INTRODUCING NEW DESIGNER ASH WHITE
I'm super excited to welcome the talented, caring and intelligent (yes all three) designer Ash White to our eco.mono family. I first met Ash when we both attended the AMAZING Legacy Summit in Sydney in March this year. Ash originally caught my eye because she was wearing the most beautiful suit you can imagine. We got to chatting and discussed her label and her plans to move to Melbourne to grow it.
Since then Ash White has moved to Melbourne where she drafts her designs and all of her beautiful pieces are made by talented artisans in India.
Ash is honestly so inspiring and incredibly passionate about supporting communities in India. I interviewed Ash to get a better understanding of her brand, personal values and challenges...ENJOY!
Ash White Ethical Fashion
Tell us about your brand and what you do.
Ash White was founded with a simple mission: to support artisan communities and inspire a deeper relationship with what we wear; creating a positive outcome for all. I work directly with rural communities in India who have specialised artisan skills to develop textiles and clothing that is truly one of a kind; natural dye, handloom fabrics and embroidery are our speciality. We like to share the stories of our makers and how our designs are made, which we hope inspires a deeper relationship with our wearers.
When and how did you start?
After many years of searching for a balance between design and humanitarian work, I felt motivated to create my own opportunity to bring positive change.
The idea for ash white was first discussed while travelling on a bus in Goa, India in 2011. I was travelling on behalf of my employer from Sri Lanka and revealed to a fellow passenger that I really wanted to work with artisans to create high end product. 6 years later, a small business loan and many trips to India, I made it happen.
What has challenged you the most since starting your business?
Cash flow is the biggest business challenge, and besides that working with rural artisan groups has it's set backs also as they are not commercially ready to produce product and therefore the development process is so much longer than most and there is a lot of trial and error and problem solving that is needed throughout the design process. Spending time in India working directly with the makers is what I love most and it enables for a clear understanding of the designs I want to make.
Where are your products made?
India, designed by me here in Melbourne.
Meet the makers: Can you tell us about the people who make your products?
We work with artisan groups through organised bodies who help with skills training and business management. Our manufacturer is also GOTS certified and accredited for ethical business practices in Ahmedabad, India.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everywhere; however I find heritage skill and ancient culture very enriching and I love merging these skills with modern day design and form, and together they form a unique story. I also love storytelling and use my own experiences and upbringing as a resource of inspiration. Nature is one of my biggest inspirations in creating shapes and colours and often shoot my ranges and products in nature as I feel everything we need is in nature and we need to pay respect to the ecosystem that surrounds us.
What is your main ethical and sustainable agenda?
Artisan support and skills training, and sustainable fabrics and practices.
Which of the following Values do you align with? *
Fair (Human rights)
Sustainable (natural, organic fabrics etc)
Quick Fire Round!
Just for fun!
If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
An owl; I want to fly and I hear owls are wise.
What is one of your weird quirks?
I hiccup only once at a time and it sounds like a puppy yelping.
What is your favourite movie quote?
I like to look for things that no one else catches - Amelie
You can invite 4 people to a dinner party, dead or alive who would you invite?
Audrey Hepburn, Charles Bukowski, Deepak Chopra and Marie Antoinette
If you where a super hero what would your powers be?
Flying and regenerative powers.
Doo Wop - no matter what mood I am in I always listen through.
Favourite book growing up
Beauty and the Beast