Surf Coast brand weaves its own success
If you ask fashion designer Caroline Teakle what ignited her deep love of design you can see her mind’s eye is immediately transported back to her youth growing up in England.
She tells of visiting galleries and art installations with her granny in London and how the first designer exhibition she saw – which featured the most iconic dress of the 90s – captivated her imagination.
“It was a Gianni Versace exhibition and it had that Liz Hurley black dress with the safety pins,” Caroline remembers, smiling.
Those early experiences set the wheels in motion for a future career path fuelled by creativity – one that was nurtured along by her family.
“I was always more talented in the creative department and through that my mum encouraged me with a sewing machine from a very young age,” she says.
“My grandmother was also a massive knitter.”
Her natural talent led her to an art degree majoring in fashion and later to coveted roles working or collaborating with brands such as Sara Berman, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, N.Peal, Libelula and eventually her dream job with Burberry.
“I always wanted to work for Burberry, that was my thing,” she says. “It was an amazing experience.”
Fast forward to today and Caroline has taken everything she learned during those formative years of her career and poured it into her own brand, Maxted Clothing.
The knitwear label launched in 2018 and has been embraced by Australian women seeking timeless, quality pieces offering comfort and style at an affordable price point.
The range includes chunky knits and lighter weight garments such as pullovers, cardigans and skirts. There is a merino wool range and even a gorgeous raincoat to be found within the recent autumn-winter collection.
Caroline’s design aesthetic is one of “effortless style” and she describes her customer as a woman who is “socially conscious, lives a quality lifestyle and is empowered by the success of those around her”.
“We’re all so busy that we want to be able to pick something up and throw it on but throw it on with multiple items and if you can do that it’s an instant wardrobe winner,” she says.
Caroline, who lives on the Surf Coast with her partner Ed Maxted and their adorable six-month-old daughter Clem, initially came to Australia on a one-year work visa but now happily calls this part of the world her home.
Since moving here she has worked with iconic Aussie brands such as Witchery and Cotton On – experiences she says enriched her knowledge of the local customer and built confidence in the appeal of her own designs.
Caroline also humbly lays claim to having designed Cotton On’s bestselling knitwear piece, the “Archie”, which sold more than half a million units globally.
“That’s what I learned at Cotton On – what the customer wanted and needed,” she says.
“That was where I really got to learn about the Australian market, what people really wanted and what they really wanted to wear.”
Maxsted Clothing is stocked through The Iconic online, among others, and a recent pop-up store in Torquay proved a great success with Caroline relishing the opportunity to mingle with customers and take on board their feedback.
Caroline says she has been heartened by how women have supported local brands such as her own, particularly since the pandemic.
“People want to support local again. It’s not that they didn’t before but I think there is more urgency and understanding on why we are supporting local,” she says.
“I’ve been so impressed that people are buying my merino wool collection and enjoying it.
“It is really well priced … and the yarn comes from right here in Victoria which is wonderful.”
Caroline says her own personal favourite brands include Burberry, Vince, Sézane, Stella McCartney and Celine.
“I just love any sort of design which feels like it has really been crafted together and has a certain heritage or a maturity to it,” she says.
Of course, she hopes Maxted Clothing can enjoy longevity as a favourite with customers both close to her adopted home and further afield.
“Next year the big goal for us is to have a New Zealand distributor, we are in talks and hopefully the Maxted brand will become well known across New Zealand in the near future,” Caroline says.
“The other thing I’m doing is a mini me collection for little ones which should be super cute too.”
Discover more about Maxted Clothing online at maxtedclothing.com or follow the local label’s journey on Instagram @maxsted_clothing.