Every month we will be talking to one special girl, learning more about who she is and what she loves doing.
The odd crossword will also feature !
Firstly, can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do with your days lately…
My name is Natalia, but I also get Natty, Nat, Natski. I live in Melbourne with my husband and furry daughter Mishka (our cat).
I am the founder and designer of Wolf & Mishka (our cat was named after I began my label btw).
I decided to start Wolf & Mishka almost 4 years ago , after I had been working in various design jobs for about ten years.
It was also around this time that my Mum showed me a beautiful book of old Russian nursery rhymes that my great-grandmother had hand-made for her almost 100 years ago. I remember thinking how beautiful all the illustrations were, which helped inspire the Wolf & Mishka characters.
I was really touched by how carefully and lovingly this book had been made… It urged me to get out of the fast fashion rat race (pronto) and start making things that would be treasured and worn for years to come.
Now most of my days are spent juggling designing and producing new ranges, buying fabrics and trims, making ceramic jewellery and getting ready for markets! And also lots of pats for Mishka.
Describe your style in 1 sentence…
Relaxed craft girl with an explosion of painterly prints, always rocking curves and a natural curl !
To support this style, how do you shop – what are your buying ethics ?
Since starting my business the way I look at buying and shopping for new clothes has completely changed. I always strive to buy clothing that has been made locally, in small batches, or at least ethically.
I try to buy items not based on whether they’re in fashion or not, but if they’re a classic style I know I can wear for years and years!
Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, so by avoiding falling into the traps of buying cheap mass produced clothing, we can make a serious improvement on the future of our environment.
How does Fashion make you feel ?
Fashion to me has always made me feel a sense of freedom, an ability to express how I feel on the inside and direct it outwards. I’ve not always felt comfortable with my body, but when I get to choose what I wear and now what I choose to design, not because they are the trends but because I feel good in them, that has always made me feel free and happy on the inside and out!
-Part of a collaboration capsule range Natalia did with her artist brother, Andy Pye… creative family !
Do you shop for trend/quality/aspiration/brand/ price/practicality…
Definitely for quality, longevity and practicality!
Price is always a factor of course, but I would much rather spend $500 on something that will last me for years, than $50 for something that was probably made in a sweat shop!
I also try to find local brands that don’t over produce, and produce locally. So it’s supporting local manufacturers and that small business also.
What was it like growing up in Geelong (G-troit, g-wrong, g-town)?
‘G banger’ … as I like to say, was an interesting town to experience your adolescent years for sure!
We grew up before mobile phones were accessible, so me and my friends spent a lot of time bussing between each others houses and making reverse charge calls from payphones lol! I was lucky to have a great group of friends growing up, which I’m still really close with ????
Sometimes we would try to get our parents to let us hang around in town until late, which rarely went in our favour… We loved going to the movies, maccas or just walking around the waterfront – there was usually a buzz of activity down there haha. Geelong looks much better now than back then though !
When you think back to being a teenager what do you remember most fondly ?
Visiting Melbourne – and secretly wanting to be 18 already.
I loved going on trips to Apollo Bay , bush walking around the Otways and visiting the beautiful waterfalls in the area. And of course, sleepovers with friends or local house parties !
Any Advice you would give to you teen self…
Don’t take things, or yourself so seriously!
None of it matters when you get into your 20’s / 30’s anyway, you’re onto new things!
Have more fun, joke around and never stop creating and trying new things!
– One of Natalia’s first croqui sketches from her RMIT fashion portfolio. Clearly always been into cats !
Favourite 3 items of clothing:
Two pieces from the last Wolf & Mishka range that I wear all the time is the Aurelia Quilted Coat, and the Olesya Culottes. I also love my 80’s acid wash denim jacket which I bought from an op shop about 12 years ago!
Movie marathon or Netflix binge:
– Parks and Recreation! It’s the happiest show in the world!
– Seinfeld (on repeat)
– Wes Anderson films
Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder
The Go Team – Huddle Formation
Sufjan Stevens – Impossible Soul
Good Luck charm:
Definitely Mishka ????
But something that travels with me everywhere I go is a little picture of my nephews as babies. It’s a very creased photo now, but it’s always in my wallet and has bought me good luck so far!
Summer Festival trail:
I never miss a Golden Plains Music Festival (March Labor Day weekend). It always brings such a great selection of diverse music and bands. I’ve been going for almost 10 years and each year is as amazing as the last!
Get your hands dirty and get into learning ceramics! It is such a rewarding craft, and a great way to make yourself your own handmade jewellery, homewares and gifts for others!
Health Tip :
Take 2 x fish oil caps a day! My grandma and grandad did this their whole lives and they lived long lives!
Also, prioritise general exercise as part of your daily routine. Don’t worry if running or yoga isn’t for you. Find the sort of exercise that works best for you! It will help you so much when you get older!
Switching off ?
A cup of tea and some chocolate in bed while watching a funny film or listening to a true crime podcast!
Nat’s beautiful designs and creations are available for purchase through her website https://wolfandmishka.com.au/