Rural life inspires woollen designs

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Lana Vello models in the brand’s Australian Merino wool athleisurewear: versatile and stylish activewear that can also be used for casual, everyday use.
Camera IconLana Vello models in the brand’s Australian Merino wool athleisurewear: versatile and stylish activewear that can also be used for casual, everyday use. Credit: Picture: The Woolmark Company

Central Wheatbelt-born garment merchant Mikahla Wells has drawn on health and fitness, farm life and regional Australia as inspiration for her latest woollen wear creations.

Ms Wells’ WA-based Lana Vello brand will celebrate its first anniversary as a woollen garment online retailer next month.

“This is exciting, I am happy as to how the business is growing,” the York resident said.

She was featured in Australian Wool Innovations Beyond the Bale magazine in March, with the profile including an on-farm fashion shoot.

Ms Wells said the brand’s apparel met the growing trend of consumers seeking garments that were suitable for both fitness and social settings.

“The garments are simple and comfortable with beautiful designs inspired by the landscapes, flora and fauna, found in this unique place in the world,” she said.

“They are suitable for dressing up or down and are flattering for all sizes and can be mixed and matched. Designed to suit both hot and cool climates, they are appropriate for all-day and year-round wear.”

Lana Vello founder Mikahla Wells in the brand’s Australian Merino wool athleisurewear -- versatile and stylish activewear that can also be used for casual, everyday use.
Camera IconLana Vello founder Mikahla Wells in the brand’s Australian Merino wool athleisurewear -- versatile and stylish activewear that can also be used for casual, everyday use. Credit: The Woolmark Company

The brand’s initial range consisted of basics including leggings, a tank top and T-shirt — all made with Australian Merino wool blended with the cellulosic fibre Tencel, made from wood pulp, with only minimal synthetic fibres to create stretch and compression.

“I am looking at diversifying into other product areas such as men’s ‘athleisurewear’, kids’ garments and even accessories in the future,” Ms Wells said.

Prior to her June 2020 launch and without any professional garment design training, she spent 18 months creating a business plan.

“I have no design background, although I’ve always had a creative side,” Ms Wells said.

With a passion to encourage and inspire people to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, it was a no-brainer for her to market leisure athletic wear.

“The Lana Vello brand was created from her love of regional Australia, farming and an active lifestyle.

“It was my upbringing and my love of farming in a rural environment that inspired me to utilise the incredible fibres of Australian Merino.

“Before I started my business venture in 2018, I wasn’t even fully aware of just how incredible and diverse the fibre was.”

Lana Vello founder Mikahla Wells in the brand’s Australian Merino wool athleisurewear: versatile and stylish activewear that can also be used for casual, everyday use.
Camera IconLana Vello founder Mikahla Wells in the brand’s Australian Merino wool athleisurewear: versatile and stylish activewear that can also be used for casual, everyday use. Credit: The Woolmark Company

Ms Wells has a long-term ambition to run her own mob of Merino ewes specifically for Lana Vello to provide complete traceability to customers.

After struggling to find an Australian manufacturer, Ms Wells went through the sampling process with a Hong Kong company that sources the fibre to create garments.

“We are growing Lana Vello online utilising social media platforms while working on building our wholesale representation in some beautiful stores,” she said.

Ms Wells said she also enjoyed face-to-face interaction with her display at the Avon Valley Toyota Field Days.

It was my upbringing and my love of farming in a rural environment that inspired me to utilise the incredible fibres of Australian Merino.

Mikahla Wells

“I have learnt that despite the price bracket of the garments, people appreciate the value of the product and being able to see and feel the garments themselves.

“I was delighted to win the Wheatbelt Business Network’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in October last year, which helped give me belief in the business.”

Ms Wells said she was working to expand the brand’s reach further around WA and into the Eastern States, and eventually internationally.

“The dream is to show off regional Australia and the incredible features of Australian Merino to the rest of the world,” she said.

Ms Wells grew up on a farm in Korrelocking.

“My family got out of sheep when I was quite young, but continue to run a successful cropping program,” she said.

Ms Wells is now based in York with her finance Mitchell Collins, whose family runs 3000 Merino ewes.

To find out more, visit lanavello.com.au.

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