Spell & the Gypsy Collective: The Innovative Women Behind Byron Bay’s Bohemian Brand

The Aquarius Festival (Australia’s equivalent of Woodstock) took place 43 years ago, but the counterculture never truly left the Byron Bay area. The coastal hippie town is one of the leading epicenters of bohemian fashion brands. Spell & the Gypsy Collective is one of those leading brands.

Spell was founded by Isabella Briedis in 2009 when she decided to take her love of hand making jewelry to the markets of Byron Bay. Elizabeth, her sister, had a successful career as a film editor at the time, but felt the pull to join Isabella as a business partner. As a result, the brand of your bohemian dreams was born.

Since its modest beginnings, Spell has grown into a lifestyle brand with a large and loyal online following. It didn’t take long for U.S. stores such as Free People and Shopbop to take notice and begin stocking Spell’s festival-worthy attire. Scroll through their online inventory, and you will find yourself waitlisted to purchase their most popular inventory, which now extends beyond jewelry and clothing to housewares, children’s clothing, and wedding attire. Spell & the Gypsy Collective has also recently revamped their website to make it easier than ever for U.S. fans to shop their merchandise.

The bohemian nature of the Spell brand is largely based on your own styles. Who are some of your own style muses?

Isabella: Our all time muse from a theatrical, design place is Stevie Nicks (of course!) but modern style muses like Kate Moss and Erin Wasson (who we got to work with last year!) also inspire us and help keep our designs modern and relevant for today.

You all stay incredibly busy. What’s a typical day look like for the both of you?

Lizzy: Our days are the craziest! I often run between our HQ for marketing or sales meetings and our design studio for fits and design sessions. If we have a shoot approaching there’s a lot of styling and planning going on, and if we have a new collection on the boil there are fashion mags everywhere and fabric swatches and trims lying around like a lace explosion has gone off in our office! And of course there are school drop offs and pickups in there too.

My favorite campaign right now is Revolver. What goes into making each new collection unique and special to the Spell brand?

Isabella: I actually just started designing Summer 2017/18 yesterday so you’ve caught me at the right time! It begins with lots of sketching and mood boarding to try to get all the ideas swimming around my head down on paper. Once I start sketching usually a theme starts to appear and we’ll move in that direction. There was a collection this year that was really monochrome and muted instead of our signature bright colors, so we just went with it. It will be a really different and unexpected collection. Once I have a clear direction I work with my textiles designers to creates each print.

Lizzy: Isabella is obsessive about prints! Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen a woman possessed like when she’s getting a print right!

Isabella: [laughs] Yeah, I know. It’s a bit of a vortex when I’m in print world! We then have to choose the colors, and gosh that is something we can agonize over for days! Our pattern maker works on the patterns and then we bring the prints and patterns together in lots of fits; it’s a huge process.

To read our full interview with the women of Spell, order Inspirer’s fall issue here!

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Lily is an entertainment writer who grew up around the corner from Janis Joplin's hometown. Consequently, she found herself enthralled with the music and stories of the leading women of rock & roll at a young age.
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