Last year was a whirlwind for me at Pure Pod HQ. If you didn't notice I disappeared for three weeks in September. You might have noticed my travels on social media!
My beautiful Mum took my brother, sister and I to Scotland to visit our relatives. It had been 70 years since my Mum left, with her Mum who was a Scottish tailor and dress maker, Dad who was a newspaper printer and her little sister Mary. Imagine jumping on a boat for three months from cold Scotland to Sydney, in the mid 1940's, then to living in humid tropical Brisbane. It must have been a shock, such different places!
Before hitting Edinburgh and meeting a huge family, I took myself to London and stayed with a friend, Tanya, in Lewes, and hour by train south of London.
I tried to see as much textile and fashion related things as I could while I was there and see as much as I could in the arts, fashion history and little English towns.
I was there during London Fashion week and got to meet some of my guru ethical fashion peeps!
I was invited to meet the team at the Ethical Fashion Forum and Common Objective - CEO Tamsin Lejeune. She is a pioneer in the sustainable fashion movement in the UK and also the founder of The Ethical Fashion Forum. We have been in contact with her for over 12 years now, as Pure Pod was selected back then as a '500 Fellowship' member and business of the EFF.
We have both watched each other grow and witnessed ethical fashion change through the years. I was honured to meet her and excited to hear she loved our brand.
I was also lucky enough to meet another heavy weight ethical fashion guru while I was in London - Safia Minnie. She is a British social entrepreneur and co - author of 'Slave to Fashion' and other interesting fashion industry books. She is the Managing Director of Po-Zu and former founder of People Tree one of the first Fairtrade clothing brands. She is a huge advocate for Fairtrade and ethical fashion.
She often speaks at events with Livia Firth, Ceo of ECO-AGE about the issues in the fashion industry and how we can help change it in our daily living. I saw a screening of The True Cost in London with these amazing ladies staring in the panel afterwards. It was a bit of a fashion dream come true! I met Safia afterwards to sign my Slave to Fashion book!
To follow in the foot steps of these inspiring women and share their passion made make feel like my pioneer fashion path much clearer and stronger and I was fighting for a better and long term sustainable fashion industry.
While I was in London I visited the V & A - Victoria & Albert Museum of London - to see the 'Fashioned from Nature, exhibition. It showed a history of some of my favorite designers who shaped my fashion career in the 80's and inspired me to become and ethical fashion activist - like Vivian Westwood and Katherine Hamnett. These designers stood up loud and proud through their careers and used their fashion to create change socially and environmentally. They had a huge influence on me when I was still at fashion school which I didn't realise until I started the journey of Pure Pod. Seeing their work live was a high light of my trip.
Inspired by Nature - exhibition showed the clear inspiration designers get from the natural world and the stunning botanical interpretations of this into the clothing, art and design over history. It also showed how ideas ethical fashion movement began through these designers and into today's fashion world. I came home with a huge bag of books from my trip! I still have to read them all.
Lewes was a pretty little town an hour or so by train from London. It is an historical town full of beautiful old stone buildings, Roman history, artists, festivals, rolling green hills and sheep. I stayed with our English friend Tanya who we met in Byron Bay before we started Pure Pod. I remember having a wine with her and talking about our dreams of where we want to be in 5 years time. Mine was to have an ethical fashion business so it was great being able to share this UK journey with her and catch up. She took me around all of the best fashion and art stores in the areas in London, Brighton and Lewes. Lots of walking and talking! I found a couple of possible future stockists in these areas.
After my England visit I headed up to lush beautiful Scotland to fill myself in my families history and meet our relies.
I tried to see as many textile, art and fashion things as I could in a short week. Scotland has some amazing galleries and artists. We visited many of the art galleries and local areas in the cities and highlands. We have a history of Scottish fashion and textiles workers scattered through our family which is definitely in my blood.
My Mum's cousin took us to the New Lanark near Glasgow. It was built around 1785 by Richard Arkwright and David Dale on the River Clyde near Lanark Scotland. It was the biggest cotton mill in Scotland and at it's highest point it had 2500 people living and working in the village. Robert Owen became the owner and manager in 1800. It's an amazing place and history in Scottish textile history.
We also visited lots of art galleries, textile and fashion stores around Scotland in between visiting relatives and enjoying the stunning landscapes. It was a dream trip!