If you want unserious, joyful denim that people will stop to ask you about, you want Moss Tunstall’s cleverly repurposed one-offs. Moss’ jeans (and occasionally, denim jackets) are covered in an always-unique combination of starbursts, rainbows, zig-zags and flowers, all hand-dyed from a home studio in Melbourne. Eight months after finishing their first-ever pair, the upcycling project has picked up their first international stockist, Los Angeles’ Doza Shop. The self-taught team tells us trench coats, big ol’ bags and wide-legged cargos are next. Here, we cover technique, canvas, and the beautiful Banksia. Visit the Moss Tunstall e-store here.
Where did your interest in denim begin?
The interest in denim jeans has always been there, I mean, I’ve always had a favourite pair of jeans that I’d thrash to threads, then cut and stitch; just like your basic DIY home mods. My interest in creating wearable denims for others is a recent revelation. The silkscreening process and painterly approach I have towards Mosswear has been a part of my practice since high school, however, those processes of mark-making were for artworks to be presented on walls or shelves, as opposed to bodies.
You source all of your own post-consumer denim. What are you looking for in your secondhand jeans and tees? What makes a good canvas?
Secure buttons (for jeans, obvs) uniform stitching, and sturdy denim that can withstand the rigours of immense partying; blanks that won’t die if I dye them, really. And although seldom found, I prefer looser fitting jeans with more room for moving.
You hand-dye all Moss Tunstall items. What techniques do you most enjoy?
Dye-removal and overprinting has been at the heart of Moss so far. I love the immediacy and tactility of both of these processes, literally watching denim fade to white or introducing a sunset yellow is like magic happening before your eyes. I will never tire of that.
Your designs incorporate a lot of abstract floral motifs. What’s your favourite flower?
Banksias! They appear so proud and present themselves in such a wild spectrum of colours.
We’re sharing a Moss Tunstall shoot that you conceived of, based on raves here in Melbourne. What are you most looking forward to getting up to once social-distancing restrictions are eased?
Well, you could probably guess a late night out with my nearest and dearest is numero uno, but going out and experiencing the arts closely follows. Albeit essential at the moment, viewing paintings, or sculptures, or music performances digitally just isn’t quite the same. I’m slowly becoming more cagey, but understanding what we’re isolating for gives me solace. Global solidarity is paramount in these unprecedented times, so I’m in no rush to flex my freedom if I’m completely honest. The pandemic isn’t over, nor is 2020.