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In Conversation with: Friends with Frank Founder, Julia McCarthy.

In Conversation with: Friends with Frank Founder, Julia McCarthy.

Ahead of After Eight Up Late event with Friends with Frank, we took 5 minutes to sit down with Friends with Frank Founder and Designer, Julia McCarthy to get to know a little bit more about the brand, her journey in the fashion industry and a little bit about her own wardrobe and fashion habits.


Can you tell us about how you started Friends with Frank and your inspiration behind the label?

FWF started very much as a side hustle with our very first piece, the ‘Frank’ hand knitted fur jacket. In fact, when I began, I had no real intentions to start my own business, but it began to evolve and over the years it has developed into the brand it is today. I established the brand with a key focus on outerwear but in the last three or so seasons have introduced apparel with a focus on head-to-toe dressing. I’m so proud of where the brand is today and is a true extension of myself.


Talk us through the Friends with Frank philosophy and the brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Our approach to sustainability begins with our core design philosophy which is creating quality and classic wardrobe pieces that transcend one season. We also work with more sustainable materials where we can – not only natural fibres like wool and cashmere, but also some more innovative fibres like recycled polyester, which is made from post-consumer plastic waste. We send out all customer orders plastic-free and require our factories to package our pieces in 100% biodegradable and compostable corn starch garment bags. We have direct relationships with lots of manufacturers and material suppliers, which allows us to work together with them to explore sustainable materials and practices. There is of course, still a lot of work for all of us in the fashion and retail space to do when it comes to sustainability. Myself and the entire team at FWF are really committed to playing our part, and see it as an exciting challenge to continue to work through.


As all brands do, can you talk us through any challenges you faced in creating your brand and how you overcame them to end up where Friends with Frank is today?

I think the most notable challenge was steering the business through COVID and the endless Melbourne lockdowns. It taught our business how to adapt quickly. For instance, while we couldn’t physically get to our offshore suppliers, we upped our level of online interaction with them and also started to explore working with some local manufacturers. This now means we have a great selection of pieces from our collection that are now Melbourne made, something I am really proud of.


How would you describe the Friends with Frank customer?

I believe the FWF customer is a woman who takes pride in how she dresses. She is considered in all that she does. She’s not one to follow trends and appreciates quality materials.


What inspires your wardrobe, and the designs you create for Friends with Frank?

I like to invest in the pieces I’m going to wear every day – the classics. I’m a serial outfit repeaterbut I like to really live in my clothes and feel good when I’m wearing them. So, when I’m making a purchase (outside of wearing my own brand) it is incredibly considered, sometimes I can sit on an item for months before making the purchase, to ensure it’s something I’m really going to get a lot of wear and joy out of. I do love to elevate my outfits with a trend shoe, but even so, those purchases are still very considered. When approaching design for FWF I’m really just designing everything that I want/need myself. So FWF definitely inspires my own wardrobe!


At After Eight we also believe in the philosophy of quality over quantity. If you could only wear five pieces from your wardrobe for the rest of your life, what would they be?

A classic coat (I live in our Thomas Coat) a classic tailored trouser and coordinating blazer (Our new Sabine Blazer and Trouser suiting is a favourite of mine), a silk bias cut dress (the Willa Dress in macadamia is so easy for layering during the day or wearing to a special occasion) and a great pair of jeans.     



We often talk at After Eight about slowing down, so, we’d love to hear what you do to slow down in this fast-paced world we live in? What would we find you doing after 8pm?

I’m currently 7 months pregnant with our second child, so after eight you are most definitely finding me on the couch with a cup of peppermint tea after putting our two-year-old daughter to bed, and not far off bed myself. Boring, I know!


Book your FREE ticket to After Eight Up Late with Friends with Frank here.

Shop Friends with Frank here.

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