Documented By: Mick Bruzzese
We’re no strangers to the exceptional fit and feel of natural fabrics – raid any of our closets and you’ll find stacks of garments crafted from nature’s finest. But UNIKSPACE (pronounced “unique”) proves these materials don’t just make great basics. With the right creative vision and craftsmanship, they can deliver some of our wardrobe’s most elevated pieces.
Elin Marcic, Camilla La Fleur and Luci Hassen are the women behind UNIK. They hail from Sweden, Norway and South Africa respectively and met while working at a designer fashion boutique in Sydney. “We worked together which set up the foundation [for UNIK], partly because of the buying – seeing all these beautiful collections and choosing the styles – but then actually seeing real women try them on in the store and helping them find their perfect fit,” Elin tells RIISE.
2018. “Our thing is that we use only 100 per cent natural fabric; we’ve never used anything else,” Elin says. The simplicity of the collections – undefined by seasons or trends – is heavily influenced by their backgrounds and a shared desire to create clothing that works against the pace and waste of the wider fashion industry. “I think the minimalistic and simplistic style is the Scandinavian influence,” Elin explains, with both herself and Camilla growing up in this part of the world.
“We just wanted to make something that’s easy to wear,” she adds.
Documented By: Mick Bruzzese
UNIK’s garments offer a level of functionality and versatility that we’re always looking for in clothing, but rarely find. Its customisable pieces, which can be worn and styled in a variety of ways, are also notable for their ability to suit a range of body shapes and ages. Uncomplicated, casual styles – like the Sofia Tunic or Turner Jumpsuit – are great for throwing over a swimsuit for a put-together beach look. Then there’s those easily elevated pieces you can dress up or down depending on the occasion, such as the Paul Top, with its high-cut square neckline, or the tailored Rune Pants.
The way a single UNIK garment can switch from casual to classy at a moment’s notice is one of many reasons we love this brand. Take the Byron Shirt Dress. Worn with the collar open and sleeves rolled up, it’s every bit as laid-back as the coastal town it’s named after. But fasten those buttons right up to the neckline, add a pair of black boots, a slick bun and hoops and you’ve got a look that’s ready to take on a night in the city. The same can be said of the Anya Kimono and Parker Shorts. When you see this set (made from luxurious, thick linen) taken up a notch with heels and jewellery, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been wearing shorts to more events.
Most of the brand’s garments are handmade in Bali by a team of independent makers that the UNIK founders have come to know personally. This close relationship means they don’t have to operate to a minimum order, a rarity in the fashion industry that allows UNIK to tweak designs on the fly and eliminate unnecessary waste from the production process. “We can make five pieces if we want and they’re literally handmade – there are no minimums,” Elin says. “We pay a premium price for that, but it’s allowed us to build the brand. And fine-tune it to see what works, make things better and avoid overproduction.”
UNIK is committed to improving the sustainability of its modern wardrobe staples. The next major step in this journey is to transition all pieces that are currently made from conventional cotton to 100 per cent organic cotton. The brand has also been experimenting with deadstock materials through an exclusive partnership with none other than RIISE! The collaboration is a first for this slow fashion label, which was one of the first brands to come on board when we launched our e-commerce platform.
“It just feels like the perfect partnership,” Elin says.