Our Practice

Rowena, Juliana & Angela Foong

Meet the women behind High Tea with Mrs Woo - a proud, Australian-made, small-run clothing label. It is the collaboration of three sisters designing eloquent, comfortable clothing and accessories with natural fabrics.

 

Rowena, Juliana & Angela Foong Image 1
Rowena, Juliana & Angela Foong Image 2
High Tea with Mrs Woo workshop, 2017

Story & Philosophy

High Tea with Mrs Woo is the collective memory and design collaboration of sisters, Rowena, Juliana and Angela Foong, who have been patternmaking, sampling, cutting and producing designs from their workshop and retail store in Newcastle NSW since 2004.

We are a small family business and we find inspiration in memory, story and landscape to create our designs and styles. Together, we work with textiles, stitching beautiful clothing with printed and natural fabrics.

Fascinated with the memory, and the memoir of clothing, they explore the ability of fashion to unfold a great yarn. They describe each piece of garment they make from a moment in time, a truth or a reminiscence - like Stuck in Ueno, Irreversible, We're all mad here, Waiting for Jack to name a few.

Traditional tailoring methods are used in developing unique shapes from conventional dress forms to make High Tea with Mrs Woo. The sisters appreciate and practice the time-honoured qualities of dressmaking. They practice Slow Fashion values - using materials and creating designs that are appreciated for their craftsmanship, wearability and materiality; maintaining a small and sustainable scale of production to make clothing that is worthy of care and enjoyment for a long and useful life.

We work with fabrics with not just one season in mind. We produce garment styles that can be worn across seasons rather than just being seasonal. They are made with our hands, not just handmade. When you wear High Tea with Mrs Woo, know that each and every piece is carefully produced, handled and bundled from our hands to yours.

Sustainable Style & Ethical Business

High Tea with Mrs Woo is an ethical, family, small-run, sustainable business. The sisters are conscious of making decisions that support their sustainability practices and views on a daily basis, and work towards bettering the way they make, sell and consume things. It's about slow, wearing, well.

This means we’re not making excess. And that’s kind of the key. Our approach is to keep small, because that’s sustainable; to keep local, because that’s sustainable. It may seem more economical to produce our garments off-shore but - is it? We are so passionate about being hands-on that we will keep production in Australia for as long as we can. Producing off-shore also means we have to produce in larger quantities because the minimums are high, and that doesn't appeal to us at all. We’ll take the extra effort to cut one at a time if we have to so that we don’t make excess.

High Tea with Mrs Woo engages in as much recycling and energy-saving functions as possible - from basic electrical fittings to using machines and equipment efficiently. All paper and textile waste is recycled or re-used. Furniture and fittings are sourced as locally as possible, vintage or second-hand, hand restored, re-worked, or designed and built with local skills.

 

 

Heritage & History

Our parents brought us here to Australia in 1988. We grew up in Malaysia and have strong childhood memories of our grandparent's 100 year old gold-smithing and clock shop which was also the family home. Worn wood, rusty tools, age-old materials and textures still resonate with us today. We also grew up with many strong women in our lives – our mother, grandmothers and many aunts. Mrs Woo is the synergy of women who inspire us.

Trained in Graphic Design and Visual Communication, Rowena and Juliana draw on their diverse design skills whilst Angela brings her Economics and Commerce background to form their dynamic and wonderful sisterly team. With a strong penchant for making and sewing skills cultured from young, they continue to work with a small production team from their Newcastle workshop to create High Tea with Mrs Woo.

Flagship Retail Store

High Tea with Mrs Woo's store was established in 2004 and is located in the prominent, leafy inner city suburb of Cooks Hill, Newcastle. The sisters collaborated with long-time creative partner Benjamin Gallagher to create a dream interior space and shopping sanctuary that is their beautiful Newcastle store.           

Here, the sisters present their clothing ranges and a small, curated selection of jewellery, accessories and shoes, as well as hand-crafted tableware, textiles and objects for gifts and home. They gather and cultivate high quality, small-run artisanal products by makers and designers from near and far.

We bring the clothes we make and these goods to our local market - celebrating sustainable practices and small business, long-lasting and slow-wearing ways, thoughtful and well-made designs.

 

 

Come dream with us – leave the street and step into a different time. Slow up. Come to a place where you hold things in your hands – a thought, a moment, a scent, a light – beautiful, useful things – from skilled hands to your hands.

 


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