The business launched in Sydney in 2003, wholesaling nationally, internationally and retailing at unique boutique markets.
During this time I consulted and collaborated with interior designers, architects and artists who fell in love with the Mandalay look and wanted to use it as part of their design aesthetic with their own clients.
Mandalay Designs has experienced a strong editorial presence with the media, featured in Vogue Living, Inside Out Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald Lift Out, The Age, Belle Magazine and House & Garden.
From 2009 to to June 2014 Mandalay moved from Sydney and had a retail presence in a 1950's industrial warehouse behind the iconic historic Kings Arcade in Armadale, Melbourne, Australia. Having a retail presence inspired me to return to Melbourne after 14 years away.
Mandalay Designs is now based on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, creating our distinctive ranges, creative development, expression and collaboration with our artisans overseas.
I take inspiration from living on the coast, travel, emotions, colour, art, people and I am constantly inspired by living and working in our beautiful coastal environment in Australia, Boon Warung land.
Our brand specialises in creating resortwear, beachwear to cocktails, table linen for celebrating with friends & family for all occasions. The most favourite line we always hear from our customers is “I was stopped in the street & asked what label my beautiful dress was, to which they reply, oh this is 5,10 years old and my favourite Mandalay Designs piece”.
We wholesale to our selective retailers throughout Australia and online with our fashion, homewares and textile products. Our national and international agents wholesale our ranges and we also exhibit at a limited number of design trade fairs.
ABOUT - EMMA STRAUSS
I am an artist, dreamer, collector, creator, designer and traveller. At heart I am a gypsy, forever aware of the coastal beauty and absorb colours, design, nature and I am constantly engaging on an emotional and creative level.
I grew up with parents who introduced us to island holidays when we were kids. My first holiday to Fiji gave me my love & passion for palm trees and shell collecting. My father was an artist who loved drawing sea-life, we worked together over the years and I have used his lobster & shell pencil drawings in my designs which I recoloured, these designs are forever some of our best sellers and always in our collections.
Fashion and textiles is where my career began and I have come full circle. I have always loved mixing and matching unusual pieces collected from my global travels in the way I decorate my home and how I love to dress.
The Mandalay Designs brand evolved from all of this 20 years ago, after my first holiday trip to Burma, now known as Myanmar. The evocative and sing-song name "Mandalay" resonated with me while I was there and continued to after reading Rudyard Kiplings poem, "The Road to Mandalay" and "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier with the opening line in her book "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...I came upon it suddenly...there was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been..."
The Mandalay Designs brand continues to grow and I am so proud at how well recognised it has become.
In working with our artisans we create all our own prints, embroideries, colours and textures exclusive to the Mandalay Designs brand, ethos and look. I spend weeks in India a couple of times a year to create the ranges, bringing my design work from Australia. My most favourite time is working with our artisans in the studio and at the printing tables developing the designs and colours, often coming up with exciting combinations that are new each and every time we work together.
The ancient art of block carving and printing is the most intricate form of design. To see my designs carved out and then the print process is always so exciting for me and to watch the embroidery practice which we often do by hand and with specialised textile machines.
DESIGNER AND DECORATOR
My role as an Interiors Design Consultant and Stylist continues to evolve across many fields for private homes, boutique hotels, restaurant fit outs, private yachts and commercial projects which have included retail fit-outs and designer trade-shows. In the past I have also collaborated with interior designers, architects and artists who fell in love with the Mandalay Designs "look and eclectic feel" which they wanted this interpretation as part of their design aesthetic with their own clients.
IN THE SPIRIT OF RECONCILIATION WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRADITIONAL CUSTODIANS OF COUNTRY THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA AND THEIR CONNECTIONS TO LAND, SEA AND COMMUNITY. WE PAY OUR RESPECT TO THEIR ELDERS PAST AND PRESENT AND EXTEND THAT RESPECT TO ALL ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES TODAY