1. You spend so much sewing. What are your other creative outlets?
Gaby: Lately I've been really enjoying learning about film, photography and collecting old cameras. I also enjoy painting and reading about Art History. And I don't know if this counts as a 'creative' outlet so much haha but I really really love anything paranormal, conspiracy theories, and ufology!
Domi: I love cooking and entertaining for friends and family. I'm in my element when I'm hosting a dinner or throwing a party! I do a little painting, gardening and calligraphy when I have time. I also listen to a LOT of true crime and conspiracy theory podcasts.
2. When you graduated and started your business, did you imagine that you might be where you are now? What was your plan?
Gaby: We always hoped that we would last this long, and in the beginning the main goal was to do it full time and not have to work any side jobs to keep going. So I would have to say we have definitely surpassed that! There have been so many amazing things that have happened I don’t think we ever could have imagined, but I also know its because we have worked insanely hard to get where we are. Our main goal has always been to make lingerie that was inclusive, and that has been central to our growth and something we will always put first.
Domi: We have always tried to be cautiously optimistic about the brand and focused on very slow growth, setting shorter term, realistic goals. But we do have grand plans and ideas we hope to achieve one day. It's important to us that the brand remains true to its values, with our big goals always in mind. This can be expensive, time-consuming and frustrating, but those values are why we started and I think we have been around for 10 years now. We have to pass on some opportunities that might have brought us fast money and quick growth, but because they didn't align with our values, compromising for short term gain can be a fast track to failure in the future.
3. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Gaby: Still making lingerie for amazing people! We would like to expand and grow our range of candles and soaps, and also explore swimwear. It would be really incredible to have our own shop eventually too, so we can give customers the full Hopeless experience.
Domi: In 10 years our modest goal is at least not to go backward! But we would love to branch out into our own retail space one day and expand into swimwear.
4. Sex has always influenced lingerie design. How do you categorise lingerie?
Gaby: Our focus is definitely on the person wearing the lingerie, their comfort, confidence, and their agency. Sex hasn’t really been central to what we do - but its definitely a part of it. Lingerie can serve so many purposes, and ultimately that choice is up to the wearer. Its the garment you wear closest to your skin, so it can have great power, but it's also often hidden - so we like to think of it as a secret super power.
Domi: Sex has always had an influence on Lingerie, but we have always focused on creating lingerie for the person that is wearing it, not just for the purpose of looking good for your partner (not that there's anything wrong with that)! All our pieces are designed with the intention of making the wearer feel good about themselves, mixing comfort and sexiness. Over the past few years, we have spent a lot of time developing our basics and classics range to be ultra comfy and flattering for all body shapes and sizes. We want people to put on our lingerie and feel confident, empowered and comfortable, even if no one is going to see it.
5. Advice for up and coming lingerie designers?
Gaby: Work work work work work work! Try new things, don’t be afraid, be yourself and don’t try and imitate who you admire, or what made someone else successful. Carve your own path and perfect your craft. Be open to criticism and learn from mistakes. Be willing to make mistakes in order to grow.
Domi: Research, a lot, learn to sew, learn about business and accounting and ask lots of people for help and advice. Develop a style of your own, come up with a business plan with intention, get to know your customers and what they want, and convey the message of your brand to them. Stick to your values and move slowly. So many brands fail despite initial success because they move too quickly.
5. Dogs or cats?
Gaby: Dogs but followed very closely by cats, horses, anything under the sea, and pretty much all animals after that
Domi: All the cats and dogs and pretty much any animal. Maybe in the future, Hopeless will run a farm in the country.
Together, sisters Gabrielle and Dominique have created Hopeless Lingerie, a thriving Melbourne company with a strong brand image. They are passionate about ethically sourced materials and sew every garment with love in their Melbourne studio.