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Designer Dreams in Hand

Posted on October 09 2018

Rachael Levey was interested in designing from an early age, going on to open the successful Fresh Fox Boutique in Freshwater
to showcase her clothing range. The shop closed this year when she decided to concentrate on her label ‘charley vella’.

Rachael spoke to COVERED. about her future plans and her new collection.

How did your love of fashion start? I’ve been sewing and creating my own designs since I was a young child and in high school was always wearing one of my own designs. I spent my spare time in fabric shops and at the sewing machine. It really was my first passion.

When and how did you launch your clothing label charley vella? It started in 2009 when I was living in Manly Vale when I designed and made some skirts for friends. The following year I moved to Byron Bay and started doing markets and launched with a single rack of skirts. Being aware of the limits of my pattern-making skills, the following year I found a manufacturer in Bali and my collections slowly expanded.

When did you open Fresh Fox in Freshwater? The boutique opened in February 2015, around six months after I moved back to the Northern Beaches. I ran a pop-up shop in Freshwater, so I knew the location was ideal for my label. Three years later Fresh Fox Boutique was a local institution.

Did you enjoy having the store and label? I just loved the Fresh Fox Boutique and met so many beautiful people every day. It was the perfect shop for my label charley vella which was exclusively stocked there. Having my own label at the shop added an extra layer of excitement to the whole experience. I also bought in other labels to give customers a good selection.

Why did you decide to move onto the next chapter? I loved that shop but the uncertainty of the shop lease, along with the demands of running both businesses on my own were taking their toll. There was less and less time for designing and I felt I’d lost sight of the reason the shop was set up in the first place - as an outlet for my label. I wanted to have a more balanced and creative life, and I knew if I switched my attentions to building charley vella, I could create this lifestyle.

What are you concentrating on now? The production and the release of the summer collections and planning open weekends at the warehouse in Balgowlah which will coincide with these launches. I’m finalising designs for the AW19 collection as well as starting to get ideas together for Spring/Summer next year. 

When is your new season being launched? The Summer collection ‘Feel Every Day’ will be launched on October 26 to October 28 in the Balgowlah warehouse, online and in stores. We also have a High Summer collection ‘Jungle’ to be released late November. Each collection will be launched in conjunction with an open weekend at the warehouse in Roseberry Street, Balgowlah which I share with local artist Candyss Crosby.

Where do you get inspiration for designs? I love people watching and seeing how fabrics move and fit the body. I like to reference the latest colours and general trends from Europe and New York and I am often drawn to a slightly retro look. My designs have a focus on practical elements and are designed with women over 30 in mind, so I like to take different elements from modern styles and come up with something original, feminine, practical and not too short!

Where and how can you buy your designs? We are not open to the public every day but we are looking forward to having some open weekends over summer so lookout for those. 

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