You know that feeling on summer evenings when the light is golden, your skin is sunkissed, your hair has those money-can’t-buy salty waves and life seems easy, breezy and beautiful. Well, that timeless feeling is the intent – and arguably, achievement – of an Assembly Label garment.
Nude hues, Euro-esque linen textures and comfortable elegant cuts all make for an instant beach-chic vibe we would quite like to channel daily.
And thanks to Assembly Label’s creators, Damien Horan and Dan Oliver, this is no longer an unattainable sartorial dream.
In time for their latest collection launch, Damien, the Creative Director half of the founding pair, talks us through bringing the brand to life and what lies at the core of its characteristic style and prime market position.
When, why and how did Assembly start?
In 2011 Dan and I began working together on a boutique label with a focus on quality-made clothing for the Australian coastal market. There were (and still are) many learnings taken from starting our own business from the ground up but after a few attempts we landed on a more refined, well-oiled business model and Assembly Label was born. Our aim was to create aspirational, high quality designer products at prices within reach of a wide audience. We saw a unique opportunity to strike a perfect balance between clean, modern design aesthetics and the laid-back coastal lifestyle shared by many of our fellow Australians.
What were you guys doing before going into business together?
We both worked for large-scale commercial fashion companies, often together, learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry. We also lived together and shared a lot interests like music, surfing, architecture and design. But on top of this, we were unified by an underlying drive and ambition to create something we could call our own and share with the world.
What would you say are your three most fundamental brand values?
1) Authenticity: It’s imperative for any brand to stay authentic and true to itself as that will always resonates with an audience and in turn build a strong engaging community.
2) A love of simplicity: Everything we touch is highly considered and celebrates a love of form and simplicity. Our designs are free of fuss, which we believe is key to their appeal.
3) Timeless sophistication: We are constantly dedicated to creating pieces that withstand the test of time. Our creations place emphasis on quality and functionality, which we have found is a high priority to the modern consumer.
How would you describe your design aesthetic in three words?
Clean, straight forward & relaxed
If the label was personified who would it be?
What kind of physical/emotional space do you try to create in your stores?
The store atmosphere and consumer experience is hugely important to us and the overarching Assembly Label vision. It’s all about creating memorable and compelling experience for the consumer, so they’re developed in harmony with the brands’ principles and built upon design simplicity and consumer functionality.
How does your bricks and mortar business compare to online?
We definitely see them as two roads leading into one. We appreciate the progression and convenience of shopping from the home but the tangible experience of shopping in a store environment is still very alive too. On a practical level, a large percentage of our international community is unable to experience the stores so we try and create an equally enjoyable online environment.
How do you hope someone will feel when wearing Assembly?
Empowered to go about their everyday life in comfort and style. We want the customer to have complete satisfaction knowing they are wearing something of substance and quality that will last a long time.
Where are the collections designed? Do you have a favourite go-to place for igniting your inspiration?
The collections are usually designed in Sydney where we are continually inspired by nature and our coastal surrounds. Bondi was home to our first store but travel plays a big part in our design process, particularly Tokyo at the moment.
Can you talk us through the journey from initial concept all the way through to the finished product sitting in store on the coat-hanger?
After the inspiration gathering stage, we create mood boards and a theme for each collection. Line drawings and designs get refined and eventually turned into a carefully curated collection, which is sent off to suppliers, crafted into physical pieces and shipped to our shores for delivery to stores.
What prompted the move into swimwear?
Swimwear was a very natural evolution for us – it reflects the coastal undertones of the brand and sits back effortlessly with our ready to wear collections, imbuing the brand’s spirit of sea-side leisure.
And now bed linen too – is this the start of a further foray into homewares?
Absolutely, we have recently launched an expertly crafted, pre washed bed linen collection, comprising quilt covers, pillowslips and sheets. From day-one the plan has been to keep expanding our offering to cater to our customer’s various lifestyle needs.