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Tag Archives: Friend of Mine

Letitia McLean – Friend of Mine

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Friend of Mine is a Melbourne / LA based fashion label – owned and operated by Letitia McLean and Teale Talbot.
(Tesh used to be my sales agent when I had my own fashion label – Flamingo Sands – and has been working in and around the fashion industry for around 15 years)

The FOM label has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and the product continues to get better and better. I personally love the stuff and always make a few purchases each season. It suits my style perfectly. It’s got a great mix of casual pieces, cheeky tees and sexy party frocks with some stand out leather must haves – all with a rock n roll edge.

The label has built somewhat of a celeb following with the likes of Erin Wasson and 4thandBleeker both being avid wearers.

As in most successful business partnerships – the best teams bring different, but complimentary strengths to the table. FOM is no exception. Whilst Tesh mostly bases herself from Australia taking care of sales and all things commercial business growth, Teale lives between Bali and LA and oversees much of the creative design and production elements of the label.

Tesh answered a few questions below so that any aspiring designers out there might get a better idea about the realities of the business side of things and commercial challenges that all designers and creative businesses face.

FOM has some exciting collaborations coming up – so watch this space…



Q & A:

1) Can you give us a bit of background on how you got to where you are today, and can you provide any tips to young people who are wanting to start their own fashion label?

Starting a fashion label, like any commercial enterprise is tough!! But in fashion there is the added curse of being cool, its a fickle business, balancing creative concepts with business ideas and customer needs – it requires adaptable individuals to really succeed. But if commercial success is not what you’re chasing, the Australian Fashion Industry is incredibly supportive of great ideas and designers.

2) Did you always want to be a fashion designer/have your own label?

As a sixteen year old, YES!! In my twenties I quickly learned the other, imperative aspects to the industry. Like any business, fashion takes all types, at a point I put my creativity aside and accepted I had the business acumen to really live my dream.

3) How would you both describe your creative (or personal) style or point of view, and do you feel this has changed over the years as you’ve grown as a designer/business person?

Style….. always a sticking point with me. I tend to take it all on and figure out what fits – years of representing other brands meant I’d try to fly the flag for their ‘style’ philosophy…. Then we launched ‘Friend of Mine; where I could really ensure there was a cutting edge brand for me, (and the me’s of my youth)

4) You’ve worked with many well known personalities/models over the years – what have been some of the more interesting collaborations that you’ve worked on, or people that you’ve worked with?

No doubt it’s rewarding to see someone notable wearing your clothes; Erin Wasson, Rumi, Phoebe Tonkin are some recent ambassadors. But I gain more satisfaction from the collaboration process – teaming up with Nasty Gal for an exclusive or a line for NZ retailer Superette. These retailers are true supporters of the Friend of Mine brand, their customers love it too – so when we can join forces it always comes together well.

With this approach in mind we developed an exclusive hand painted leather line for our own online store – arriving September. Artist Elbie from WA is hand painting each piece for our customers and the end garment is amazing, something you’d treasure in your wardrobe forever.

5) What is your idea of great design and good business?

Great design vs good business – They go hand in hand, in this day and age good design may not survive without good business. Designers need to flexible, reactive and adverse to the luxury of educational environments. The consumer is ever changing and unforgiving.

6) What motivates you to continue to do better?

Working in a great team, doing a job I’m passionate about. It’s mostly fun, sometimes stressful. This is my life, along with my husband and gorgeous kids – it’s what I do. Every day I analyze the way we’re doing it now, investigate alternatives and try to shake it up a bit – never sit still, as soon as something becomes a bit the norm – maybe it needs reviewing, question it at least.

7) What has been your most memorable or special moment to date in having the label – (successes, achievements, bloopers or otherwise)?

So many…. where to start. I have fond memories of our first US trip. We did NY, and well that was NY, but arrived in LA (it was Teale’s first time) and I think we both realized well this is the America where ‘Friend of Mine’ could take off – that required intense investigation, hilarious road trips and a few mojitos, but we survived and the brand is pretty well established in the US now with Teale living in West Hollywood.

8) As a creative person – who and what inspires you? / what are you creatively passionate about?

I’m creatively passionate, its a bit of an obsession and I apply it to every aspect of life – furnishing a space, drawing up the family blackboard, planning the calendar – is all visual for me. Right now I’m obsessed with interiors and can’t stay away from nearby Leonard Joel Auctions – it makes more sense to bid on something cool and old, than flat packed crap.

9) What’s next for you guy’s? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/future goals you are yet to achieve?

My husband Will is planning a food venture with Down Yonder Store, a driveway diner style out the back – Friend of Mine is showing at Coterie in New York next month….. Heaps, never a dull day – stay tuned @downyonderstore @madebyafriendofmine