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Quick interview with Suzan Dlouhy

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One rainy morning recently, I made my way to the home-based studio of Suzan Dlouhy. Suzan's label, SZN, was introduced to Milly Sleeping in March or April of this year, and was a quiet success from the start. Not many SZN garments have made it into our online shop (although I've added a handful today), as we've tended to get in a small bunch of unique pieces every few weeks or so, and have tended to sell them quite quickly! For the most part, these garments have been wonderful, oversized, monochrome, daily-uniform kinds of things - smocks, tunics, dungarees, etc ... For the most part, they've been made of organic linen or recycled denims, forming simple but unconventional shapes (great silhouettes!), and producing nil or minimal fabric waste. When I spoke to Suzan at her studio, we had a brief but involved chat, about her transition from Canberra to Melbourne, her work teaching with Social Studio (via RMIT) and the evolution of her label. One thing I didn't know about Suzan is that she has a degree in Environmental Science, which has obviously influenced the kind of business she now runs - from (in her 'early days') working with post-consumer waste matter to make her clothing, to (now) spending months and months sourcing organic fabrics, and committing to nil or minimal waste production when making her patterns. I walked away feeling seriously impressed by Suzan's energy and integrity. And - wow - just minutes after posting this interview, I've discovered that SZN has won a Victorian Premier's Prize for Fashion Design... Congrats Suzan! Here, just a snippet of our discussion:

Tell me again how long you've been in Melbourne for?

SD: 2.5 years

It sounded to me like 'things have fallen into place for you', following a lot of hard work. Do you see it that way?

Yes, I've met great people here, who were very inclusive without knowing me, and that's led to different opportunities. 

[In terms of my label], I try to evolve and adapt each collection with the lessons learnt from the last.

How do you feel about working for yourself, on your own? 

I love it! Happiness is being able to play whatever music you want and control the temperature you work in (both of which I couldn't do in an office). Oh, and endless tea breaks!

Do you feel optimistic about 2017? 

Absolutely! I'm about to become a mum, and hope to balance that with building SZN. I'm keen to explore SZN's aesthetic in organic knitwear for Autumn Winter 2017... if I'm not too tired...

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