Above and beyond a label: GALA

Shooting the breeze with Nicole Filev.

BY Sara Terry

Gala Apparel leading lady, DJ, and general good human Nicole Filev joined me for a coffee in Leederville to discuss her rise in the creative scene in Perth.  She’s a hugger; I’m a hugger- we became fast friends chatting for hours about being ladies with an enterprise.  She danced for me and I even got to touch her legs- which are impeccable.


Me: ALL RIGHT! Lets start. So, what sort of inspirations have you had in the making of Gala?

Nicole: My biggest inspiration comes from my friends first and foremost. My friends inspire me because they are themselves. They’re eccentric, authentic, and genuine. My friend Yasmin in particular has been a huge support over the years. Yas has modeled for Gala, sewed garments and also DJs regularly at Gala events. I just got goose-bumps, haha!


*Feels goose-bumps* oh my god, you did just got goose-bumps.

Music is also a huge inspiration, anything from 70s/80s disco, punk and grunge. Last but not least, Gala and Salvador Dali are a big inspiration to the label- Gala and Dali were themselves and didn’t follow trends or movements. An example of this is them leaving the surrealist movement to create their own art and follow their own beliefs – something which I really resonate with. If I am to be honest, Gala is really just a representation of me. I’m not trying to create for a type of consumer, nor does Gala follow any trends – I just create stuff that I want.


Mate you rock, I think you’re great.

Aw! You rock too!


Nicole Filev


So what’s the plan for your next collection and when can we expect it?

I’m hoping to bring out my next collection later this year.  I’ll be working closely with good friend Laura Powers. Laura is a graphic designer and has been an amazing support towards Gala. Laura and I also share similar creative visions.


Next question is… what is your go-to garment?

GALA staples. They’re simple, minimalist and go with everything!


This is a tough one, I think about this question a lot. Would you rather always take cold showers, or always sleep an hour less than what you need to be fully rested?

I’d much prefer to have cold showers. In the morning I struggle to wake up because I’m a night owl. I stay up pretty late as my energy levels peak in the afternoon so you’ve actually caught me in my prime time.  Plus I can handle cold showers – I’m tough.

Nicole in GALA Apparel


Yeah well, apparently they’re supposed to be good for you too. I’m sold. Anyway, what’s your favourite movie?

Without a doubt it’s Pulp fiction. I love Quentin Tarantino. He’s one of my favourite directors alongside Stanley Kubrick… reason being is their art is eccentric, different and pushes social norms.


Your shop is online- are you more of an online shopper?

Working full-time makes it difficult to get out and go shopping. If I do, it’s on the weekends at the places my friends work or own, this way I am supporting what they do. My favourite online shop would be Comme des Garçons– it’s such a versatile, wearable and comfy Japanese brand. It can be worn out, around the house and even in bed, which is exactly like Gala!


We sleep in Gala.



Would you like for Gala to one day be a shop? 

No, I don’t really want to own my own shop. I’m a full-time Occupational Therapist and I think if I had my own shop it would be too hard to do the other things I love. I’d definitely want Gala to be in a shop, but at the moment it’s not a focus.


I know you host events at The Bird, Mojo’s Bar and The Good Shepherd Bar. What sort of sounds do you associate with Gala?

I totally associate disco, funk and soul sounds with Gala. I love CHIC, Donna Summer, Loletta Holloway, Minako Yoshida….the list goes on. I also like various DJs that do re-mixes and re-makes of old tracks like Dimitri from Paris, John Morales, Larry Heard and Ron Hardy– They’re amazing! My favourite record labels without a doubt are Salsoul Records, Rush Hour, West End Records & SAM. It is really hard to pick just a few though.


Nicole Filev


So what sort of dance do you do to your music?

I groove, I’m going to get up and show you!


You’re so freakin’ impressive. Well, Gala seems to be more of a lifestyle [than just a label]- how would you describe the Gala life?

The Gala life is fun and eccentric. It’s just really about what I’m about. Its also inclusive, it doesn’t say you have to be a certain person- its gender fluid. I make sure my garments are gender fluid.


What do you like most about the Perth scene?

What I love most is how supportive, creative and intimate it is! Some people don’t like that because they want to get out of a bubble.  In reality I don’t think our bubble is a bad thing, I think it represents unity. We are so united, like a family! It’s not a competition, as it’s about giving to our creative community.


Alright, last one! What’s your favorite colour and how would you describe that to someone who is blind?

Red is my favorite colour! I like to wear is red. It’s vibrant, strong and bold. I guess I associate it with different things both good and bad like danger, love, passion and being fearless.


Nicole and I at our very casual interview in a Leederville alleyway

You can shop Gala here, like the Facebook page here, and leave your love notes to the beautiful Nicole Filev in the letterbox by the front door.

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