EYES & EDGE: When did you first realize that you were an artist? Was there a turning point for you or was it love at first fingerpaint as a child? How does it help you transmute ,transform and/or transcend?
GOOLiFE: I’ve always been creative, I think all children start off that way, but as we grow a lot of people are convinced that they are no good at being creative by a world that commodifies art and other creative pursuits. I find art and creating in general to be very grounding. There’s something really human about making something with your hands, it links you to something external and connects you to a lineage of creators. It’s also an amazing release! I’ve been painting a lot lately and I always feel so good by the end, like all of my busy thoughts clear out and I’m left feeling very clear and calm. Making clothing is really transformative, or maybe affirmative is a better word to use. I use clothing as a tool to explore different parts of myself. It allows me to embody different parts of my creative mind that otherwise wouldn’t be seen.
EYES & EDGE: Is there a certain art or cultural movement that influences you the most? What initially engaged you with that type of art and what about it moves you?
GOOLiFE: Festival culture is a big one for sure. It’s just this incredible hot mess of people who are so hell bent on radical self expression. It’s so fun and inspiring! I love seeing so many people in one place being so playful and extra with how they dress and adorn themselves, something that is so lacking in main stream culture these days. Clothing can be such an incredible tool for self expression when people allow themselves to play and experiment with it. I see it so much in indigenous cultures too, this process of adornment beyond what is just functional, it’s such a beautiful human process.
EYES & EDGE: Goolife is so fun and funky. What affect do you wish it to have on people when they see or wear your art? What kind of feeling do you want them to have when they put on your clothes?
GOOLiFE: I want them to feel like themselves – truly and powerfully. I want people to use it as a tool to explore their own creativity and the more colourful sides of their personality. I want to empower people to feel confident to be themselves, as loudly as they wish!
EYES & EDGE: Do you find yourself mainly as a designer, or are there other types of art that you engage in? On the flipside, do you have any nerdy left brain interests that intrigue you?
GOOLiFE: I love to paint and draw and also to cultivate plants, grow and cook food (these all feel like creative practices to me). Fashion definitely takes up most of my time as it’s the one that I make my living from, but I’m hoping to create more balance in my life with this. I’d love to be able to devote more time to other creative pursuits. As for nerdy left brain stuff, I am so fascinated by nature and the universe. I am deeply passionate about the current state of the environment and find it really hard to be in an industry where I feel like no matter how hard I try, my work with always contribute to the problem of consumerism and the amount of waste that it creates. It’s a constant struggle that my two greatest passions are fundamentally opposing, so I work really hard to try and minimize harm as much as I can along my supply chain.
EYES & EDGE: How long have you been designing and what was starting up like for you? Was it a smooth process or did you find yourself with some trial and error?
GOOLiFE: I started GOOLiFE Clothing 5 years ago and there’s definitely been lots of trial and error, there still is! It’s a constant and steep learning curve as I push myself harder and further every year to try and produce clothing that is well designed, high quality and as sustainable and ethical as possible. Money was also a bit of a struggle starting up as I didn’t really have any. I’m really lucky and privileged to be from a country (Australia) where the government offers financial support to people starting their own business. Also to be part of a community of creators in Melbourne who are incredibly supportive and inspiring. GOOLiFE wouldn’t be here without them!
EYES & EDGE: Tell us about your process, a day in the life of the studio? Are there certain rituals you have when it comes to setting the tone for your day to create?
GOOLiFE: I work from home (which I love) and so my day usually starts with a stretch and meditation in my garden – it’s the best way to get myself ready for a day in my studio. TBH though, most days aren’t that interesting. At the moment it’s just staying on top of things. I try and get the emails and social media stuff out of the way early and then it’s packing and sending orders and sewing. In about a month I’ll start working on the new collection though, which is when it’s gets a bit more fun. Then it will be days devoted to drawing, sketching, painting, draping, patternmaking, fitting, print colour tests, fabric testing, grading, research, photoshoots etc (hopefully with some spare time to eat and sleep). Fashion really isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be lol.
EYES & EDGE: Do you have any particular heros or sheroes that you aspire to? How about Music, smells, sights, places- that inspire you and push you forward?
GOOLiFE: I struggle to find heros that don’t disappoint in some way actually. Like, maybe they’re a great designer but have bad ethics. My community inspires me though, I’m really lucky to be surrounded by so many powerful creatives here in Melbourne. As for places, sights and smells, probably India! And lots of places in Asia. I love to travel, and I do as much as I can. I get so inspired by cultures that aren’t so rigid as the white, western world.
EYES & EDGE: I love how you call your art “ ethical psychedelic gender-neutral streetwear.” This covers a nice broad range of people! Can you tell me more about this? How does this “ all inclusion” fit into your principles and what you saw perhaps missing in the fashion industry?
GOOLiFE: The fashion industry is pretty much built around being exculsive and it’s a really disgusting, outdated, boys-club attitude. Like if you want to be fashionable then you have to wear the right clothes, have the right kind of hair, be perilously thin, incredibly tall, be typically pretty in a euro-centric way, wear makeup all the time (but also look great with no makeup on), have incredible sex-appeal, be aesthetically pleasing and exist for the viewing pleasure of others etc etc blah blah bleugh. And it’s just not REAL. I don’t believe fashion should be about anyone but yourself. Dress for yourself, make yourself feel good! You don’t need to have a particular body type or skin tone to be fashionable (or beautiful or valid, just saying).
The reason I call Goolife gender neutral (GN) clothing is because clothing does not have gender. (Also GN clothing is not exclusive to GN people). I perceive that the gendering of clothing and the subsequent separation of gender though clothing can be quite exclusionary, (especially to people who are/identify as trans, NB, intersex, queer, fluid etc). Gender is a construct that we have placed upon ourselves, upon each other and upon fashion.
When I started out, I was making clothes that were purposely neutral. They didn’t look like men’s clothes, they didn’t look like women’s clothes and they could be comfortably worn by anyone without being perceived as gender-specific. As I’ve moved further along my journey with Goolife I have started making clothes that could appear to be more traditionally gendered, this was a choice that I made to start to push peoples (and my own) constructs around gendered clothing. It’s easy for people to accept the concept of GN clothing when the clothing looks neutral, it’s much harder when it’s a skirt or a swimsuit. So I wanted to explore these concepts in a physical way and see how it would be received. I like the idea of challenging what is perceived to be because perception is such a fluid concept. Much like gender.
EYES & EDGE: Living in Australia, you have a lot of different influences than here! What surrounds you and that you find yourself infiltrating into your art ie:) landscape, people, animals, fruits etc.
GOOLiFE: We’re so lucky in Australia to live on such beautiful land. I’m so inspired by the forests and beaches, rivers, mountains, wildlife and by the indigenous people who are the rightful owners of this land and their stories of The Dreaming. The Dreamtime stories are the creation stories and considered to be a place where every spirit exists forever. The Dreaming era preceded our own and was when spirit beings formed and created everything. The stories are really beautiful and psychedelic and help me to see, understand and connect with the land in new and magical ways.
EYES & EDGE: Your happy place. Describe it to me.
GOOLiFE: Immersed in Nature, just about anywhere in the world.
EYES & EDGE: 2019 seems to be all about self- care! What are some of your favorite self-care rituals to keep you on your A-game?
GOOLiFE: Get plenty of sleep, eat really good healthy food, spend time in nature, go swimming in a lake, river or ocean, avoid work if I don’t feel up to it and Chinese Medicine treatments and herbs.
EYES & EDGE: Do you ever experience artists block? Any advice or techniques to share with other artists about how to move through those blocks?
GOOLiFE: Yes! Doesn’t everyone? My best strategy is making clothing for myself/free sewing or drawing to get ideas flowing without attachment to the outcome. It just helps me to get everything moving again and takes away the pressure.
EYES & EDGE: Do you have any Australian phrases or lingo to share with us that is fun? Ie: budgie smuggler lol.
GOOLiFE: My Mum always says Fair Dinkum! And that always makes me lol
EYES & EDGE: Do you have a life quote or two to live by ? Words of Wisdom for the people?
GOOLiFE: Love is the most powerful healer you have access to, use it!
Do no unnecessary harm.