Farm to Fashion - Nikki Atkinson, Horrocks Vale Collections

Farm to Fashion - Nikki Atkinson, Horrocks Vale Collections


First published in OAK Magazine Issue 12

For 26 years, rural South Australian woman Nikki Atkinson has been making her mark in the bridal, after-five and special occasion fashion wear industry.

Nikki has worked for a range of fashion design businesses, started a hugely successful bridal store in Adelaide alongside a fellow fashion school student, and run her own retail outlet. She remains in-demand to design and create unique couture from her family property at Wilmington in South Australia’s Southern Flinders Ranges.

You could be forgiven for thinking that after 26 years, Nikki would be content for things to continue on steadily as they were. But for two decades, there has been something niggling away at Nikki and she has now finally cracked the code and found a way to incorporate her other passion – Australian wool – into her fashion business.

In September this year, from her rural family home where she lives with husband and wool producer Dallas, and their three children Livina, 16, Sienna, 15, and Charlie, 12, Nikki launched Horrocks Vale Collections – a collection of exquisite bridal gowns made from Australian wool.

A farm to fashion story that sees Nikki living, working and immersing in the family’s Merino sheep property, it is also the inspiration behind her unique wool bridal gowns. Australian wool has come a long way from the chunky knits that might pop into mind at its mention.

Having grown up on a farming property on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, Nikki has long seen first-hand its sustainable, breathable, versatile characteristics and is keen to share its virtues through her unique new range.

“Wool is the best fibre you can work with. This has been a little dream of mine; there’s always been a spark between wool and I, and I’ve always loved wool as a fibre," says Nikki.

“The idea of a wool wedding dress was formed about 20 years ago when a girlfriend of mine was getting married and because she was from a sheep property north of Broken Hill, she was keen to have a wool wedding dress.

“But not for love nor money could I find ivory wool anywhere to create the dress we designed, and I ended up making her a dress from silk.”

Nikki never gave up the search, trying many times over the years to find a suitable fabric.

It was during a “special birthday” visit to Melbourne earlier 2022 with her former bridal store business partner and friend, and having traipsed the streets looking for a fabric supplier, that they finally found one.

“I was so excited and I thought, ‘Right, this is happening, the universe is trying to tell me something so I’m going to power ahead and make wool wedding dresses’,” says Nikki.

“I think people have just not thought about wool wedding dresses, and I know it will take a bit of time for them to get their heads around it because they perceive wool as being scratchy and itchy, and everybody assumes wool will be great for winter.

“But the technology of wool is so advanced and I want to showcase beautiful couture dresses that also work perfectly for summer for their breathability, and that wear so effortlessly and stylishly.”

Nikki plans to include a range of men’s Horrocks Vale Collections vests and dog accessories – all made from wool – to match in perfectly with her wedding dress designs. She finally feels she has found her niche and Nikki’s business journey continues to evolve, with a few valuable business lessons learned along the way.

“Over time I have learned to work smarter not harder, and you cannot do it all yourself,” she says. “One of the biggest lessons over the years of being in business is to concentrate on what I do best and that is creating and designing.

“It’s smarter for me to outsource other areas of the business I know I’m not great at, like technology, and just stick with what I know I do best in designing and creating."


Horrocks Vale Collections designs sustainable, luxury wedding gowns that offer today’s bride the opportunity to feel naturally beautiful, comfortable and confident while staying true to her eco-friendly values with an heirloom gown that can be passed down through the generations.

Website | Instagram

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.