SUNROOM Q+A: Natalie Martin
Image courtesy of Natalie Martin.
We're excited to share a Q+A with THE Natalie Martin, a longtime favorite of ours whose easy, breezy printed dresses and blouses define effortless — and have helped grow the Australian designer's line into having a true cult following. Season after season she creates a collection that's entirely sourced and handmade in Bali with pieces that are incredibly wearable, feminine, and simultaneously eye-catching while understated. Read on to learn more about Natalie!
The Briana Dress; image courtesy of Natalie Martin.
What first inspired you to design your own clothing?
From a young age I’ve been interested in design and fashion. I loved fashion magazines and if I could get my hands on French Vogue (usually 6 months old), I would treat it like a first edition novel. Growing up in a small beach town in Australia, one’s clothing options were limited so I would shop at thrift stores and alter my finds to try and achieve the look in those magazines or at least something that was a bit more interesting than what was available at the time.
What about the ritual of getting dressed feels most potent to you?
How do your Australian roots influence the way you approach clothing design?
The Australian lifestyle is very relaxed, in which enjoying life is a high priority. I try to design pieces that women feel effortlessly beautiful wearing. A woman is at her most beautiful when she feels relaxed, comfortable and happy, and I really try to create pieces that help women feel that way.
Image courtesy of Natalie Martin; the Lizzy Shirt.
You work in collaboration with local artisans to produce your clothing. How did you come to form a relationship with the local community in Bali and how does that relationship inform your work?
When I went to Bali to first start the line 10 years ago, I was introduced to this lovely guy name Narok, who worked at the hotel I was staying at in Ubud. He helped me source fabric, printers, embroidery, places, etc. It was an incredible time full of many ups and downs - sometimes the samples were perfect and there were also many disasters. Thankfully we have managed to fine tune things overtime; while, still working with local printers and craftsman. Narok and I still work together to this day and I wouldn’t be able to do it without his partnership.
Can you share a story behind a recent favorite pattern or print?
Due to covid, I have not been able to travel to Bali, and so we have been revisiting a lot of our past prints and giving them a new life with fresh color. I’m really loving the Ivy Prints and from a distance, it can look a little bit like leopard print.
What are some small things you're doing right now to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and/or emotionally)?
I’ve been hiking a couple days a week with my girlfriends, good for my heath but even better for my heart and head.
My creative/design ethos in three words:
Easy, Feminine, Quietly Luxurious
I always start my day with:
A kiss from my husband and a Kings Rd coffee.
I really love cooking and I’m pretty good at it, at least that’s what I’m told haha.
Song or musician I’m loving right now (link a playlist or album if you’d like!)
I've been on a bit of a Roxy music binge. I’m also loving Michael Kiwanuka.
The thing I find myself recommending over and over again?
Everything but the bagel dip from Trader Joes. Vintners Daughter face oil.
My ultimate escape – real or imagined:
I’m desperate for a beach vacation. I visited Porto Ercole in Italy a few Summers ago, the water, the food, the people, everything was pretty magical, I would love to go back.