sook¹ /suːk/ /sʊk/
(Australian slang, derogatory)
A shy or timid person, a scaredy-cat, a sissy.
Spending her twenties on building sites, farms and long-haul ships, brand founder and creative director Mimosa Schmidt knows what it means to get her hands dirty. Often working in hyper masculine spaces, at times being the only woman on site, during these formative years she also learnt what it means to be watched on the job. Her femininity, in the context of hard labour, was still wrongly seen to imply weakness, incompetence, and inexperience.
Dressed in standard-issue, ill fitting workwear, she felt overlooked from the get go. A feeling that was exacerbated by the harassment and isolation she endured, for which gender seemed to be the only catalyst. Slogging it out in sagging overalls and baggy workshirts, she started to dream up designs that would empower those who have to work doubly hard to earn the respect most others are given freely.
Enter SÜK Workwear. The culmination of years of research and inspired design prototypes, SÜK is built on the ethos of celebrating all workers as worthy. Function, sexuality, fluidity, integrity and fierceness combine in these garments, whose design champions feminine expression, rather than attempting to dismiss and disguise under the usual workwear norm.
SÜK invites all bodies to have the confidence to be their most creative selves, the versatility to endure any task, and the freedom to look hot while doing it. A tongue-in-cheek homonym, SÜK is a wink to all the men on site who thought ‘the girls’ were subpar, an outright gift to all identities who’s power has, until now, been dismissed.
Alison Pyrke is SÜK’s prized co-designer and garment developer. Alison undertook the daunting task of translating Mimosa’s visions into garments over three years of planning, sketching, pattern making, sampling and refining.
“It’s incredibly rare that you have a vision for something, and you witness it come to life as you dreamt it. Alison totally did that for SÜK, and more — the design elements she brought to the table are key, and her attention to detail, eye for quality and supreme craftsmanship is at the core of SÜK’s success.”
A cobbler and artist in her own right, Alison has use for SÜK on a daily basis.
The first thing you notice about a SÜK garment is the fabric: it is prewashed to prevent shrinkage, and surprisingly soft. A lightly brushed, 100% cotton drill that feels like an old favourite. At 310 gsm our garments are built to last, & will accrue character with age. Every stage of garment manufacturing has been conducted to the highest ethical standard: from fabric sourcing to factory production, right down to the small details — like the 100% vegan leather patches on our back pockets.
The Social Studio
For every SÜK garment sold we are donating $1 to The Social Studio, a non-profit organisation in Collingwood, Melbourne. “A fashion school, a clothing label, a retail shop, a digital textile print studio, a clothing manufacturer and a community space created from the style and skills of young people from new migrant and refugee communities,” the Social Studio champions the values of diversity, community, education, environmentally sustainable design and ethical business practices. “This is the part of SÜK that I am truly excited for. The potential to contribute to something bigger and more meaningful than just a sick-bomb-ass clothing label.” — Mimosa Schmidt