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All the kids are getting along: Maise

As one of the only designers shortlisted for this year’s SOYA awards, Maise designer Claire Greaves has once again proven her worth in the Sydney fashion scene. Inspired by such contradicting elements as French sensibilities & rock and roll culture and masculinity & femininity, Claire conceived Maise after a stint at the label which fills many a fashion-lover’s wardrobe, Topshop. It would be hard not to take the influence from such an experience and run with it, which is exactly what Claire did when she arrived back on Australian soil in 2007.

Maise’s Spring Summer 2009-10 collection, Team M has just hit stores, and it is definitely one that leaves a must-have dizzying spell on the desire. Claire has yet again extracted elements from pop culture and twisted the imagery into an extremely wearable collection. This time it was early-nineties teen flicks that played the muse, with references to everything from basketball courts to prep-school uniforms. The sporty pieces that scream ‘Layer Me!’ are immediately reminiscent of American high school stereotypes, and Claire pays homage to each and every one. Be it the varsity cheerleader, the bookworm or the class MVP, this collection is bound to shift the dividing lines between every school clique.

Side Street, Sydney caught up with Claire to find out where it all began…

1) What are your first memories of your blossoming love for fashion?

Hating my mother for dressing me and my sisters in identical outfits.

2) Did you grow up wanting to be a designer?

No, it was more of a later revelation when I was around 16 years old….

3) Where did you study fashion?


4) How did you get your foot in the door in the industry?

I interned at Topshop for 1 month which led them to employ me as a designer in the print division.

5) What was it like to branch out into your own label when you returned home?

Daunting but exciting and a LOT of work and sacrifice.

6) What would you consider is the best part about what you do?

Working for yourself is always a great thing, but being able to design what you want rather than adhering to other peoples/companies aesthetics is the best.

7) Are there any misconceptions of the fashion industry that you want people – particularly those aspiring to be in it – to know about?

Well, there’s the fact that the fashion industry isn’t glitz and glam… but I’m pretty sure everyone knows that.

8) I love that you were inspired by American high schools for your SS09/10 collection – particularly My So Called Life, which is one of my favourite shows to date! What was it about them that you were drawn to?

My So Called Life was such a great series… it’s a shame it only lasted one season! It was so grungy and cool and real.

9) How do you unwind after a collection?

I generally sleep and try to get out of Sydney.

10) Where are your favourite places to hang out in Sydney?

Bondi, Fratelli Paradiso, the sun room in my apartment.

Claire Greaves

words: Seema Duggal


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