Interview: Melissa Petts (Dorothy the Label)

The Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival will be held on the 17th October 2015 at The Events Centre, Sunshine Coast. One up and coming designer from Melbourne who is involved in the event is Melissa Petts from Dorothy the Label, and she kindly took some time out to chat with us about her work:

Tell us a little bit about your brand….

Dorothy the label is an emerging womenswear brand based in Melbourne. The inspiration for the brand comes from the appreciation of our family’s history, in terms of memories, experiences, places or love. The brand not only aims to capture memories of our past, but adds a taste of romance and elegance to those nostalgic elements with a modern day twist.

Classic elements from our past time, such a cross stitching, is a strong feature within the brand, it adds something unique to the designs, yet still has that feeling of walking straight out of a photo album.

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How did you decide on the name for your label?

The name Dorothy is something that felt really fitting for my brand. Not only is it my name and my mother’s middle name, it was passed down to us from my great grandmother’s, as well so it is a real family name. Although I have never met my great grandmother, her and my mother, have been such influential women in my life, I couldn’t think of a greater inspiration for the brand. The name of my brand and the story behind it represents everything that my label is all about.

How did you get started?

After growing up and living in Albury, a country town in regional NSW, fashion wasn’t something that was readily available, yet I always had such a strong love for textiles and design. So at the age of 21 I decided to move away from my home and family and head to Melbourne to study Fashion Design at Fashion Masters (Melbourne School of Fashion), where in my 3rd and final year of studies, Dorothy the label was born.

Now in my first year out of studies I am expanding my graduate collection and working hard on getting my label out there within the fashion world.

Which designers do you find the most influential?

 Since a young age, Collette Dinnigan has always been such an inspirational designer in my life. Collette created a very successful empire with her feminine, romantic and whimsical designs, making woman feel and look beautiful. She is truly inspiring!

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 What type of woman would wear your clothes?

A typical Dorothy woman is elegant and romantic, yet strong and empowering. She dares to stand out in a crowd and set her own trends rather than follow them. She has a strong appreciation for the past and likes to include this into her styling. She thrives to be UNIQUE.

 If we looked in your own wardrobe what piece is your favourite?

I recently travelled to England and spent some time in Central London and came across the most amazing pair of ivory culotte pants with a deep green leafy print. These would have to be my most favourite item in my wardrobe at the moment, amongst all of my bohemian inspired prints.

What advice do you have for those who are interested in a career in design?

My advice as an emerging designer for anyone wanting to enter the field of fashion is to follow your dreams and never give up, despite how difficult it may be! I know that sounds cliché, but when you want something strong enough you need to strive to make that your absolute priority.

The fashion Industry is such a hard field to break into and chances are you are going to get knocked down a couple of times before you can get back up and succeed. If you work hard you will be rewarded, you just need to be determined enough to give it a real shot. If you are creative, passionate and hardworking, this is the industry for you!

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 What can you tell us about your involvement in the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival?

At this year’s Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival in October, I will be showcasing 10 looks from the ‘Reminiscence’ collection. Five of these looks have never been seen to the public, so I am very pleased to share these pieces for the first time with everyone attending Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival. I hope you all have your tickets? It’s going to be one amazing night.

 How do you feel about Melbourne fashion?

Melbourne is one of the most fashionable cities in Australia. The people of Melbourne aren’t afraid to express themselves through their fashion.

Fashion is such a personal thing and I think is great that Melbournians can be so unique and individual with their style.

If you could dine with one fashion icon, living or dead, who would it be?

I would say it would definitely have to be Sarah-Jessica Parker! Her style is just as amazing as her onscreen character ‘Carrie Bradshaw’. She is elegant, sophisticated and dares to stand out in a unique show- stopping piece.

Where can we buy your collections?

You can view my current collection ‘reminiscence’ on my Instagram page @dorothy_the_label and can contact me via email at At this stage I don’t have a website to view and make purchases from, this is something that I am working on to get up and running as soon as possible.

What does being a woman mean to you?

To me, being a woman is about being happy and confidant in our own skin. As woman we have so many pressures to look ‘beautiful’, and I think it’s so important to just be ourselves and wear what makes us feel most independent and amazing. I think we should dress to make ourselves happy, and nobody else.

Being a woman also means that we can have our tight mother/ daughter bonds – a bond like no other!

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