Ones To Watch: Viktoria + Woods
Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and here at SHESAID we have been lucky enough to meet a selection of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make a real difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.
Viktoria + Woods is a partnership between Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds that has brought them great success in the Australian market. Since its humble beginnings in 2005, the brand now has over 70 stockists, including retail giant David Jones. Most recently the pair have been listed as finalists for DHL Express’ Fashion Scholarship, quite a feat since entrants have almost doubled since last year. With fans of the label only continuing to rise, there is no denying we must all keep a keen eye on this dynamic duo. This week, we managed to find a spare moment in their busy schedule and see what she’s been up to.
Name and role:
Margie Woods and I am the Founder and Creative director of Viktoria + Woods. Lisa Reynolds and I am the Co-director and Designer of the brand Viktoria + Woods.
Tell us about what your roles. What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?
Margie Woods (MW): As Creative Director and Founder I have a very solid vision of the brand and V+W future. From a design perspective, I am very conceptual and visionary in terms of my influence on each collection, but not hands on in the day to day perspective as my incredible partner is. My days involve driving the flow and direction of designs, marketing and brand growth. Sign off on many decisions; direct the team, including new projects. Writing collection releases, interviews, signing off on daily marketing activities, design meetings and fittings, organizing photo-shoots and team and management meetings. My role is not very operational, its mostly directional and on the whole wonderfully creative. There are administrative sides to my role, but it’s the conceptual and creative that I am passionate about.
Lisa Reynolds (LR): My role is to head and manage design and direct the production and pattern making team. The day involves a lot of research, mood-boarding, fabric supplier meetings, sketching, and fittings. The design process is quite operational. So its hands on and exciting, but does not come without challenges. Including finding that right fabrication, getting specifications and fits perfect for market release, and troubleshooting any issues. There is a lot of research, and sourcing, meeting with factories that may have specific capabilities we are looking for. It’s a challenging role but incredibly rewarding.
When did you discover your talent? How/when did you realize that fashion and design was an area you wanted to be involved with?
MW: I grew up with a very fashion obsessed family, so it was always part of my life. My mother designed her own clothing growing up, and had a dressmaker sew up or tweak all her special pieces. She still does to this day. I think that history has always been a part of me, and subconsciously this industry was always going to be my future.
LR: I came from an incredibly creative and crafty family. But it was a fashion show with Australian designer Toni Mateveski that I saw during the Melbourne Fashion festival that drove me to study fashion, and never look back.
Where did the idea come from to create Viktoria + Woods?
MW: It was an idea I had to create a line of contemporary merino wool basics, which I felt was a huge gap in the market. At that time, there was very little in the way of modern lightweight options in the market, and I had a strong vision for what the line would look like and where it would be positioned. My then partner helped make this vision a reality, which I am forever grateful for.
What were the initial stumbling blocks getting V+W off the ground? How did you resolve these?
MW: Mostly funding and sourcing the perfect quality merino that I wanted to work with. We were lucky to be able to work with a distributor in early days who helped us get through these hurdles, and support us through the development and growth until we were able to take over the distribution internally.
How would you describe the style of a women who wears Viktoria + Woods?
MW + LR: Our women are chic, classically stylish, confident, and informed on latest trends. They mix function with fashion to meet their busy lifestyles, quality driven and value designer labels
As creative, how do you deal with the pressure to continually design, create and impress?
MW + LR: Trends and lifestyles are always evolving, and so there is always something more we want to offer, and so much more we want to express. In our collections work with concepts that are often driven by feelings of what we want right now, or what we feel our customers wants from us. This is forever evolving. You can never express everything in one collection, so inspiration is constant.
Where do you find your inspiration?
MW: Spending time at the beach around water and fresh air is where I reboot and find time to be inspired. Travelling, reading, and artwork. Right now I am very inspired by ‘objects’ and installations as artwork. I am also exploring photography over painted art. Raw landscape images are contributing a lot to our moodboards at the moment with natural, organic and raw imagery with modern layers of colour.
LR: Inspiration is all around us, from the Australian lifestyle and culture to beautiful piece of merino, fine yarn or organic cotton. We design our collections to be timeless, but with a modern edge so classic tailoring is always inspirational for technique and how we can work this into a collection that has a relaxed contemporary feel.
Do you have mentors? Are there any particular people or designers you look up to?
MW: Ellery is an inspiration. I love her courageous approach to design and the how she represents the creativity and passion that can come from Australian design.
LR: I respect and admire Stella McCartney not only for her inspired designs, but for her incredible commitment to using sustainable fibres and materials wherever possible.
Viktoria +Woods has recently been selected as a finalist for DHL’s 2015 Fashion Scholarship. How has recognition such as this affected the brand?
MW + LR: It has been incredible to be recognised as a label with potential for success and growth by DHL. The mentoring, advice and assistance this scholarship offers is an incredible opportunity for us to stay focused and on path.
What are your goals for the future?
MW + LR: To inspire our staff, our customers and our followers with beautiful clothing and an honest approach to design. To represent Australian fashion globally. We are incredibly excited to be stocking Bloomingdales from August this year. We hope to continue to evolve as a uniquely Australian brand, and hopefully support our local industry for many years to come with Australian made designs.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
MW: Don’t rush success. Know who you are and what you represent. Work with the best creative people you can. Inspire and empower your team to be better each day.
LR: It is such an exciting, passionate industry that is filled with challenges, lots of highs and of course there are lows. But always stay true to not only yourself but to the vision you have for your label.
To view Viktoria + Woods latest collection, shop online or find your nearest store, visit: viktoriaandwoods.com.au