Brands from our own backyard teaching us that basic isn't boring.

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

It's 2021 (exhale) and trailing the previous year that was is, a simplified approach to well - everything. Less travel, a reduced work schedule, limited reasons to get dressed up and for some, a lot of time to rethink what a wardrobe that matches this new lifestyle looks like.

The goal? an uncomplicated approach to fashion that doesn't compromise on quality or style. The solution: Australian ready-to-wear label Esse taking on this new consumer consciousness.

Founder and creative director Charlotte Hicks opens up in the House about her desire to encourage a slow fashion landscape. Pour a tea, click the link and scroll (gently) while she brings you over to the slow side.

Who is the ESSE woman?

I’ve always said she’s real and authentic. For me, she appreciates heritage and classicism but is modern. There is a simplicity and minimalism that she subscribes to, not just in her clothes, but in her style - what she does and what she surrounds herself with. She subscribes to a certain minimalism because she has a sense of humility and a sense of awareness about her. I think Minimalism to her is about enjoying simple pleasures, appreciating detail and valuing a level of quality and luxury. She appreciates luxury because of what is means, an appreciation for a craft and a certain artisanal integrity. However, she still has the awareness and humility to know that indulging shouldn’t come at a cost and it should be without compromising the world around her.

When did you start designing? Is this what you have always wanted to do?

Always...since I was like 14. My Dad is a jewellery designer so I used to watch him sketch.

Where do you draw inspiration from? What do you do when you’re struggling?

If I am struggling - I play with fabric. Inspiration is sort of everywhere for me. I always think about my woman, what she wants what she needs. It might be more artistic influences, or something more simple like the way a fabric falls. I do spend a lot of time sketching. It is sort of my favourite thing, mediative and relaxing. Sometimes though it is fabric is first, I tend to have forever fabrics in my mind I have a box of fabrics I know I will use at some point. I drape a lot on the mannequin and myself! I love to play with pieces I have, cut them up, evolve and develop from past ideas. Let new, weird and wonderful ideas happen from there.

What is your ultimate accessory paired with your favourite Esse pieces?

Ohhhhhhh That's hard….. A piece of jewellery? A great shoe? A Bag?

2020 was a challenging year for the Australian fashion industry, how did you stay relevant and motivated?

I was actually incredibly fortunate in 2020 with a lot of amazing things that came out of the year but it wasn’t without it's craziness. Riding the highs and the lows! Either way with every challenge its learnings and opportunities. Most importantly there is a collective shift towards more things I am passionate about. More of a focus on the values I hope the brand explores. So if collective we are all focusing on being better in a lot of ways that thats the best thing to come out of 2020. To stay relevant listen to your intuition….And to say motivated….Well just do what lights you up, focus on what gives you purpose.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Always follow your intuition it is never wrong.


Photography: Elle Abignano

Apparel: Esse

Shoes: Jacquemus

Bag: Nanushka Available at The Outnet

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