Close Up Interview with Textile Designer Jessica Robertson From Slow Palette

 Jessica Robertson

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

My name is Jessica Robertson and I am establishing a Slow Fashion and Textile label – Slow Palette.  I recently graduated with honours from UTS with Bachelor Design (Fashion and Textile) and Bachelor Arts (International Studies).  I spent a year living in Bologna, Italy, as part of my International Studies.

Slow Fashion is a design practice that I am immensely passionate about.  I love fashion and creating textiles and discovered through Slow Fashion a practice that is sustainable, ethical and allows for artistic expression.

I create textiles specifically for garments by means of Nuno felting – felting wool or fur to natural fibre fabrics.  I hand dyed and screen print fabrics and textiles with my original artwork and manipulate by applying water.  Each garment is unique and assumes a close relationship between producer and wearer.

Jessica Robertson Copyright

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?

Initially, fashion designers, particularly conceptual designers such as McQueen (RIP), Viktor & Rolf and Hussein Chalayan who showed me that fashion wasn’t all about the image. From there I discovered sustainable, Slow Fashion labels such as Slow and Steady and Alabama Chanin that inspired me to follow a sustainable and ethical design practice.

The producers and manufactures of the raw materials and fabrics that I use inspire me to respect what I am using and design something with care, passion and beauty.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?

I design and work best completely surrounded with images, textures and sounds for sources of inspiration.  For my graduate collection I looked to images of foods from El Bulli – Spain’s famed restaurant that creates highly artistic molecular gastronomy.  Head Chef and creative Ferran Adria turned gastronomy on its head – challenging the notion of food creation and consumption.  This inspired me greatly whilst designing clothes much like Adria design’s food.

Jessica Robertson Copyright

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Creative, open, honest, sensitive and passionate.

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

My first job was on the phones recruiting for paid market research.  Great uni job but nothing to do with my future aspirations.  I then went on to work for the Star Light Foundation, followed by waitressing at a wonderful local restaurant, Cibo e Vino where I felt like I had returned to Italy.  I am currently working at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the gallery and as a fashion assistant for Sydney based designer Eileen Kirby.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

Depending on the time I could be designing, sketching, experimenting with textiles, draping fabric or visiting suppliers / maker or doing large felts – there really is no typical day as yet.

As a designer, what is your biggest frustration?

As an emerging solo artist I am restless to dive wholeheartedly into establishing my label.  I am frustrated at not yet finding a proper balance between work and my work.  This frustration is negated through the invaluable experience I am getting at the moment.  Decision making alone can be frustrating at times too…

 Jessica Robertson Copyright

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.

List making is a wonderful process (bordering obsessive!) however my lists are always greater than what is achievable.  More and more I try to work on the task that is worrying me or I am avoiding the most – this usually unlocks the progress for the day and the whole collection. Thinking time (aka procrastination but not in my world) is crucial to my work practice.  Sketching, draping on the stand and textile experimentation is where most of my time goes.

When did you discover that you can make a living out of your artwork?

Well I definitely hope to one day!-and I hope that day is soon!  In the meantime I am surrounding myself by those that have or want to be full-time artists / designers to stay motivated on this dream.

Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

Staying in touch with peers, keeping my eyes and ears open and talking with as many people about what they do and what I do.  At the moment saying ‘yes’ to all opportunities that I have been offered has proved to be extremely fruitful!

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

A major turning point in my design practice was accepting mistakes and failures.  I was so focussed on a perfect outcome the first and every time that all spontaneity and happy mistakes breeding new ideas was lost.  Designing became stifling and extremely stressful until the joy of playing and experimentation was rediscovered.

How did you get involve with The Interwoven exhibition and why?

The details for the exhibition were sent by Pip through a close peer that I studied with.  I jumped at this great opportunity to exhibit my designs to an industry based textile audience.  Exhibitions are also the way that I will always love to show my designs.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

I am quite the dreamer…but ultimately I would love to establish Slow Palette as a business and show it in a gallery style boutique with a restaurant attached.  Fashion, art and food – every box ticked!

What is your proudest moment so far?

Graduate and media fashion parade – an amazing and surreal moment watching a years worth of work gliding down the runway in front of family, friends and mentors.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

My first customer – that will be a pretty amazing moment!  And those mentioned above in question 2 – to pick Ferran Adria’s brain and follow him around would be the ultimate!

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

That there will always be more lessons to be learnt!  And if there isn’t something must be wrong.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

The Heart Garden; Sunday Reed and Heide by Janine Burke.  Ever since visiting Heide in the outskirts of Melbourne and learning about this period of art in Australia I have been inspired to set up a commune.

A single book is too difficult!  2 that everyone should read include Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer and Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures a true story by Heidi Postlewait, Kenneth Cain and Doctor Andrew Thomson.  Both equally emotional, eye-opening and life changing.

Where do we find you and your artworks? (list stores & links, websites )

Whilst a website

and enquiries can be sent to

and catwalk images can be seen via 2 Threads – UTS Republic of Design Show –

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.


  • Hi Jessica,

    I went to the Interwoven exhibition this afternoon. I was so impressed with your fashion collections. Your collection was the highlight of the show.

    Do you have a collection at the moment?


  • Hi Glenda,

    Thank you for the comment and visiting the show!

    I will be developing a capsule collection for 2011 later this year. My collection on display is for 2010

    Any enquiries please email me –



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