Welcome to The Visual Diaries, where we talk to like-minded visual-oriented businesses and downright inspiring people. We chat all things from humble beginnings to future aspirations. We get to the nuts and bolts of how they got to where they are today, the ins-and-outs of their craft, and thought you might like to come along for the ride.
For our second instalment, we chat with the very talented creative director and designer, Veronica Tucker. Veronica moved up the ranks within the fashion industry before founding her own label in 2019 - Veronica Tucker the label. From pattern-making and sourcing fabrics to sewing and creating the most stunning silhouettes, Veronica handles all aspects of her business. We talk to her about her inspiration and the experiences which set her on her path to where she is today.
Hi Veronica! Before we chat about your label, can you share a bit about yourself?
I’m obsessed with seeing beauty in things. I love period dramas, Billie Holiday, Greek sculpture, impressionism, renaissance architecture, French provincial life, 18th century European art, all things astrological, mythology, philosophy, textured fabrics and antique shops. I grew up down by the beach with my mum and brother. My mum is my hero; she was a single mum but did everything to show us the world. These days I enjoy travelling the world and visiting art galleries with my gorgeous husband and fellow artist (he’s a painter in his spare time).
What was the path that led you to start your own label? Tell us about that journey.
I came to a point in my career where I had achieved what I thought was the end goal, which was to become a designer. However, I didn’t feel satisfied nor did I feel comfortable being part of an industry that largely contributed negatively to the environment. I began working at night and on weekends designing and sewing pieces that I loved. It was actually this time last year that I had a few days off work and some spare fabric, so I created what is now my Audrey blouse. From there the rest has been an organic growth.
Your new studio space renovation is in full swing, tell us about your vision for the space?
A lot of light, a gigantic vintage gold gilded mirror, the walls plastered with constantly changing mood imagery and loads of fabric swatches with jazz music constantly playing in the background. I would also love to find a vintage chaise lounge to use as a dedicated sketching zone!
What does your dream studio look like?
My dream studio would be floor to ceiling windows, comfy couches, a pale gold vintage chaise lounge, greenery everywhere and Billie Holiday always playing in the background(and a fancy coffee machine too, of course).
What does a usual workday look like for you and what are your tools of the trade?
For me the beauty of going full time on my label was having the luxury of listening to my body on a daily basis and adjusting my day accordingly. Most mornings start around 9am with emailing back clients who I’m working with on custom garments, fabric sourcing (online at the moment) and checking on my favourite blogs. Pre COVID-19 I loved getting out and visiting different fabric stores and suppliers. I also do my best sewing after lunch between 1pm and 4.30pm where I have my sewing machine, overlocker and ironing station all set up in a line.
Talk us through your creative process, how does it start?
I have a few “must haves” in every design. I don’t like constricting garments, I hate sweating in synthetic and tight designs and I’m not a huge fan of lots of closures (zips, hooks and eyes, buttons).
From those initial guidelines I start with a vibe or feeling. In that I mean I wear clothes to get a feeling, whether that’s a romantic feeling, a comfort feeling or a skater/tomboy feeling. Then I think about the design elements (that I love) that accompany those feelings and the sketching happens. I also have my fabric swatches by me as I sketch so I can envision the movement of the garment based on the fabric's texture/weight/composition.
Where (or who) do you look to for inspiration?
I find so much inspiration in renaissance paintings. The female form was portrayed so differently then to what is deemed ‘perfect’ now, and I find so much beauty in the multitude of forms that were shown.
I also love old movies, anything with Audrey Hepburn, but also anything Jane Austen.
Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut and if so, how do you get out of it?
Yes! It actually happened just last week for the first time and I found some things that really helped.
Firstly, don’t push yourself. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body. My body told me to watch 4 hours of the BBC series North and South, and it was amazing! From there, I found that separating out my days was a huge help. Instead of trying to do a little bit of everything each day I focussed my attention on one thing at a time. Doing the dry admin work on one day, then the next day doing only creative work.
Tell us a bit about what slow fashion means to you.
Slow fashion means considered design that is thoughtful and intentional and created from a place of joy.
Your pieces are all custom-made, what is your favourite piece to date and why?
My favourite custom-made client design to date has been designing and creating a dream pink cloud of a dress for Australian graphic artist Jasmine Dowling.
That whole process was a dream come true for me, as I’ve been following Jasmine’s career for 10-11 years now. For her to reach out to me and work together was an incredible experience.
I've recently discovered (through Instagram actually) that you are also a fan of country music?! What's your go-to song?
Ah! Yes, well spotted. I have a sneaky love for Keith Urban. I mainly listen to jazz and some alternative RnB when I’m working but I have to admit my husband and I have been to 4 Keith Urban concerts and loved every second of it. He is just so pure.
Do you find social media is more of a blessing or a curse? How does it impact what you do?
For me, it’s a blessing. To be able to connect with so many incredible women around the world is such a blessing. However, sometimes I do have to have a break every now and then.
What’s your favourite thing about having your own business?
My whole life I’ve found it frustrating when people tell me what to do, but I finally realised that it was because I was always meant to be my own boss.
Advice for people wanting to make a living out of their craft?
Go for it! We only have one life, and there are no do-overs. So why not spend all of it living in who you truly are?
People are drawn to people who are living in their truth. Live your joy.
What does success look like to you?
Success is being calm and content every morning.
I found that when I was working in the industry, my emotions were so up and down. Stress, anxiety, worry and feelings of inadequacy were a regular weekly emotional rollercoaster. Now? I feel a deep calm within myself. Like my feet are now firmly planted.
Of course I had the thoughts ‘can I really do this?’ ‘am I insane?’. Thoughts that I should be earning more, that I need to be ‘smart’ about my career, that I can’t let go of a stable job. Once I let go of those doubts and settled into my true self, that’s when I gained success.
What does the future look like for you? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
Once my new studio is set up, I’m hoping to start creating some video content. That will involve basic sewing techniques and projects. I also really enjoy sharing knowledge on the history of fashion, so I’m looking forward to sharing more and more.
Words to live by? / Favourite quote?
As my mum has always said to me, ever since I was a child: "Every experience is a learning experience."
Copyright 2020 Visual Valley. All images supplied by Veronica Tucker. Design by Visual Valley.