Tallow are one of the latest labels to be picked up at Urban Outfitters for the Surf Daze Collection. We spoke to Ali Mandalis about finding inspiration in far away travels and a life spent obsessed with waves.
How did you and Shannon Clynes (your partner at Tallow) meet?
We met through the surf company we were working at, Insight. We became friends over a beer while watching the famous horse race in Australia called the Melbourne Cup. We were the only two girls in the company that surfed, so from then on we hung at the beach after work and surfed together. It ultimately created a strong bond between us.
What were you doing before launching your label?
I took a year off from working in a full time design role and traveled all through South America. I was meant to only go for about three months and I ended up going for 11. It was one of most my treasured times as I gained bucket loads of inspiration through the incredible cultures and colors. I surfed all day, did my art by night, and was simply blessed to have such an incredible journey without the modern day pressures that we all can get caught up in.
What are your latest inspirations for your next collection?
I love researching different art in different cultures. For the next collection we’re pointing towards different African colours and prints. I can't say too much but I'm loving the exploration into their history and present day artisan culture.
You work with a lot of incredible artists. Are there any dream collaborations you would like to make in the future for Tallow?
I usually cross paths with an artist somewhere along the way or they just jump out at me from the net, then I ask them with my fingers crossed that they’re interested in collaborating. I love using artists that I haven't heard of before but have that something special that I resonate with, being technique, colour palettes, or simply ocean inspired.
What is your playlist like at work?
When I work I love listening to all the old classics. Pixies, Jane's Addiction, Led Zeppelin, Mudhoney, Fugazi, The Velvet Underground.
I noticed you guys support and take part in a lot of events for girls in surfing. Did you both grow up surfing or is it something you grew to love?
I had no direct influence of surfing, I was just always obsessed by it for as long as I can remember. A lot of my early days were spent on the beach, hanging in sand dunes and beach bonfires at night. Always salty and sandy. Shan was much the same and nothing much has changed for either of us.
Where would your go-to surfing destination be and why?
Right now we’re in autumn and I am loving my own home beach breaks. The east coast of Australia is at its best during autumn—crisp days, warm sunshine, perfect waves, and no crowds. There are hundreds of perfect little secret breaks up and down the coast. Solitude and the beauty of the Australian bush.
Do you have any favorite surfing films?
Love all the old classics like Morning of the Earth, Forgotten Island Of Santosha, Sprout—anything old school that meets present day.
Besides your own incredible line, what are some key pieces in your closet?
I just raided all the op shops on a recent surf trip up the east coast of Australia and scored some great additions. My favourite is a jade green chinese smoking coat and retro bright red pom-pon beanie. My new uniform :)! Other key pieces and staples are cut off shorts, oversized retro shirts, boots, hatsd and lots of jewels.
What are you doing in your downtime, when you're not in the office?
Downtime is spent on the beach on a blanket with friends talking nonsense, drawing, reading, skating, musicing and smiling!
X - Jen