I am very excited about todays post, featuring the brand new Winter 2014 collection featuring amazing bed linen & products, and some Q&A with the multitalented Tom Adair, Creative director of Abode Living.
Thank you Tom for your time, expertise and lending us these amazing images from the new catalogue!
Q & A
Congratulations on the new collection and catalogue for 2014, what was your inspiration/creative direction for this new range of products?
Thank you, I always look forward to the winter catalogues. To me winter is the best time to get cosy and stay in bed! Warm blankets, goose down duvets, flannel and lots of layering…HEAVEN. This winter our creative direction was to create a warm and layered look based around our 2014 Flannel and new cashmere loungewear range.
Flannel typically doesn’t get a great wrap, as it’s never really been done to a luxury standard nor in a desirable colour palette. Over the past few years we have been working really hard to change that, and in doing so have gained a very loyal following for our quality flannel. This winter we wanted to try and show how it can be styled with new and existing products from our range in a contemporary way.
This season to have a consistent theme in our imagery and catalogue we hired a beautiful location on the Mornington Peninsula called Orchard Keepers. We felt that it would be a cohesive look and complementary to both our bedding and clothing. The location was very easy to work in; naturally great styling, lots of fresh light and a variety of textures and backgrounds to shoot against.
Luxury and quality have definitely become more of a focus for us, as we are finding that customers are happy to pay a higher price for products that will last.
There is a timeless and almost Scandinavian feel to some of your catalogue images, how do you go about creating these images and do you do all the styling in-house?
We don’t purposely try to have a Scandinavian look to our imagery; I think it just comes naturally from the simplicity of our products and our choice of colours within the range. Because we work with some of the finest materials in the world, we try and let that speak for itself, rather than trying to over-design the products. In a way I guess that’s why Scandinavian design works so well, simplicity, minimalism and natural beauty of the material.
All of our design, photography, styling, manufacturing, graphic design and catalogue is done in-house, so the look you see is a direct result of how we feel the products are best presented. Working so closely together we are all on the same page about how we want the brand to look and feel. When taking photos we feel very strongly about shooting on location as we like to present our products in real-life situations. We feel it’s easier to for the customer to connect with our concept if they can relate to it.
Abode Living is a well-established family run business, having been founded in 1991. When did you join the business and how do you think the market has changed during this time?
Abode was originally started after Robert Adair (my uncle) sold Adairs in search of creating a more fashion focused product at an affordable price. Back then, the only fashionable bedding brands were Calvin Klein and Frette, which were frightfully expensive compared to what the Australian market was used to. Abode was created to fill that gap in the market, which we still successfully fill today.
I studied fashion at RMIT and had a clothing label for the better part of five years, which gave me a real-life crash course in textiles, patterns, graphics, dying, printing, styling and a little bit of business. Looking back it was probably the most valuable five years of my ‘education’ as I learnt from mistakes and really learned how to develop my skillset. It was a case of sink or swim. Eventually I sank, but Robert took me on-board in 2007 to develop the sleepwear range at Abode.
As my confidence, experience and knowledge grew I took on more and more responsibility, purely for the fact that I loved the challenge and really enjoyed developing really nice products that weren’t just clothing. Since then, I have moved into the role of creative director which is quite a varied role within such a small family run business. On any given week, I could be doing any of the following; product development, photography, styling, creating ads, catalogue layouts, website graphics, unloading deliveries in the warehouse or sourcing new products from overseas. It’s very satisfying. We now have a very talented fashion designer who designs the sleep and loungewear range, and we are really pleased with the new direction that she has taken. This season we are launching some of the finest cashmere pieces you will find anywhere in the world.
Since I came to Abode, I have noticed a few trends and changes within the industry. There have definitely been a lot of smaller start-up businesses with a ‘louder and brighter’ look, with an artistic and quirky element being incorporated. More and more brands working on the ‘fast fashion’ concept, where products are made on trend, very quickly and aimed at a specific price point. Homewares and accessories have definitely become more popular, probably a flow on from the expert styling in some of Australia’s interior magazines (we have some very talented stylists in Australia). The readers often try and translate those looks into their home. It’s not uncommon for customers to come in-store with our catalogue or a magazine and say, “This is what I want my bedroom to look like”. The accessibility of the internet has also bought in competition and new trends from overseas.
In your opinion, why is well designed & quality bed linen so important?
I am a big believer in buying better quality. For the most part it makes you feel good to know you have ‘the best’ and secondly and more importantly it will last and perform longer.
Bed linen is one of those products that can somewhat be judged on price, and you get what you pay for. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and it’s a buyers beware market, but as a general guide, it’s true. If you see 1000 thread count sheets for less than $300-350 per sheet, it’s probably not great quality. Thread count is very deceptive and there are many more factors that combine in order to produce a quality sheet. For more information about thread count and sheet quality, visit this very informative website http://www.truthaboutthreadcount.com/ .
Good quality bed linen will last longer because no shortcuts have been taken while making it. Cotton species to fibre length, grade and mixing to the finishing technique (which is best done by Italians) should all be highly considered. And if cared for correctly your bed linen will last you a long time.
And who doesn’t love to jump into bed with fresh luxury sheets! There’s nothing like it!