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Lorenza the Label is a hand made, individually crafted, made to order fashion label based in Melbourne. Using bespoke fabrics and high quality notions, every piece is cut, sewn and hand finished by Lorenza herself.

Sewing blog

Blog about dressmaking and sewing in the life of Lorenza.

Blog 1.8 Showcasing at VMAFF

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Very excited to announce I've been invited to take part in this years Virgin Australian Fashion Festival. I'll be showcasing in the Fashion Advocate's runway celebrating Australian made fashion.

The Fashion Advocate Runway: 11 March 2017, 6.30pm

You can read all about it here:

"The Fashion Advocate Runway is a celebration of Australian made fashion and unique style. Bringing together independent labels from around Australia, The Fashion Advocate Runway will showcase the cool, the quirky and the quintessential look of Australian fashion, as well as promoting local production and ethical manufacturing.

Claire Goldsworthy is the editor of The Fashion Advocate, a Melbourne-based magazine and blog dedicated to Australian fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. Her motto, ‘buy less, choose well, shop local’ stems from her aspiration to create a liberal and dynamic future for the Australian fashion industry.  By promoting ‘slow fashion’, Australian made fashion, ethical and sustainable fashion, Claire is determined to develop a market that Australian fashion designers can thrive in, instead of struggle in."

Read Claris Goldsworthy's blog about the show here: VAMFF highlight: The Fashion Advocate Australian made runway:

And you can buy tickets here:


Blog 1.7 Wedding dress: Part 1

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How does a dressmaker find her wedding dress? It's a conundrum, it's a nightmare, it's probably what I was fearing the most about getting married.

I was worried I'd hate everything. I was worried they'd fit terribly while an assistant gushed at how marvellous I looked. I was worried about spending a tonne of money on something I'd be constantly thinking 'Could I have made this for a fraction of the price?'.

So I made one hard and fast rule about my dress. It had to be something I couldn't make myself. No clean lines, no tulle, no pleats, no satin and absolutely not strapless! Because that's all I've ever worn and made for myself.

I wanted intricate, heavily beaded, sequins, Hollywood glamour, hand sewing, something I could never see myself putting in the hours, labor, tears and time. And also... I don't like lace. That cuts out about 95% of the wedding dresses in Melbourne.

Thank goodness my Matron of Honour was getting married nine months before me and had done the hard yards of dress shopping and could tell me the heavily detailed dress of my dreams was narrowed down to two stores in Melbourne. But that didn't stop her making me try on meringues, lace concoctions and some of the most ridiculous boned-bodice-to-the-thighs dresses around. All of which I hilariously enjoyed!

We finally, seriously, headed to Karen Willis Holmes (KWH).  Where I'd looked at their dresses online and had convinced myself I wanted the Caitlyn.

The best thing about the KWH beaded dresses is that they're stretchy and oh-so-comfy. Which means you can eat AND drink wine on your wedding day. Hooray!

I tried on the Caitlyn and liked it but had quite the nagging feeling it didn't fit well around the shoulders and bust and made me look a bit... frumpy. I left assuring myself I could make it work but even as I paid a small fortune for my 'miracle' bra that feeling just wouldn't go away.

I returned the following Saturday alone (which I highly recommend anyone dress shopping does as you need that space for forming your own ideas of what you like and want without any else's opinions but your own) I tried the Caitlyn again with my miracle fix, low back bra and was still frowning in the mirror when the girls convinced me to try on the Anya.

The Anya dress was identical with the sequinned beading as the Caitlyn but instead had a structured bodice and very thin spaghetti straps. Alas I didn't feel dressed up or like it was fit for a wedding and the worst thing was... I loved it!

"What's wrong with it? I can see you love it" said one of the girls. I answered "It doesn't feel dressy enough, I don't feel covered enough or err demure enough for a wedding". The girls started adding different silk overlays and suggested having sleeves sewn on, put a veil on me and then I saw how the dress completely changed from party frock to bride.

It was starting to come together now. I could look like a 'bride' for the ceremony then take off the sleeves and overlay and still have my ultimate party dress for the reception.

I asked if I could go stand near the windows at the front of the store in the natural light. That's when I saw myself staring and grinning in the mirror and I knew this was the dress I wanted to be married in.

Part 2 next: The dressmaking, the finishing touches and the photos.

All photos courtesy of Karen Willis Holmes:

Blog 1.6 Shortpress Interview

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Interview I had with Shortpress late last year after winning one of their small business grants.

Kultivate winners’ series: cutting it with Lorenza The Label

No matter what stunts supermarket chains try to pull to lure us through their doors, there will always be people who walk right past on course for the independent grocer. And they’ll happily pay more for the privilege. But this isn’t done in vain, nor is it [always] intended to be a middle finger to domineering conglomerates; it’s because they value quality. There might not be many of these types of consumer, but there’s enough of them, and Lorenza Doyle knows it. Doyle also knows that while Australia has recently seen large clothing chains like Topman, H&M and Uniqlo land on its shores, their cheap, mass produced offerings – just like the supermarket chains – simply don’t ‘cut it' for all of us. Excuse the unavoidable pun.   

For Doyle it’s all about quality and individuality – that’s why she launched her Melbourne-based clothing business, Lorenza The Label. With a passion for sewing and ten years’ experience in the graphic design industry, she’s the perfect candidate to bring said individuality and quality to the fashion space – and so far, so good.

Doyle speaks to ShortPress about some of the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ of her journey so far:

Describe the ‘moment of inspiration’ that led you to start Lorenza The Label?  

“It was quite a while ago when I think about it. Back in 1999 living in Perth, I spent $120 on a skirt from Atlas clothing in Fremantle that did one of a kind garments in sizes eight to fourteen, thinking no-one else will have this skirt. I wore it to a festival and saw another girl wearing it and felt immediately annoyed and like I'd wasted my money.

“At that point I was already sewing simple skirts and jackets and making screen-printed tee-shirts. But I knew I had a long way to go to improve my sewing skills to the point they’d pass for professional and sell. Fast-forward ten years and I'm incredibly good at sewing now!”

What’s the toughest challenge you’ve experienced?

“Money, Isn't everyone's money?! I resigned from a job I was unhappy in and ended up in debt, but this gave me the gift of time to create my first collection. I’d never have had the clarity and mindset to do this whilst in such a stressful work environment each and every day. Leaving that job was the best decision I ever made.”

Do you have any myths to dispel about entrepreneurialism?

“Starting a small business in Australia is easy! Especially compared to other countries. It took me a few hours of filling out forms, a credit card and some moments of ‘am I really going ahead with this?’ I had a registered business name, an ABN, a web domain – the lot. There's nothing stopping you starting your own business. You need Google, a Mastercard and some real tenacity. Oh and a great accountant who gives you advice on the order in which to do things.”

What’s been the biggest surprise on your journey so far?

“Nothing has really surprised me. As I do have a design background which exponentially helped me every step of the way, I haven’t had to pay someone to do my branding, website, sample making or pattern making. I've done it all myself. I also grew up in a home that ran a small business so possibly a lot of things that come naturally to me may not for everyone else.

“I was aware of costs, thoroughly researched and spoke to as many people in and outside the fashion industry. I really knew what I was in for. I listened with an open mind and also listened to a lot of negativity, which I always pushed to the back of my mind. People who aren’t doing what they want with their lives can be real negative Nancy’s about yours.

“I also used friends as sounding boards asking for their feedback on everything from marketing to pricing and took it on board as I do with my current job when listening to clients every day.

“Never think you know everything. Even after sewing for ten years and studying for two including a year of couture dress making. I recently watched six hours of sewing lessons from the US and it taught me more industry techniques than I'd ever learned studying and has cut down my production times.” 

If you had to start over again, what would you do differently?

“Not faff about so much and make excuses. Put yourself out there sooner rather than later. A lot of people said things after I’d launched like ‘well that took you long enough to do’ or ‘what took you so long?’ and I had to acknowledge that and say ‘yes this did take me a long time to do! And also a lot of hard work!’”

What motivates you – daily?

“Coming home and seeing my industrial sewing machine, honestly I love it. When I see it, all I want to do is sew. As well as the lovely comments on social media, accolades from friends and colleagues and having people from the fashion industry say they can't believe I did everything myself; or that the construction on a skirt was the best sewing they’d seen in seventy years. That's the stuff that really makes me think this is what I'm good at and this is what I'm meant to be doing.”

How do you feel when you think of the future?

“That this is a slow build sort of business. It's not going to happen overnight; people are too used to paying $15 for a top from H&M and don't understand the time and effort that goes into making a custom fit, bespoke designed garment. But then there are people who actually do... and they are my clients.

“I realise that client base will take time to grow and I've still got years to build my reputation and brand.”

First published on Shortpress, Kultivate Winners Series.