DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: GETTING TO KNOW TARA MCNEELA, SETS OF SEVEN FASHION DESIGNER
Sets of Seven is a modern, sleek and luxurious Australian swimwear label. Its natural aesthetic draws from the seven oceans and continents of the earth, and what we love most about Sets of Seven is that each garment supports a number of different Australian businesses.
Founder and designer Tara McNeela first launched her label in 2014, after much deliberation. Growing up in a small town on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Tara spent every weekend at the beach, feeding the inspiration she found in the sun, sand and saltwater. Her love for fashion also developed in her childhood, and she idolised Australian fashion designers, many of whom originated from her own hometown. “I have always loved fashion and dreamt of owning my own label. I eventually built up the courage, as I figured I had nothing to lose and would regret not following my dream.”
Before Sets of Seven, Tara was always searching for a perfectly fitting bikini, but never with much luck. “I felt as though there was a lack of swimwear available that was unique and wearable.” With the creation of Sets of Seven, Tara is fulfilling both needs in the market, delivering swimwear that is made with luxurious, quality fabrics whilst still remaining affordable. Tara sources all of her materials from Australia and collaborates with local manufacturer too, right down to sewing in the very last clasp! “It is important for me to ensure nothing is sourced from overseas and to know my swimwear is being made in ethical working conditions.”
There’s no mistaking that Tara has an eye for design, and each garment is carefully crafted, fitted and cut perfectly to ensure only the best quality. “It can be quite a painstaking process. Sometimes an idea may not come into fruition or just doesn’t work, but you just learn from the process and move forward. The end design has to compliment the direction of my brand, so there are always little changes here and there to ensure they are perfect before they reach my customers.” The painstaking process has paid off recently though; Tara was recently awarded ‘Young Designer of the Year’ and ‘Best of the Swim Category’ at the 2015 Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival.
Now, only one year after its creation, Sets of Seven is thriving in Australia. Tara says it’s no easy job though, and when she first started Sets of Seven, she had no idea what she’d be in for. “When you own your own business, knowing whether you are making the right decisions or not can be stressful. You have to go with your gut instinct and learn from your mistakes. I just had a vision of what I wanted to achieve.” Tara remains optimistic for what the future holds, feeling satisfied that her two awards make for a gratifying end to her first year and an encouraging start to what she hopes will be a long, successful career.
The second collection from Sets of Seven is a beautiful mix of earthy tones, tribal prints and striking marine blues, drawing inspiration from the hot sun, warm sand, tropical palm trees, salt water and shells. “There is definitely a little deserted island fever behind my latest collection.”
Support Australian fashion and shop the Sets of Seven collection here.
Written by: Esther Reynolds-Verco.