Under Their Spell: An Interview With Spell & the Gypsy Collective

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Designs from Down Under… an exclusive interview with the creative minds behind Spell & the Gypsy Collective’s collaboration with Free People.

This post comes from our blog intern, Natalie.

Hailing from the whimsical wonderland that is Byron Bay, the brand Spell & the Gyspy Collective has established itself as a mecca of gypsy-inspired silhouettes and flowing garments, sure to leave you lusting for an island vacation or music festival. In short, Spell’s beautiful clothing is for the wanderer, the creative soul, and for those who live their lives free.

Their unique patterns and vintage lace have left me awe-inspired for years, so you can imagine my excitement when I caught wind of the collaboration brewing between the creative minds here at Free People and the Aussie company. From their design process to the inspiration behind their intricate patterns, get to know Spell & the Gypsy Collective, from the sister duo themselves — Isabella and Lizzy!

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Describe Spell and the Gypsy Collective in 10 words or less.
A label by 2 Aussie sisters created from their wildest dreams (that’s 11 words)

Does environment (Byron Bay) influence your aesthetic? If so, how?
How can it not? We are inspired by so much around us, especially the laid-back lifestyle where everyone lives with one foot in the ocean. It’s hard sometimes, as we need to keep reminding ourselves that not everyone is ok wearing a sheer little dress… We have had to learn to put lining in our garments for our sisters who live in the city. But yes, Byron Bay is kind of the third character in our story — she’s our muse.

Tell us how your latest collaboration with FP came to fruition…
When we create our collections we deliberate for weeks over which colors work best in our prints. We finally settle on a few colourways but sometimes, months later, we stumble upon a strike-off  we didn’t put into production and wish we’d made it. It happened recently with a gorgeous fall-inspired colourway for Folk Town, which we took immediately to our girls at Free People who loved and adored it as much as we did. The best part is that the Free People buyers hit us up for an exclusive style, and we said, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?!!’

What’s your favorite piece?
We’re loving the gown in the darker, fall inspired Babushka print (we’re kicking ourselves that we didn’t make this gorgeous colourway ourselves!), especially the way Free People shot it in this gorgeous warm fall sunlight!

The fabrics, the patterns… is there a story behind these amazing dresses?
For each collection, we tweak little design elements — lower a neckline, widen the skirt for extra skirt-swish, taper the sleeves… We literally sit in our design studio and play dress-ups! The Babushka print was inspired by vintage floral scarves with gorgeous square borders and, for Folk Town, we wanted the dreamiest 60s inspired floral ever! We have a textile designer with whom we work closely on each print, and Isabella is fast becoming obsessive about getting the prints just right.

What does being “free” mean to you?
Isabella — Being with my family and friends and enjoying every moment! Plus a margarita wouldn’t go astray!
Lizzy — Creativity. I spent most of my 20s and early 30s feeling trapped in an unfulfilling career, even though I was a freelancer, travelling all over the world. Now I find total freedom expressing my creativity through my work, even though I run a business and work every minute of every day!

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Shop the collection here, and here!

Follow Natalie on Instagram and FP Me

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