Getting to Know Wendy Voon’s Knits
Wendy Voon is the owner and designer of Wendy Voon knits, a Melbourne-based contemporary knitwear label established in 2005. The label reflects Wendy’s belief in timeless, elegant and thoughtful design that transcends seasonal trends. Wendy Voon’s knitwear combines contemporary design with elegant forms, textures and the finest yarns. Each piece is soft, luxurious and highly wearable. We caught up with her to find out how the dream of opening her own store began.
When did you start your label? Can you talk us through that process?
The label began in 2005, when I developed my first collection during my final year of studying Textile Design at RMIT. I was fortunate enough to have my first collection picked up by a Melbourne retailer, who was also an agent for a few other interesting independent Melbourne labels. From there my label began to be stocked in high-end boutiques across Australia. As these type of boutiques began to close down, I focused on selling and gaining exposure using high end design markets around Australia and selling online. Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to secure a temporary lease on a shopfront on Therry Street which gave me a base to sell directly to my customers, and also the chance to showcase the work of some of my favourite local designers.
Were there any difficulties along the way?
It has been a long and challenging process to get to where I am now, as a small independent label with no financial backing, facing the challenges of a tough retail climate.
What has been one of your biggest achievements?
To be where I am now; running my own label and having a shop, following my own ethics and principals on how this should be done.
Why is Wendy Voon knits better than its competitors?
In this era of fast fashion and globalisation where many stores in Melbourne, can also be found in other parts of the world selling the same thing, my store has been noted by both local and international customers as offering beautiful, high quality pieces that cannot be found in many other places.
Can you tell me about the materials you source; what they are and where they come from and why?
We use natural fibres (except for a metallic yarn). Our alpaca comes from Peru, because Peru is the biggest producer of Alpaca and they offer the best selection and quality of Alpaca yarns. Our merino wool, linen and cotton comes from Italy. We use mainly Italian yarn, because they are one of the best at producing beautiful high-quality yarns. Although Australia is one of the main producers of merino wool, we do not have many proper commercial high quality processed yarns on offer. I have worked with the same yarn agent since I started my label in 2005 and I trust the yarn he sources. Currently, the Italian processed merino wool we use is sourced from a farm in Tasmania.
Have you had anyone famous buy your clothing before?
I am very bad at spotting famous people, but I was recently commissioned to make a special piece for the wedding of a MasterChef winner.
Why did you choose Queen Vic Market?
The Queen Victoria Market has always held a special place in my heart. I have been a long-time customer (since my student days), I worked at a fruit and vegetable stall (Stall 83), as well as at a deli (Bill’s Farm) whilst studying and establishing my label. It’s a Melbourne icon, and it’s been a great way to expose my label to both interstate and international visitors who come to the Market.
What’s your favourite piece for spring?
I have a confession to make , we are still designing for spring, so my favourite piece is still in my head!
You can find Wendy Voon Knits at 139 Victoria Street.