From Australia’s east coast to the wardrobes of Hailey Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian, local designer Emma Mulholland has certainly made a name for her streetwear brand, Holiday the Label, overseas. During peak interest on Gigi Hadid‘s pregnancy back in 2020, the supermodel had appeared on an Instagram live not only wearing the brand’s lime green checkered set, but called out the label specifically.
“Holiday, if you’re watching, I’m obsessed — and if you make these sets in 100 other colours I will take them and I appreciate it,” Hadid said.
For just its fourth year in production, Holiday the Label it appears has managed to nail the art of celebrity whispering. For Mulholland however, the brand which started with just a handful of designs was always intended to be worn by everyone. Even her grandma is fan.
Nowadays it’s not difficult to find a history of the designer’s career. She graduated from design school in 2011 to establish a namesake label. Later she closed the brand to start Holiday the Label. Now she has partnered with Microsoft. But what pray tell contributes to her ever-growing success? GRAZIA touched base with designer and founder to find out.
GRAZIA: Holiday the label has become a style landmark in Australian design and is so loved worldwide. How do you go about developing these iconic prints?
Emma Mulholland: “Generally, I will come up with a mood board, concept or an idea. [This involves] researching online, watching movies, listening to music and things like that. I used to get a lot more inspiration from going travelling but obviously over the past year or two things have moved a lot more online. I guess that’s where we start off, with mood boards and research which is where the Microsoft Surface is quite helpful with all their touchscreen features. [It] makes mood boarding really easy [so that] we can make something really nice. Then we will go to either a graphic designer or an artist with our print concept and they take it to the next level. Then it goes on to the print makers in Indonesia who will make the screens and then eventually it’s printed on the fabric.”
Holiday the Label is rooted in a fun vacation aesthetic. Can you give any insight as to what drove this decision creatively? Was it a gap in the market or do you naturally gravitate towards this style?
EM: “I definitely think there was a gap in the market when we started. It just didn’t seem like there were as many streetwear brands for females. You had to get into that skate wear or surf wear and those brands would then have their obvious women’s section. But it was never really specifically for women. I wanted to a have a streetwear brand that was more focused towards the fits and shape of females opposed to just trying to fit into a men’s streetwear section.
I wanted printed, good quality pieces that you can wear over and over again. I got a bit sick of how my previous label; just having to overhaul every season and try and push for another whole new range full of clothing. I wanted something that was more around the pieces [where] nothing really ever goes out of season… I just want it to be like one continuous collection.”
What are your desk must-haves whether you’re working from home or in an office setting?
EM: “Definitely my Microsoft Surface Four – a very nice light laptop that you can have at home and take it back and forth from the office. My other must-haves are always a drink bottle, I have teacups which drive people crazy sort of floating around, lots of inspirational pictures and photographs as well. I have a measuring tape because I’m always measuring things up, and also Pantone books for colour references so it can match on the laptop as well.”
Holiday is very bright, bold and fun. Is there any music that you love, that lends itself to the aesthetic of the brand?
EM: “I listen to a lot of 80s and 90s music like INXS, Australian Crawl and things like that which I think definitely give people that Australian road trip feeling. I’m pretty hopeless with new music. But I definitely listen to a lot of music in the studio and downstairs in the store as well.”
The brand has been popular amongst celebrities such as Emma Chamberlain, Gigi Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian. What is your initial reaction when you see a design worn by these influential women?
EM: “It’s always so exciting when you see something like that. Those people have their pick of everything possibly in the world so it’s obviously very flattering to see them pick something of your own. I always loved seeing anyone wear something. Obviously, celebrities create lots of hype around certain things but it’s always so lovely to see them appreciate them and look amazing in whatever they wear. So those little moments [are] always very helpful and very exciting when they happen.”
If you were to have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
EM: “My fiancé will hate me but Keanu Reeves. But I’m sure I’d have him come along too.”
You’ve mentioned in the past that your grandma loves the brand. Does she provide any inspiration or input?
EM: “I always like to think about different people. I don’t like to specify for one certain person when I’m designing. I think it’s nice to be able to have different pieces in a collection that can be worn by a wide variety of people. That’s why we have extended our size ranging up to a 3XL, so it’s a bit more inclusive. I like to keep in mind all sorts of different people that like my brand. [I’m] never trying to pigeonhole myself, so there’s a lot of variety in a lot of different people that can come in and hopefully find something that they love.”
What’s the most unexpected place that you have seen one of your designs worn?
EM: “Mikey (from Double Rainbouu) just sent me something that was on the ABC News. Someone was wearing it in a news story on the ABC.”
You’ve recently opened a store front with the boys from Double Rainbouu. How does that compare to your other career highlights?
EM: “The store’s been amazing. It’s always been on my bucket list to do a store, [it] is something that I’ve waited for a long time to do. I loved the whole design and the shop fit-out and everything was very exciting. So yes, [a] definite career highlight and it’s very exciting to see it there in the flesh now. You work online so much and then the clothes go to warehouse now [so] you don’t really get to see them as much on catwalks or magazines as you used to. So having them hanging out in a store is a very nice feeling.”
What is your dream collaboration?
EM: “Artist Ken Done.”
What is next for Holiday the label? How do you see the brand developing?
EM: “We’re going through a lot of growth and change with our team which has been really exciting. We’re adding more people that can help take it to the next level and we’re introducing a knitwear category of our collection which I’m excited about. Also, some Australian made denim and slowly introducing [new] pieces. Never over committing to things, just bringing things in slowly and testing them organically to see how customers react to them, rather than just deciding to bring in a whole new collection. So yeah, different elements of the business are coming in and different pieces that I’m looking forward to getting into the store and online very soon.”