“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible” Frank Zappa
Name: Gabrielle Abela / Jessica Ritchie
Occupation: Gab: Fashion Designer @ Trois/ Dancer / DJ // Jess: Fashion Designer @ Trois / Textiles Consultant
Hometown: Gab: Sydney / Jess: Noosa
Currently location: Sydney, Australia
Trois was established 8 years ago by ring leader Gabrielle Abela. A woman who’s energy is infectious and inspiring and is also know to many as a dancer, DJ, singer and music producer. Trois fashion is just one stem of her creative endeavours.
2015 breathes some more life into Trois, literally! Trois welcomes Jessica Ritchie to the team and now Gabby and Jess collectively create and design the Trois collection.
Everything is available online and they host regular pop up shops or back street alley fashion shows. Over time, trial and error Trois decided to remove their line from retail and sell exclusively online because there is more creative freedom and direction to design what they want rather than follow trends or what their agents were advising them to do.
Both woman are inspiring, creative, talented and love to have laugh. Almost Real hung out with them on location for the shooting of Trois look book TS00.1 collection.
The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was…
Gab: Give my dog a cuddle.
Jess:Take my puppy walking along the harbour. Such an amazing way to start the day, I look forward to it. It makes me so grateful for my life and to live in such a beautiful city.
When I was a child I wanted to be…
Gab: A dancer
Jess: A vet and an artist. Ive always loved animals. Each christmas/ Birthday I gave my mum a list of all the new pets I wanted. Ive always loved being creative too, Growing up in Noosa i use to collect things that had washed up on the beach like drift wood, shells, and random cool things and make them into art pieces. I use to loved painting, drawing and cooking too. Anything creative.
The studies I took to get where I am…
Gab: Performing Arts College, University degree in Education.
Jess: I studied Diploma of fashion designs and textiles at TAFE on the sunshine coast before I moved to Sydney and a few short courses in business and a fabric printing.
I’m inspired by…
Gab: Creative people and creative collaboration. And on a more human level, ironically, my dog.
Jess: Travel, Amazing people, architecture, photography and my fiancé
Gab: People who choose to spend their time on this Earth actually living.
Jess: People that put themselves out there
The tools I can’t live without…
Gab: Headphones, Good fabric scissors (not the shitty ones that I seem to have so many of and can only find instead of the good ones when I really need them!)
Jess: sewing machine, overlocker, scissors, surfboard and a good kitchen set up. I love to cook.
The instruments I use…
Gab: (usually in this order) Pencil and paper, Adobe creative cloud, the human body, the sewing machine.
Jess: sketchbook, scissors, sewing machine
I’m most creative when I’m…
Jess: Traveling or when I have lots of free time
My favourite book…
Gab: An Open Swimmer – Tim Winton.
Jess: Water for Elephants and Scar Tissue
The website I hang out on the most…
Jess: Pinterest, I’m a bit obsessed.
I’m currently listening too…
Gab: tINI & The Gang Podcast 13 – MOLLY
Jess: Vallis Alps and Alt-j
The obstacles that have come my way…
Gab: TROIS had a really hard season about 3 years ago when we were still wholesaling to retail stores in Australia and overseas. We had 6 stores declare bankruptcy in one hit, losing not only our income from these sales but all our stock from these stores ,on top of it. THAT was hard, it almost sunk us. Luckily one of my good friends Kate Hurst was there to get me through this time. She not only motivated me out of that rut, she is also an expert fashion business consultant and gave me some invaluable business advice – she helped me apply for a government grant (which I received) which then funded the development of our online retail website, essentially changing the entire TROIS business model and allowing me to never again have to rely on dodgy business agents for the selling of my clothing. It was a long hard year as we applied and changed the way I had done business, but I am so thankful that I followed her advice (albeit kicking and screaming ‘poor me’) because I have never looked back. Very happy days since, I owe her a lot and always will 🙂
Jess: I moved to Sydney on my own without knowing anyone here except my auntie. It was like starting over. It was pretty challenging at times, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Ive met so many amazing, inspiring people that I can now call my friends. I came with a backpack now I’m surrounded by phenomenal people and live in a beautiful home with my fiancé and my puppy.
The fashion industry can be really hard too. Ive been working on another side label I have had for a few years now and Ive had lots of challenges with that too. Its really hard to stay motivated when you get pushed down by the industry. Im so happy to be a part of Trois now. You feel so much more confident going forward when you have someone to share everything with. Its been really good working with Gabby.
My favourite place in the world…
Gab: Ah this is hard!! Sydney…?!
Jess: Its hard to pick just one.. Sydney, New York, Bali
I would like to travel…
Jess: Um, everywhere I haven’t been yet
My travel essentials are…
Gab: My pillow. Big and annoying but the only way I can sleep properly
Jess: A good book and comfy shoes
One thing I would like to do but haven’t got around to it yet…
Gab: Making my own record label
Jess: Answering this question
The highlights over the past 12 months have been…
Gab: Working with Jess! Every work day is fun, even when we are bent over in sweat shop mode for hours on end. And all the wonderful gigs I get to do here and overseas. Playing in Berlin @ Golden Gate was very much a highlight.
Jess: The last 12 months have got to be the biggest and best of my life so far. Ive loved working with Gabby, we have so much fun together. I have a puppy that now, I don’t know how I lived without her, she brings so much joy into my life, even though she can sometimes be a real challenge. And of course planning my wedding. And I’m so excited for the next 12 months too!
The latest project I’m working on…
Gab: Learning how to master the art of projection mapping. My aim is to create a live audio visual show, built around an installation which uses projection mapping synced to sound.
Jess: Well between getting our latest range and runway show together, planning a wedding in bali and training a deaf puppy I haven’t had much spare time for other projects.
Advice I have to share for those who want to get into this profession…
Gab: Get tough and know what you’re doing. In all the genres of creative industry I have worked in, fashion is by far the least glamorous and the hardest to find a reliable, trustworthy team of people around you. I remember sitting in my car crying once after a screen printer reduced me to tears because they fucked up my entire roll of silk and refused to pay for it. If you focus on designing and construction and spend the time developing your craft in all facets of construction, then you can rely less on others which will in turn allow you to get through the first few seasons without getting into debt.
Jess: If its truly what you want to do then you will do it. Be willing to work hard and not give up. Be confident in your skills and ability and keep your eyes open for opportunities.
If you were standing in front of the Mirror Of Erised (magic mirror in Harry Potter) and could see your futures deepest desires, draw what you would see…
Gab: A big garden, 2 kids that look just like my husband, and me in the background with a glass (or bottle) of wine.
Jess: Owning a vegetarian, self sufficient Bed & Breakfast in a beachy town somewhere in the world with my husband, a few kids, a pet dog, a pet pig and some chickens.
Photography: Katie Kaars
Interview: Michelle Owen