Meet Lisa Thornton: Creative Director of Tani!
There is no denying; once you have tried on any of our Tani basics, nothing quite compares! From the butter soft fabrication and versatile cuts to their sustainable manufacturing process, there is more than one reason this Melbourne based brand has established such a loyal following. We chat to creative director Lisa Thornton for a sneak peak behind the brand.
Tani has certainly become a cult favourite product within our Yeltuor community. What was the starting point for developing your label and what has the journey been like so far?
The journey of evolving Tani Australia started with a love of design and fabrics while studying Fashion Design at RMIT in 1990. Fast forward to 2004 when Paul (my husband) and I were sourcing new fabrics for our sleepwear label we launched in 2002. While visiting the World Trade Fair in 2004 we discovered the amazing handle of Micro Modal Air and the sustainable properties in manufacturing and benefits for the skin. We were also impressed by the family owned manufacturer, the quality of their workmanship, their respect for employees needs and focus on sourcing materials from around the world that are both rare and innovative.
We are pretty obsessed with the fit and feel of Tani. What inspires the design and fabrication of your pieces?
The design of our collections originally derived from working in my family owned Lingerie Boutiques. I have specialised in bra fitting for women of all shapes and sizes since I was 17 years old. With over 30 years of hands-on experience within the fashion industry, you get to meet incredible women and understand their needs and wants.
As a husband and wife duo and parents of two girls, it was also vitally important to launch a sustainable brand into the Australian Market. A fashion label that supports the slow fashion movement. Therefore sourcing environmentally sustainable fabrics and designing styles that are of high quality and made to last were imperative.
You are self confessed advocates for the slow fashion movement, what advice would you give to people wanting to create a more sustainable wardrobe?
For Paul and I it is extremely important that our products are sustainable. Our Raw materials come from renewable sources, our fabrics are acquired from mills that practise extensive recycling, and our products are made to last.
There is a variety of rayon fibres in the retail marketplace and sometimes it is hard for consumers to differentiate one from another. Even if the source of the fabric is naturally grown (e.g. Bamboo) and it is important to consider whether the manufacturing of the fibre emits chemicals that may damage the environment.
We source our Micro Modal Air fibres from Austria, where they are made in an EU Eco-Label production process from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified sustainable wood source. The all natural fibres can be returned to nature at the end of its cycle. We are proud to use Lenzing TENCEL fibres which are 100% naturally derived from Austrian beech wood and biodegradable. Lenzig is the industry leader in sustainable production leading to less usage and water pollution. Our eco-friendly fabric is breathable, lightweight and unfavourable for bacterial growth which is essential to our styles that we design to wear as a second skin.
Our Tani Team believes the key to a more sustainable wardrobe is investing in clothes that support not only sustainably sourced fabrics but manufacturing practices. When purchasing Tani you are investing in classic styles that are timeless and can be paired back to any wardrobe, thus embracing slow fashion.
You officially launched your business in 2004, what has Tani's greatest achievement been over the past 20 years?
From humble beginnings when launching with only five lingerie based styles in two colours. We are extremely proud to have expanded the range to over 60 plus styles and offer four classic ongoing colours. These styles have evolved from base layers to an extensive outerwear collection.
We believe our greatest achievement has been to constantly listen to our retail partners and consumers to strive to offer more shapes, colours and also learn from our mistakes to keep improving.
Tell us what the secret ingredient is that sets Tani apart from other basics?
Tani Australia stands out from other basics with our Silktouch™ fabric that feels smooth as silk and featherlight in weight. Our Ultra-fine TENCEL™ Modal x Micro Air fabric uses a thread count finer than silk which is gentle on your skin while the fabric retains lightness and softness after repeated washing.
Tani is proudly Melbourne designed and sets itself apart from competitors with strong ongoing styles available 365 days a year in our Bodyfit, Relaxfit and Swingfit categories. We have invested in offering 4 ongoing colours available in core styles and up to 8 colours
What does the next chapter look like for Tani?
We will continue to evolve our ethical standards in sustainability across fabrication, manufacturing and packaging. Our design team is working towards a new collection offering a thicker fabric in more outerwear, structured styling for 2024. Watch this space!