Local shoemaker and artist Matea Gluscevic designed a tongue-in-cheek beach-ready fashion line that nods to '90s Australiana and is full of fluoro colours, towelled materials and statement sustainable pieces – including a bikini made from kangaroo leather.
Shop Done by Matea’s Resort 2021 collection
Matea Gluscevic says the latest collection from Done by Matea, titled Resort 2021, leans into memories of camping as a kid in outback Australia with her Croatian family friends.
“And I suppose it’s about connecting to the environment,” Matea tells CityMag.
“So it’s not about a trend – it’s not about anything. It’s just stuff that you can wear that looks fun and suits the landscape that we’re in.”
Resort 2021 dropped on 10 December 2020, and includes an array of quirky accessories that look like they’ve been plucked from a treasure chest, such as jellyfish-inspired bluebottle earrings and sterling silver rings.
The range also includes wearable garments made from reclaimed fabrics, such as a seafoam skirt that resembles a fishing net, and the almost sold-out towel trench coats.
“The towel trench and the towel hat, I only made two of each because, [as] with everything, I just make a few to begin with because I’ve got no idea if it’s going to sell or not,” Matea says.
“I made only two of each and they sold more or less within the first week, so I’m making more of them at the moment.”
Throughout the collection, Matea uses eco-friendly materials.
She uses bio-resin, which is a biofuels byproduct, to coat the earrings, instead of plastic polymers; and she has sourced kangaroo leather from local supplier D.S Horne as the body of the spotted bikini top.
Though she is passionate about the sustainability aspect of her work, Matea says communicating this information to her customers is difficult.
“It’s frustrating because on my website I can’t put across the fact that I make everything by hand and ‘this is this material and… this is why and it’s eco-friendly and biodegradable,’” she says.
“And what I’m accepting now is that with each collection, I need to make at least a 50/50 mix of items that are easily palatable, easily understood, that aren’t completely new visually.
“The other half can be stuff that I really want to experiment with, and that way it’s even more accessible to people who might be not as ready… or just people that don’t like stuff that’s so crazy, which is totally fine. We’re all different.”
Matea runs the Done by Matea label as an artist, which she says means she isn’t necessarily motivated by sales. This doesn’t make being a business owner any easier though, and she reports having breakdowns “left, right and centre”.
But this restlessness and stress is what motivates her to keep going, as well as the satisfaction and sense of connection that comes with finding someone who loves her work.
Although she only released Resort 2021 a month ago, Matea already has a page in iPhone Notes full of ideas for future pieces.
“I’ll give you my favourite idea at the moment,” Matea tells us.
“It’s a stuffed plush potato stuffed with eucalyptus fibre. It’s another material I’ve come across. It’s filling that’s made of eucalyptus trees. And it’s in a potato holder, whatever that means.”
Pre-order for Done by Matea’s Resort 2021 range is available until this Sunday, 17 January. Head to the website for more information.