Making it Personal - Magdalena Duma
By Maria Maung - Photography by Toni Veziris
Nestled in one of Sydney’s best boutique areas, fashion designer Magdalena Duma is making her mark. This multi skilled designer offers her clients a chic go to boutique for basics, to the perfect night out dress, right down to delicate lace lingerie which she designs and often makes, all under her eponymous label.
As we walk into the store, we are greeted by Magdalena herself who guides us through the collection (as if she wasn’t busy enough, she also runs the store) and we quickly come to understand and appreciate the warm, elegant and confident energy she emits that epitomizes exactly what the label is all about.
Describe your brand?
I guess I do things a little bit differently than most. I do follow a certain aesthetic but within that I have different variations of it. It’s a lifestyle brand and I believe in designing the whole shebang from the underwear to the jewelry to the casual piece that I wear in the morning, to the dressed up pieces I wear in the evening. That’s the sort of brand it is, encompassing the whole look really. You can find something here to dress for the whole week.
Can you tell me about your customer?
My core customers are professional women in a creative field, so whether it’s media or design or film or acting, they would be my primary customers. They love dressing up, they have a lot of events to go to, lots of places to be seen and they like something that’s just a little bit different to stand out in a crowd. But it also makes them feel really good and sexy, it gives them confidence in their own body whatever shape they might be.
Tell us about your manufacturing process?
It’s still very small. Everything is made here in Sydney whether it’s manufactured, or if I make it myself. I do sometimes make special pieces like one off evening gowns, for my regular customers for special occasions they want me to design something with my aesthetic, so we work together and we go through the process of multiple consultations, I do a few designs, it’s a really nice process.
The rest of the collection such as the t- shirts and simpler pieces are made in little factory in Marrickville near St Peters. I do have another lady who helps me with my samples sometimes, so it’s all very small and very hands on. Every single piece in the store comes through my hands literally.
"Every touch carries energy within; I believe strongly in energy. Designers, artists…we put our energy into the pieces we touch and create and so because I am so hands on with all my pieces, each one of them carries a little bit of me within it."
What made you start your business?
I had a business with my family previously before this. It was great because I learnt a lot about business, people and teamwork but because it was a family effort it wasn’t really my direction, we all had to sacrifice something so I had a bit of a break and then thought “ I can do my own brand and I can do it the way I want it” so that’s what I did.
I think it was never a question of if I wanted to do my own label, it was just a question of when.
My family is really supportive of my business. They are fantastic. When I started and I didn’t have a casual, my brother used to work in the shop when I needed a day off, my dad helps me with all the paperwork /business side of things which is so boring but he gives me advice in that respect.
My brother shops for his fiancé as well, as does my father for my step mum so they all really like what I do and they all support it.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
I was sitting somewhere the other day and I just saw something out of nowhere and I thought, wow inspiration really does come from the most unexpected of places, you just have to open and susceptible to it.
I love nature, there is always an aspect of nature within what I design and what I do. I’m an earth sign so can really connected to it. I’ll wander around and take pictures of trees and the leaves and the sky.
My friends, people and my customers, sometimes the way they put things together inspire me.
When you aren’t working what are you doing?
I am reading, I am painting, I’m walking my dog, sitting in a café, seeing family and friends most of the time, and probably going away because it’s really hard not to work and stay at home. So to not work I have to get out of the city. (laughs)
So what’s next for the brand?
I definitely think expanding into wholesale, that’s a must. I’ve established myself here, I’ve got my customer base here, they are incredible customers. I couldn’t be more grateful for the customers I have, they are very loyal and I think the way I serve them is what’s lacking out there. I’d also like to open another store in Melbourne.
Right now I’m here and I’m loving Surry Hills, I think I’ve definitely found my place in Sydney.
What can we expect from the new collection?
It’s very bright and very fresh, lots of pink, floral trims. I’ve still got strong elements but I will be bringing that girly aspect into my strong lines and break them down to soften them a little. I think myself as a person, am softening which is coming into the collection. There are a lot of laces and pretty additions but it’s still very simplistic.
I also want to focus on the lingerie as a separate entity. I want to do a lot of splicing, and a little bit more in depth pieces. I originally designed the lingerie because I had really low cut t shirts and customers weren’t sure what to wear underneath, so I created the bralets and they worked, then I started to do the matching underwear and that’s working. So now I can really expand and go more in depth with the designs.
For the next collection I have this idea of splicing plain mesh with mesh and dots and strapping detail. I really want to take this to the next step. The ideas are just so delicious in my head that I can’t wait to get started.
To get the whole picture we highly recommend you check out her store:
525 Crown St Surry Hills