Heidi Middleton is kind of a renaissance woman. A creative, enlightened soul, she is passionate, curious and talented, but above all else, inspired by art. It is this passion which sees the birth of ARTCLUB, a new multidisciplinary platform that includes but is not bound to fashion, art and vintage. A platform for the purpose of pure creative provocation, Middleton’s ARTCLUB is an ambitious endeavour to slow down fashion into what she describes as a “moveable feast”. The online atelier sees a beautifully original mash-up of slow fashion, vintage pieces, original art and limited-edition prints which culminate in one open-minded, free-spirited space. ARTCLUB is rule resistant, except for one, be love.

Ahead of the Australian Fashion Summit at VAMFF – where Middleton is a guest speaker – the former sass & bide co-founder chats to GRAZIA about sustainability, the sisterhood and what it takes to be part of her ARTCLUB.

ArtClub is all about repurposing. how do you repurpose nostalgia for a modern palette? And how did the idea come about?
I have always held a love for the past, both in design and also in a personal sense; I’m a nostalgic person. I enjoy contrasting and contradiction from a design sensibility, so in many creative mediums, I like the challenge of bringing history and modernity together, be it fashion, interiors, art etc.

As the world grows increasingly restless politically, environmentally and socially, is Artclub reactionary at all? Do you design with this in mind?
Yes, I feel that Artclub is very much a sensory and emotional response to the current times. I had the opportunity to re create in a new way and my favourite creative elements have all come together with a foundation that enhances people & the earth.

Do you see any similarities between Artclub and your sass & bide?
In many ways no, but there is a way of sitting with the world that underpins my design philosophy that is consistent with both Artclub and sass & bide.

How important is sustainability in fashion today and why? A lot of brands make claims of sustainability, but what truly constitutes sustainable, ethical fashion?
It is more than important, it’s crucial if we want our children and grandchildren to continue on a healthy planet. The problems are real and so are the threats to the earth. I think that brands can claim that they are genuinely sustainable if they are attempting at each touchpoint to make green choices. Transparency is key. Some brands are on a journey to shift to a sustainable model and so if the transparency is there, it is clear that the intention in authentic.

The sisterhood has seemingly never been stronger. As a female designer, how important do you see your role is in this testing climate? What role does the female designer play in the current social climate?
The rise of female strength is undeniable. As a collective, women are highlighting global issues and creating change in a very powerful way. I think that the role of the female designer is to be nothing but themselves. Non-apologetic.

GRAZIA and ICON General Manager Marne Schwartz will also be speaking at the Australian Fashion Summit on Friday 8th March at 3.30pm in the Go Global: #TeamChina panel

For tickets head to: https://vamff.com.au/event/australian-fashion-summit/


WHAT: Runway 7 presented by GRAZIA + ICON (supported by Schwarzkopf at Priceline Pharmacy)

DESIGNERS: Ten Pieces, P.E. Nation, Client Liason, Double Rainbouu, Sister, Handsom and Limb styled by Peter Simon Phillips, visuals by Spencer not Spencer, music by Jonny Seymour.

WHERE: Showroom 1, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

WHEN: 8:30-9:15pm, Saturday 9 March, 2019


Show tickets include entry to the official Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival after party, presented by GRAZIA and ICON at Bond Nightclub, Saturday 9th March from 9.30pm.