Mild Red is a premium New Zealand made fashion label, based in Dunedin. Founded by Donna Tulloch in 1995, originally as an avant-garde knitwear label. Today the label specialises in textural, sculptural, monochromatic knit and woven collections that are described as having a tough elegance style. With premium quality material combinations, sculptural yet timeless styles that are designed to last and combine with past and future collections.
Donna is the sole designer for Mild Red, and conveying dramatic story lines and themes associated with each collection is key to her collections. Finding inspiration from architecture, art, environmental or social issues provides an enjoyable and rewarding designing process for her. She also likes to collect words, particularly words that influence and describe her unique clothing collections.
All garments and accessories are proudly made in New Zealand, and has been this way since the very beginning. Donna strongly believes in supporting local leading industry professionals and artisans to produce her garments and accessories.
Words from NZ Fashion Museum:
Donna’s big breakthrough came in 1995 with the introduction of Mild Red, a play on Mildred, her middle name. Inspired by French designer Sonia Rykiel, who was self-taught like herself and whose work she admired, she began with a small range of knitwear that portrayed the common cardy and the woolly jumper in a more fashionable light. Strapped for cash, she bought recovery yarn (unused knitted panels) from Tamahine Knitwear which she would unpick and recycle.
As demand for her knitwear grew, Donna realised she needed to expand into other items of clothing. “To give a complete story, I knew I had to do wovens to complement the knitwear.” And so it remains to this day, with wovens making up 70 percent of every Mild Red collection and knitwear 30 percent.
The collections evolve organically during the design process. There are two a year, with a common theme extending from winter into summer.
Mild Red’s influence comes from art, sculpture, architecture and the intellectual fashion aesthetic of Japanese designers Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto. Fabric informs everything Donna does. She has an instinctive way with cloth, enhancing its properties and piecing materials to create complex three-dimensional shapes. Mixing textures and fibre types, tones and reflective qualities are signatures of her designs. She enjoys experimenting with form, breaking traditional lines, creating a mix of architectural shapes, asymmetrical drape and layering that flow around the body. One piece can often be worn in multiple ways. Although she has sometimes worked very successfully with prints and patterns, Donna’s current output is mostly monochromatic. She especially loves playing with the many shades of black.
In Auckland for New Zealand Fashion Week in 2002, world-renowned fashion commentator, author and academic Colin McDowell singled Mild Red out for praise. “I saw a label earlier this week called Mild Red. I had never heard of this label and I was absolutely bowled over by the sophistication and elegance and maturity, the control of it all, beautiful shapes, beautiful subtle colours. It could have been from most of the capitals of the world. It was really that good.”
READ MORE about the back ground behind MILD RED on the NZ Fashion Museum website - click here
MILD RED BOUTIQUE
Open: Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm and Saturday 10am - 3pm
Location: 1 York Place, Dunedin, New Zealand.
In April 2014, Donna Tulloch opened the doors to her boutique at her inner city Mild Red headquarters which is located only a block back from George Street (Dunedin's main street). The back third of the building (a large old church) has been transformed into a creative oasis.
The idea surrounding the boutique is conceptual, delightfully comfortable and slightly unconventional. Currently showcasing the full Mild Red collections as well as exclusive designs and one-offs within a space where the traditional boundary between designer and customer has been removed. Donna is usually within the building - designing, planning or researching and is available (by appointment) for honest and empowering styling advice.
With an alley way entrance through custom designed iron doors, a statement concrete courtyard, floating counter and furniture, and completed with doors imported from Morocco - you simply must come and have a look.