Shining Bright: Meet The Optimists

Meet The Optimists

To celebrate our Spring-Summer collection The Optimist, read how three shining talents are remaining focused and inspired – whether through hard work and creativity, the art of living or self-expression, what’s clear is that positivity shines through in all aspects of their world, right down to the way they dress with a sense of confidence in mind. Here, Kaitlyn Ham, Mel Moranelli and Nikki Cruz share their viewpoints on the power of feelgood fashion and the small daily rituals that are helping them stay charged.


The Canada-based creative Mel Moranelli has built her personal brand around the idea of positive thinking and light-infused imagery. Here, she shares her thoughts on dressing in a predominately neutral palette, investing in timeless classics and how having ‘a searching eye’ has shaped her world.

Tell us about your creative mood right now:

“I’ve always been known to be optimistic and exude positive energy, so when it shows in my work, I feel even more connected with my art. At the moment, I feel a sense of peace in my chest and I believe that’s due to creating by the water and sunrise.”

It’s always such a treat to find in someone the ability to inspire and recharge our senses – what ignited your love of fashion and how your aesthetic has evolved?

“I can’t even pinpoint the moment I fell in love with fashion, I have loved it forever. I love its evolution and how it can be so different from one season to the next, it’s exciting and its changes and waves are a direct reflection on the world and what people are experiencing. I think my aesthetic evolves in the same way: current and previous experiences are mirrored in my aesthetic. For example, this season I needed some tranquillity and so I’ve connected my photography to nature: the slow rise of the sun and rippling waves of the ocean.”

What is your viewpoint on accessorising and how do you make a statement?

“I love accessorising – in my mind, my outfit is the backdrop and accessories and handbags are the show. My favourites from the collection are the Lilia Day Bag and the Savin Collectable Day Bag.


Nikki Cruz’s style certainly speaks to the spirit of the times: the Perth-based talent has a knack for zeroing in on the key shapes of the season, in monochromatic and neutral palettes, which she then stamps with a kind of exclamation mark – an architectural bag or a beautiful organic jewel that lends her look a sense of polished ease. Here, Cruz reveals her formula for feeling good.

Tell us about your creative mood right now:

“Energised. I recently went on a small getaway and the feeling of waking up next to my love with nothing but the views of nature, and then a swim in the ocean gave me the calmness I needed to empty my mind. I felt I needed to give energy to my mental health to allow for new inspiration to flow in.”

It’s always such a treat to find in someone the ability to inspire and recharge our senses – what ignited your love of fashion and how your aesthetic has evolved?

“I’ve always chosen minimal designs. I appreciate and admire the designers and brands who create clean visual lines, structural, relaxed, contemporary detailing whilst also giving sensorial experience within the fabric. If anything, I think my style has evolved by having less.”

Can you talk us through your edit from OROTON’s new season collection – which pieces caught your eye?

“The first piece I chose was the Rib Knit Dress because I gravitate towards a long-line fit and I love the strap detailing. This dress is so versatile and can be worn with sandals for a casual warmer day or dressed up with boots for an evening out. I also love the Double-Breasted Blazer and matching Pleat Pant. I was drawn to the structure and the tonal pink colouration. This matching ensemble is something that can make me feel like I’m a boss but still be comfortable and relaxing. In terms of styling, I think less is more. Sneakers with a suit gives it a fresh edge.”


To say that Kaitlyn Ham has shaped her own kind of clean-lined aesthetic would be an understatement — the Sydney-based creative director is a master of minimalism, and her authority on the subject has earned her a dedicated online following. But outside of that, it’s her positive approach to daily living that we’re interested in – so how is Ham finding inspiration in the moment?

Tell us about your creative mood right now: it feels as though there is a kind of luminous energy in your work and a sense of optimism has come into play:

“The biggest lesson I have learnt from the past 18 months is the ability to use the restrictions to feed my creative ability rather than hamper it. It forces you to shift your perspective and get back to basics with how you approach things creatively – when you strip everything back and work within certain limits, you gain a better sense of yourself and what makes your perspective unique, and I think it shines through in your work.”

A colour palette is always the starting point when it comes to designing our collections – how does colour influence your personal style?

“I tend to prefer a more muted colour palette most days, layering ivories and neutrals when I’m looking for a lighter mood than my usual black. Having said that, I haven’t shied away from measured pops of colour every now and then, in particular through suiting or matching sets where the tonal nature and tailored cuts can lend a more minimal feel.”

Can you talk us through your edit from OROTON’s new season collection – which pieces caught your eye?

“The pieces I loved from this collection were the Skinny Rib Polo in Ecru, the Relaxed Drill Pant and Clement Small Tote in Ecru. I love mixing neutral shades for a clean, tonal look. The skinny rib polo was the key piece for me as the fit and texture really makes it such a feature for the eye, pairing it with a classic-cut pant and tonal bag makes for a multi-dimensional look that still has a clean and minimal edge.”