If you’re a Melburnian with an interest in the broader beauty and fashion industry, you’ve likely (and perhaps unknowingly) seen a Tiny Disco project. Usually, they’re created for a prolific Australian brand and come replete with fun, verve and vibrance.
Chelsea Morley is the flamboyant mastermind at the helm of the Tiny Disco studio, born to tell stories via beautifully-constructed vignettes. She’s also a style muse of Harrolds’, making a case for colour-play and statement-making in her unmissable outfits.
A quintessentially vivid approach to dressing
While we’ve spent meticulous time selecting and curating the luxury labels that hang in our Harrolds stores, it’s the local, living and breathing embodiments of fashion that truly inspire the way our garments are worn in the wild.
That’s why we’re catching up with Chelsea today: to rehash her serendipitous business beginnings, a quintessentially vivid approach to dressing, her recent obsession with Marine Serre, and the best places to sink a cocktail in town. She’ll also make a petition for why pink should be the cornerstone hue of your wardrobe, year-round.
Tell us about the origins of Tiny Disco. We’d love to know your ‘then’ to ‘now’ story in a nutshell.
Tiny Disco was born on my living room floor about 5 months after the birth of my first child, Arthur. I was on maternity leave from my gig in commercial TV and decided I’d lend a hand at something else to help pay the rent. My husband was a photographer so I begged him to let me pick up a video camera and film some BTS on some of his shoots.
From there, it spiraled in a weird and wonderful way. I did a few shoots for free, then got paid a little bit, then a little bit more. Eventually, I was shooting enough to bring on a full time editor. Then we made the leap into a fully-fledged creative agency.
We now have 28 staff — they’re all passionate about creating beautiful campaigns with our signature flair. I’m obsessed with each and every one of them and the work they produce. We’ve all got a nice flow going on.
How does fashion fuse with Tiny Disco’s brand? Describe the overarching aesthetic to us in a few words?
Fashion fuses across almost everything we do. We’re considering looks and fashion in every campaign and shoot we embark on and our team is constantly decked out in colour (lots of OOTD pics happen in the mirror at the top of the stairs). Some of the team even get their manis done in accordance with the shoot calendar (in case they ever have to hand model). Our overarching aesthetic is: feminine, unique and strong. We thrive building creative that speaks to our team, through our team.
When it comes to getting dressed, how are you constructing outfits for Melbourne’s cool conditions right now?
I generally construct through colour: pinks and pastels fill my wardrobe and I love a good basic with a touch of flair (think tees with shoulder pads and oversized vintage blazers). Good shoes and a designer piece speckled in the mix. I am 34 and have only JUST discovered the benefits of a trench coat. My mum also always told me if your feet are warm the rest of your body is, so I like to wear good warm socks and shoes!
What’s on your Harrolds winter wish list for the season?
I am utterly obsessed with Marine Serre right now. Dion Lee is always on my wishlist and I’m a sucker for the pops of colour Jacquemus uses across all his collections. On my dream Harrolds purchases right now are:
I am obsessed with humans and observation
What has changed in your life (outside of work) since building the Tiny Disco brand?
It feels like the last 5 years have predominantly been about work and work only. We expanded our team significantly, endured the lows of Melbourne lockdowns and now it finally feels like we’re coming up for air. But I’ve also had some pretty monumental moments outside of the work bit — I gave birth to our daughter Audrey who completed our family, I’ve shifted into my mid-30s which feels like the age I’ve always wanted to be, and we recently bought our first family home which has been a total life goal since I was about 12.
Your instagram feed is kaleidoscopic and whimsical, full of colour and clever chaos. Who or what do you think influenced your signature style?
Fashion, beauty, colour, film, magazines and a lot of literature. I actually base a lot of creative direction on day-to-day interactions and just plain old human behavior. I am obsessed with humans and observation. Oh, and Tik Tok. Tik Tok has a lot to answer for.
When you’re not working, where can we find you eating, drinking or exploring in the city?
I am all about a good cocktail or a killer glass of really nice wine. Some of my favourites are:
You’re a mum to two beautiful small humans. At risk of asking the most cliché question of all time, how do you find balance between motherhood and business-running. Honestly.
I hate that question! Honestly, there really isn’t any balance. It’s about getting through each day. The battles and difficulties evolve and change as the months and years go on. The early days were about sleepless nights and running on empty. Now that I have such a brilliant team of humans working alongside me, the battle is shared. Sometimes when I’m in a pickle, someone from the office will grab Arthur from school and feed him some snacks if I’m in a meeting. It’s really cool. My kids feel like part of the team and the team feels like part of the family.
The way to “doing it all” or “doing what you need to do” is about leaning on support, whether it’s paid support in childcare or nannies or your family support. I’m eternally working on the “mum guilt” thing and I’m convinced it never leaves you as a parent. In the early days of Tiny Disco, I think I was a bit psychotic, trying to do it all and be it all, working until 2am every night and then trying to be a present mum. I’m a little more chilled now and starting to enjoy downtime with our kids and a balanced worklife.
Lastly, what would be the unfiltered career advice you’d tell a younger self?
Be kind. Don’t be an asshole. I will always remember the jerks in my career (for the worst reasons) and I will always cherish the kind people and people who just took the time to connect with me. Everyone is so stressed and busy all the time and it’s easy to be cut throat and rude. But, life is short and people need kindness and love. And, a single conversation can sometimes change a person’s life. Also, follow your gut.
And the style advice?
Don’t bleach your eyebrows. Do cut that fringe. Then grow it out and cut it again. Do splurge on some things that make you feel good. Embrace the colours that make you feel good, layer and get funky. Dress up when it isn’t appropriate. Own an outfit. Try new things. All the time. Succumb to the dumbest trends and own them. Shop secondhand.