Tengdahl: Slowly does it for this luxury and resort wear designer

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Tengdahl Dress

For many brands, a vision of success is expansion, growth and increased sales. But Brisbane-based brand Tengdahl has a different motive. With sustainability and ethical production at the centre of its values, founder and CEO Julie Tengdahl says the brand’s core goal now is to stay small.

Tengdahl is Australian owned, designed and made, and has been since day one when the label was founded in 1986. Over the last 30+ years the brand has produced high-fashion resort wear and staple pieces in unique and high-quality fabrics. The brand’s essence is truly luxurious and inspired by tropical scenes from the coral in Fiji to the waves along the coast of Australia.

While Tengdahl has grown naturally over the last three decades, Julie says they’ve decided to scale back to keep the production onshore and the supply chain transparent.

“We got to the point where growth would not be sustainable for us, and we realised that having one shop was exactly how we could reach our goal, to create beautiful pieces that we could track the quality of, from sourcing the fabric to delivering it to the customer,” she says.

“We now have ten people working for us, we operate out of our shop in Brisbane Arcade and sell some pieces online. Our workroom is right upstairs so it’s really easy to manage quality control and design.”

Julie Tengdahl and Britt
Julie Tengdahl and Britt in the Tengdahl workroom in Brisbane CBD

The textiles used in the Tengdahl designs vary, but the brand keeps the environment in mind, opting for linen and cottons that are recyclable.

The brand has been working with some of the same suppliers for thirty years, one of which is a family-owned business in India producing luxury textiles. Julie says that their relationship with the supplier has grown over the years and she loves that it’s a family-owned business.

“We used to work with the father in the business and now his son has taken over, it’s really nice to see their business live on,” she says.

“Also, our linen comes from a supplier in Turkey who is making their own efforts in sustainability – by reducing the amount of water it takes in the production of the textile. They’re using different production methods that reduces the water usage by up to 50%.”

Tengdahl has operated out of shop fronts across Sydney and Brisbane, and has been stocked in David Jones around Australia. But Julie’s happier with where the label’s at today.

“We get to see every piece from production to sales, and that keeps us true to our cause which is to make women shine, and it really does.”

Find out more and shop Tengdahl here. 

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