worse, the end product can sometimes be a shambles! But persevering and getting something right is just the most amazing feeling.  

A huge thank you for sharing some of your studio process with us Rabia!