You have a lovely label, All The Wild Roses. What prompted you to start it?
All The Wild Roses is a line of clothing handmade in Vietnam by local artisans. The vision for the brand is to use fashion as a force for change.
I launched the brand over 10 years ago after a life-changing trip to my native Vietnam. I experienced first hand through my 19 year old eyes how a lack of opportunity can affect a country and its communities.
Some years later I set up a personal philanthropic venture, which provided loans to up-skill local seamstresses to create their own opportunities. Today, they are the people behind our collection and have inspired our vision & purpose for the brand: “All The Wild Roses – For the dreamers inside all of us who want to make a difference. We create fashion for change, made with heart & the human touch.”
How did the name All The Wild Roses come about? What significance does it hold?
Through the experience of building our business & brand, I found that there is something very magical that happens when women are able to pursue their hopes and dreams. That, no matter what part of the world we come from, there is an innate spirit that is so determined and courageous within all of us.
So when it came to finding a name for the label, I wanted something that encapsulated this spirit – ‘The Wild Rose’ is the true wild flower, known for its beauty and resilience, it is found growing freely in the most unexpected places. To me this represents everything that inspires us in our woman; she is wild at heart, free spirited & has courage to go her own way to pursue her dreams.
What do you do to stay inspired? What inspires you most?
The constant interaction with our artisans in Vietnam makes me most inspired because I can see how far they have come, their enthusiasm to do more and grow.
Also, I am really inspired and love connecting with social enterprises or cause-driven brands that are making changes in the world through their work and products. It is always a great motivator and a way to learn about how to improve the way we do things and move closer to our vision and purpose. It was actually in pursuing this that we found Le Souk! And one of our big goals is to source ethical and sustainable fabrics in the process of creating our designs.
But what inspires me most is our vision, that we can be part of a creative industry and contribute in our own way to making an impact on the changes we want to see in the world. These are big goals but the challenge makes it exciting and inspiring as well!
What message do you want others to take from your work?
In my experience, sometimes you think you are only helping one person, but the ripple effect can change many lives. There is a statistic by CareAustralia.org, that when you help one woman, she brings at least 4 others with her. That is a compelling and inspirational statistic to know, that one action can affect more than one life and creates an ongoing ripple effect.
Having come from Vietnam, the people that helped my mother also helped my three brothers and me. Now our children also benefit -- the concept of paying forward is very real to me.
You must love to travel! What is your dream sourcing destination, if you had to pick one?
Well unfortunately with two young kids at the moment, I try to keep the travel to a minimum.
I would love to be able to source in Vietnam and develop an ethical and sustainable fabric industry there. But at this point, it is not an industry that exists or is supported.
Through Le Souk, we discovered some amazing fabric suppliers in India and Japan. In particular we are really inspired by hand-loomed fabrics that are made ethically, organically dyed and sustainable. As I mentioned, one of our big goals is to improve the way we source fabric to ensure that at every step, we create beautiful designs that are ethical and sustainable. So right now we are researching a few suppliers and looking forward to see what we can create with them.
If you had to choose one image to evoke the feel of your next collection, what would it be?
I recently began researching about the history of the indigo and was really fascinated by how it was weaved in the history of so many cultures across the world. So shades of indigo will be the lead color in our next collection.
In terms of textures and fabrics, we want to use hand-loomed fabric along with our signature lace embroidery and bohemian aesthetic.
We are just at the beginning of putting together our mood board but here is a little sneak peek so far.
What is your favorite supplier you've seen on Le Souk thus far?
At the moment I am really influenced by hand-loomed fabrics and really looking at how to create designs to incorporate these beautiful textured fabrics into our collection.
In terms of favorite supplier on Le Souk? There are too many to choose from! So many beautiful and innovative fabrics, some of which we are able to explore now and some which are definitely on the wish list to work with at a later time. For the moment we love Herbalfab, WomenWeave Charitable Trust, MoralFibre & Maruman Inc.