16 Jul 2021

Meet Tara Whalley: the newest fashion designer to join Jumbled

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The Jumbled team first met Tara Whalley in store, when her beautiful husband Andrew helped her drag several duffle bags up the front steps. Their eyes grew bigger with each bag she opened… just WAIT until you see the colour explosion of pure happiness that she has designed!

Tara is a Melbourne based fashion designer, creating original textiles and artworks that are all about uplifting colours and bright botanicals. 

Tara is so clever, nice and talented that Jumbled just HAD to get to know her better! Read on as Tara shares her journey so far as a fashion designer. 

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When did you start designing fashion?
After studying the BA Arts Textile Design at RMIT, I moved to Guatemala to work with war affected women to create new products for their business. So I was designing a lot of accessories and homewares, and also freelancing and creating some prints for brands I admired. I intended to stay for a few months, but fell in love with Guatemala and lived there for a year. When I returned to Melbourne, a few of my friends were starting brands, a dream I had my whole life, and so I was encouraged to 'just do it' and start. I launched my first hand dyed clothing collection at the 2015 We Wear Future Exhibition as a part of VAMFF. The collection sold so quickly on the night, I realised I had to quickly make more!

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Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?
I have been drawing from a young age, I used to draw a lot of clothing ideas. I would staple pages of recycled paper together like a little book, and draw lots of outfits. An outfit I remember drawing as a child were these flared pants with flames around the base- who knows - maybe I'll make them a reality one day! I also had an interest in illustrating books, and I think creating prints for clothing is a fun way to overlap those interests. I remember going to interviews to a lot of different creative courses after highschool, but as soon as I walked into the Textile Design interview, I knew it was for me - I love how you can apply prints to so many different things.

Where do you draw inspiration?
All my prints are tied to memories and personal experiences. I'll often take photos of flowers on walks or hikes, or start noticing colour combinations I am drawn to. Collections are often reflections on time away, or studies of ornaments that are significant to me.

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What does a standard day look like for you?
I spend most days painting and creating textile prints, some days for my label, other days for my Freelance Textile Design clients. I really love it because I use lots of different materials and techniques and really paint up a storm. I'll have days when I visit my Melbourne makers and suppliers and pick up stock, which is really fun and nice being able to visit suppliers really easily. I also spend a lot of evenings tagging and preparing orders to send. I love ending the day hanging out with my husband Andrew or having a dance with friends.

When are you at your happiest?
Painting, dancing, having a laugh with friends/family. Also when a new batch of work is out in the world and people are enjoying it, responding to it and having their own adventures in it. That brings me so much joy.

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The Jumbled Quickie

The first thing you do when you have spare time: See family, work on a creative project that is more of a one off then something for the business or go hiking with Andrew

Guilty pleasure: When Andrew creates the swing tags for me - oh and pizza rolls!

Dream Collaboration: Jumbled, Gucci, Urban Outfitters, Gorman

Hidden Talent: I'm a fast print designer and I'm great at parallel parking

One thing from your bucket list:
A roadtrip across America and to open a shop

Go-to meal to cook when you have friends over?
Sushi Bowls and a welcome cocktail

Song that gets you on the dancefloor: 90s rnb/early 2000s


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