Rex & Isla - The Origin Story

Fulfilling. Amazing. Life-affirming.

I thought being a mum would be all that.

I realised during my pregnancy with my first, Rex, that becoming a mum was hard. I learnt so much that I wasn’t taught in medical school, and for me, the most surprising was that pregnancy can be rough. I had friends who sailed through, while I struggled with insomnia, reflux and hip pain. The insomnia was the worst of these. I would find myself bleary eyed in the morning, waking up with minimal time to get out the door for my day job, where I helped other mums through their pregnancy, labour and birth. Then I would come home and fall asleep on the couch. Add to this that I wasn't fitting any of my regular clothes anymore, so I was feeling a bit depleted and like I'd already lost a bit of myself. I knew something needed to change.

I needed some me time, and creative outlet was just the thing to take my mind off all the bodily changes happening outside of my control. I began sewing and designing, and realised that I could make my own dresses that could last me from maternity to nursing, and beyond. I used the most colourful fabric I could get my hands on, and wearing these pieces made me feel like me again - I could wear something colourful and super unique, and of course, with pockets. I could be pregnant and dress amazingly without resorting to beige clingy outfits that would only last me for another 2 months before I packed them away, to await the next pregnancy.

Rex & Isla came about when my friend, Jess, spotted me wearing my designs and breastfeeding Rex as a newborn. She encouraged me to share these designs with the world, and so, Rex & Isla was brought into the world in April of 2022. Now I am constantly dreaming up new prints and designs, using my own experience of looking after and feeding my babies to fuel this process. The prints are a combination of a collaboration with the amazing artist Bernadette Wallace (former Australian Olympian and also my best friend since grade 5), and my own work. We both find inspiration from our natural surroundings – Bernadette’s, being Adelaide, and mine, the beautiful Torres Strait in Far North Queensland. Sustainability and being environmentally conscious is at the heart of all our decision making here, and it is important that we use the highest quality fabrics and avoid the use of synthetics and excess chemicals where possible.  

Rex + Isla has grown bigger and faster than I anticipated, and after just one year in business, we were nominated for and won the Best in Fabric Design Award at the 2023 SHE-com Awards.

I love wearing these designs in my everyday life, which now involves running around after my two toddlers, and working as a GP Obstetrician in the Torres Strait. I will only ever deliver clothing that I myself find beautiful and functional.

Thank you for reading this far, and for supporting my small business - you are truly appreciated and I hope you find your little slice of you here 💕

Tegan x

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