Bazaar Babe ~ Sharnee Thorpe

We've had the pleasure of working alongside the textile design guru Sharnee Thorpe since the very beginning of NLB. If you aren't aware already, Sharnee has hand drawn every single element of our vintage inspired prints from day dot! Not only is Sharnee a textile designer, but she has used her skills for her own project, Wandering Folk. We caught up with her to give you a little insight into the print design process, boss lady life and Sharnee's colourful, adventure filled world!

Tell us a little about who you are?
I’m Sharnee, a textile designer.
I’m drawn to the wild elements of nature, addicted to the colours of the '70s, love to spend my free days hunting for vintage gems, camping in the bush or swimming in the ocean. I grew up in a small coastal town just north of Byron Bay, across the road from the beach with a jungle backyard and a tidal creek. Nature is my medicine.

Sharnee wears vintage Nine Lives ~ The Golden Romance

Talk us through a day in the life of you?

My mornings start with meditation or maybe a swim at the beach across the road if I get up early enough ha. I then commute to my Byron Bay studio, I love this drive because I get to listen to my favourite podcasts. I grab a soy latte at McTavish Surf shop on my way past, then settle in to my desk and reply to emails.

After I’ve written my to do list for the day, I get cracking on drawing or painting up elements for prints, or work on changes for a print I have already sent off to a label. I work in a shared warehouse space with Krystle Knight Jewellery & ARCAA Movement, so my days are filled with chats and laughs. My day is split between freelance work and Wandering Folk work, so there’s always a thousand things to do!

After work I always try to fit in a yoga or barre class. It’s nice to get the body moving after sitting at my desk for most of the day. Loving daylight savings, because it’s still light when I get home so if I didn’t get a morning swim in, I can jump in the ocean as the sun sets.

Growing up did you always have a sense of creativity?
I was always creative from a small age, my grandma is an amazing painter! I would spend hours drawing birds and painting flowers while she painted. My Grandpa also crafted beautiful detailed led lights. My mum is an incredible sewer and would make clothes for me and my sister growing up and now has a vintage label called Re Loved Treasures. My childhood was very creative and quite the fairy tale.

When did you decide that the textile and entrepreneur life was for you?
After working in hospitality for years, I decided that I wanted to study something. I did a Certificate 3 in design at North Coast Tafe that covered all areas of design. That’s where I stumbled upon Textile Design and fell in love! There is only one University in Australia that offered Textile Design at the time, so I made the move to Melbourne when I was accepted in BA Textile Design at RMIT.  

After working like a slave at a print studio for 2 years, I made the move to be a freelancer and haven’t looked back! It’s almost been 5 years. I love working for myself, it's way more work than I ever imagined and way harder than anything I’ve ever done, but it’s much more rewarding when you’re working on your own business.

How long have you been designing for Nine Lives Bazaar?

I started designing for NLB when I lived in Bondi Sydney, I think it’s been about 4 years..haha is that right girls?

You create such unique textile designs. For those who don’t know, talk us through the process of creating something for Rose & Ness before it goes onto a garment?
Aww thank you, it’s so much fun starting on a new print. The process normally starts with the girls giving me a few images references. These are mostly photos of vintage pieces they have found along their travels or something that has caught their eye on Pinterest. They'll also send a description of what they would like the print to look like - colours, scale of elements, details, borders etc.

I go off and do some of my own research to find my own inspiration, then I start drawing up elements for the print. Once I have a few drawings, I scan them in and start adding colour in photoshop. Once I have the colour, I can move the elements around to start creating the layout of the print. I then send this off to the girls and they send me feedback on what they love and what needs more work or changing. We work back and forth on this until everyone is happy with the final print. I then colour separate the design into layers so it’s ready for screen printing and send the file over to the girls to send to their printer for sampling. This process can take anywhere from 3 weeks to a month.

Has there been one collection that you’ve been most obsessed with? 

I think I still love the original print I designed, ‘This Golden Romance’ I just love the colours and have worn my bell sleeve Lover jumpsuit to death.

Sharnee wears our Foxy Top in Earth

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere - in nature, vintage stores, travelling, following amazing artists on Instagram and though some of the art and design blogs I read.

When are you happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m camping in nature with my husband in our old 1969 campervan and no phone reception.

What brands have you worked with in the past?  Do you have a label that you dream to work with in the future?

Peony Swimwear, Fella Swim, Abysse, Mr Simple, Kip & Co, Seafolly, RM Williams, Assembly label, Cleo Bella, Sass & Bide, Kivari, Shady Co, Byron Beach Life, Sportsgirl, Lee, Rue Stiic, Skye & Staghorn, Steele the Label, Yin Yoga Mats

I’ve always been obsessed with Matthew Williamson & Dolce and Gabbana. Their prints are insane! It would be a dream to paint a print for them one day… haha a girl can dream.  

You’re a busy woman. When you’re not designing gorgeous textiles, you’re creating magic for your label Wandering Folk. When did you start?
Yes, my life is quite busy juggling two businesses. I started Wandering Folk about 5 years ago now, it was a year in the making, so it’s been out in the world for 4 years now!

Your picnic rugs, and cooler-bags make for the ultimate Sunday sesh! Do you have any big plans in the making for Wandering Folk? Can you give us a little clue?

Hmm we do have some exciting new products we are working on - think cool picnic & camping accessories. We also have a very exciting collab that is launching next year... a Wandering Folk x Nine Lives picnic rug, it's all of your psychedelic '70s dreams come true.

Where can we stalk and purchase your divine creations?

Follow my freelance journey here @sharneethorpe.
Follow our Wandering Folk adventures here @wanderingfolk and buy our creations here

Sharnee wears our Dynasty Vest In Fire & Bonita Shorts in Fire