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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?

I love body oils, so I always make sure moisturize before I start my day. There is one oil in particular that I am loving at the moment from Osea.

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.

+ Quick Fire!

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.

Secret talent:
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.