Updated: May 7
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of welcoming the fashion savvy and down-to-earth Brianna Gaal into the Killer Queen studio for an afternoon of makeup and portraits.
Brianna is the co-creator of Gaal, a new sustainable fashion label that's taking Melbourne (and the world) by storm! Gaal launched it's debut collection some months ago, and have been receiving acclaim not only for their innovative and wearable designs, but for ensuring that every single piece in their collection is 100% sustainable and biodegradable. Their mantra is to create ethical, circular fashion that can go back to where it came from, leaving a minimal imprint on the earth- a highly needed change in a time when fast fashion as a commodity is causing huge problems for landfill and is an environmental disaster.
Founded by Brianna and her hubby Mat, Gaal's vision is to raise the bar on transparency in the fashion industry and promote a regenerative model of producing clothing. Every garment they make has its entire lifecycle considered right from the start, from the fabric and thread to the buttons and shoulder pads.
We recently sat down with and chatted all things new business, planning fashion campaigns, morning routines and more with this lovely lady.
Brianna, how long have you been doing what you do?
I started thinking about starting a fashion label about two years ago. I spent about a year just really getting my head around the industry, learning about the issues and the type of brand I wanted to create before I even started designing. Then I spent another year designing and sampling. We officially launched our first collection in May 2019.
As a busy biz babe, do you have a morning ritual?
Yes! I used to just roll out of bed, half asleep about 10 minutes before I had to leave for work, which was not the best feeling. As much as I have tried to be a person that gets up and hits the gym at 6am, I am just not a morning person – I have made my peace with that. I love waking up, making myself some avocado on toast and then taking some time to relax and catch up on the news for about half an hour before starting my day. I’m usually on-the-go until late at night, so I love having some down time at the start of the day.
OK, so when you're blowing off some steam- what’s your d-floor jam?
Anything Taylor Swift. I don’t think my answer has changed since I was 13.
What do you find is your biggest motivator?
As much as I love designing clothes, the thing that motivates me most is using the Gaál label to make a positive impact on the world in every way we can. I don’t believe the world needs more clothing. I do think as consumers we need better options for the clothing we want to purchase. The system as it stands is so wasteful and harmful not only to the environment, but also the people that work endless hours for awfully low wages to make our clothes.
I am motivated to provide a better alternative to women’s wardrobes everywhere, to be transparent so people can actually make a conscious choice about what they are buying and spread the message of our brand in a way that uplifts people and is inclusive.
What do you think is the BEST thing about having your own business?
I absolutely love working on this label with my husband, Mat. I first floated the idea to him a few years ago and I was pretty surprised that he was very keen to jump on board too. It turned out to be the best thing.
We are both very new to this industry and are navigating it all together. It’s a bit of an adventure I really enjoy being able to work towards these big plans we have, together.
Also, running a business can be lonely at times and having a partner, whether it’s a friend, relative or someone you are married to, makes all the difference. When things go very right or very wrong, it is nice to have someone by your side who really gets it and is going through it with you.
What skills have you taught yourself since launching- and importantly, what have you decided is best to outsource?
So many! Pretty much everything. When I had the idea for GAÁL I really wanted to fill a gap I saw in the market as a consumer for sustainable and ethical fashion. I loved fashion but had never worked in the industry and really didn’t know much about the ins and outs of running a label. That’s why I spent a lot of time in that first year (and still to this day) learning about design, the fashion industry and associated ethical and environmental issues. I have become very good at acquiring the knowledge I need to design and run the brand but when it comes to the craft of drafting patterns and making clothing, I found it was best to outsource. I work with an amazing pattern maker and sample maker. They have so many years of experience that I could never match myself, I wouldn’t even try.
I prefer to make sure I can accurately articulate my vision and collaborate with talented people who are experts at their craft.
What's been your most AMAZING business moment to date?
100% the photoshoot for our first campaign! We had such an amazing team to work with on the day. I had never organised a photoshoot before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I was actually thinking the day was going to be quite stressful, but after some serious planning and getting the most amazing team together, it all ran so smoothly. Killer Queen Creative did the most amazing natural hair and make up looks on our models. Our Photographer, Em Jensen, captured the vintage 70s vibes we were going for flawlessly and our models Aileen and Zali just nailed every shot. We had such a great time on the day. I am pretty excited to get the next collection ready so we can do it all again.
What's the biggest obstacle you've faced in your business, and how were you able to resolve it?
The materials we use in GAÁL pieces are biodegradable and made from materials with the lowest possible environmental impact. Fabric was difficult to find in some cases, especially in the colours I wanted to use but finding things like thread and shoulder pads took a lot of time and effort.
Making sure everything has the right certifications and is made as ethically as it claims to be is not straight forward. There were some cases where we bought materials and later realised that the supplier were not as transparent as they initially claimed and we had to go back to the drawing board.
On the bright side, going into the second collection we can streamline a lot of this because we know a lot of the right questions to ask upfront and how to pick up on those vibes early. I’m sure we will face many new challenges too!
We can't wait to see what the future has in store for Gaal!
Check them out at www.gaalcollection.com
Photography by Killer Queen Creative
Makeup and Hair by Killer Queen Creative
Brianna wears Gaal collection
x KILLER QUEEN x