Emily Whishaw designs clothing with mums in mind. Her label Isle of Summer has been a project in the making since she was inspired to create comfortable clothing during her second pregnancy.
“At eight months pregnant with my second baby I started my first business, Mummy Couture, and launched my first kimono range,” Whishaw says.
“I loved wearing kimonos in my pregnancy and found them to be a handy breastfeeding cover so I thought other mums would love these too.
“Mummy Couture quickly grew and demand was huge, but the more I learned about the world of fast fashion and it’s enormous impact on people and planet, the more I wanted to make some serious changes to my business.”
At that point, Whishaw pivoted the brand and started Isle of Summer. She found herself a new Bali-based factory that was producing clothing ethically and worked closely with them to produce her summer-inspired clothing.
Moving production to Australia had been on the back of Emily’s mind since starting Isle of Summer. The 2020 bushfires encouraged her to source sustainable fabrics which had less of an impact on the environment. At the same time, she started investigating Australian-based factories and when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, this decision was cemented and production was moved from Bali to Australia. Her collections are now made just out of Brisbane by a husband and wife production team.
“I know who makes my clothes, I see who makes my clothes. I keep control of the production process and know I am working with a team who I feel connected to and share the dream of making high-quality, beautiful, colourful clothing”, she says.
“I come up with the ideas and vision, and work with Australian pattern makers and fabric designers to create the unique and beautiful prints. There are also go-to wardrobe staples in our collections, designed to be worn with pieces you already have in your wardrobe.”
These designs are crafted with utility for women at their core – they’re loose, flowy, bend over-proof and feeding accessible. Importantly, they’re designed to be worn during a hot, Queensland summer.
“I love to share photos from behind the scenes so my customers can feel connected and informed as well”, Emily says.
When it comes to choosing textiles for her collections, Whishaw invests a lot of her time researching, testing, washing and wearing sustainable fabrics to ensure she chooses the very best fabrics for her clothing.
“Lately we have been working with linen, sourced from Western Australia, and we are also now working with organic cottons, modal and hemp from India. I am conscious of reducing our footprint on our planet and sourcing sustainable fabrics has become a passion of mine”, Whishaw says.
To reduce waste in the collections, Whishaw keeps unusable Isle of Summer fabrics to make samples for her future designs and to make hair scrunchies, you might just find one in your next order!
For the packaging, Whishaw uses compostable garment and postage bags.
She says Isle of Summer has adapted into a brand for women at all stages of life who love to wear feminine pieces, with colour and pattern.
“The designs are inspired by our relaxed casual lifestyle in Australia and I’m always creating with the warmer places in mind, because I’m from Brisbane and it’s just so hot here.”
Find out more and shop Isle of Summer here.