Tell us about yourself.
I am a Yorta Yorta/ Boonwurrung mother, nature protector, artist, designer, campaigner and founder of Amber Days. I am so lucky to be a single mother to my beautiful three-year-old daughter, Sapphire, who is my main muse. Together we run Amber Days. Based in Melbourne, Amber Days is made for mindful, adventurous, free-spirited kids.
What was your initial vision for your ethical children’s clothing label, Amber Days?
In the beginning I had so many visions for Amber Days. I wanted to create clothing you could trust to be ethical and sustainable; clothing where every process had been thought about extensively. Unfortunately, the fashion industry has a detrimental impact on the environment and people. More often than not, those impacts are felt by women, First Nations people and people of colour (POC). When we make decisions for Amber Days, this is always front of mind. You can trust that we have researched and made the best choices we can.
At the heart of Amber Days is your support of women. Please tell us more about this.
Supporting women is very important to creating a more fair and just society. Our current systems still oppress the most vulnerable and marginalised people and women make up a huge percentage of this. To address climate change, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, POC injustices, LGBTQI+ rights and many more, we need to support women and address the systems that are currently in place and not working. Women are healers, creators of life and the strength behind our communities.
What are some of the ethical and sustainable values behind your brand?
In every decision we make for Amber Days — even down to smaller choices like our compostable packaging — ethics and sustainability are at the forefront. We only use GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic certified fabrics and all the dyes used in printing are plant based and GOTS organic certified too. We split our manufacturing between our small eco-family-owned manufacturer in India and a few seamstresses in Melbourne.
To us, our social responsibility isn’t just the production; it’s so much more. It’s in every decision we make for our label. We are always thinking, is there something more we can do to improve the outcomes of our community and environment?
In what way does your brand reflect the stories from your mob or culture?
We share our culture through all aspects of Amber Days. Telling stories is part of our rich history and something we have been doing for 60,000+ years. Collaborating with other Aboriginal women through art prints is one way we share and showcase culture and stories from all across our country.
In each collection, you collaborate with different Aboriginal artists to produce original fabrics. Please tell us more about this.
Our collaboration with all our artists happened in a really beautiful way. I haven’t really had to “find” artists. For our first collection, we collaborated with one of my favourite artists, Lara Went. Lara is the founder of Yukul Art and a Worimi woman. Worimi country is on the mid central coast of NSW and her country is also my daughter’s father’s country, so following her art is a nice way to keep Sapphire connected. I was sitting at my local cafe and decided to email Lara and ask if she would be interested in collaborating. She said yes and I literally cried in the cafe.
That was when Amber Days changed from being a dream to becoming a reality. That first collection, Earth Mother, shares a beautiful story about treading lightly on this earth and the deep spiritual connection around our mother and child. It was the perfect artwork to launch Amber Days as it represents everything about our brand: mother, earth and child.
With our second collection, Nurtja, I contacted RMIT and asked if they had any Aboriginal textile design students. They connected me with Taylah Aimee, a beautiful, vibrant, sunshine of a woman. Taylah and I made plans to catch up for coffee and when we saw each other in person, we realised we went to the same primary school and she was in the same year as my brother. I instantly connected with Taylah’s glowing aura and knew I wanted her to do the artwork for my next collection before I had even seen her art. When I saw her artwork, I was even more excited about the collaboration as it’s amazing. We both grew up in the Dandenong Ranges on Wurundjeri Country and that next collection was designed and inspired by the magic of the Dandenong Ranges, so it was just meant to be. The collaboration was even more magical than I could have imagined.
Our third collection, Wanala, will released in September this year. We collaborated with an incredible fashion and textile designer, Arkie. I had been a fan of Arkie on social media and had the same feeling I had with Lara and Taylah — I just needed to collaborate with her. I sent her a message on Instagram and when she said yes, I cried again in public! Arkie is from the desert, Kalkadoon and Bidjara country, which means we have collaborated with an artist from the bush, desert and sea. It feels like a nice showcase of artists, artworks and culture.
What are some of the ways you share your culture through your fabrics?
All of our fabrics and artwork tell stories of country and culture. We have passed down stories for tens of thousands of years, which is the way we continue to pass on stories to all children. Our pieces are a way to start conversations and allow children to ask questions about culture and also talk about conservation of Mother Earth. I love seeing children’s inquisitive minds as you tell them stories not only about the art, but also about country.
What can non-Indigenous people do to support Indigenous people?
There are so many ways to support Indigenous people, like buying from Indigenous businesses. Purchasing from Indigenous labels can sometimes be deceiving as there are a lot of non-Indigenous-owned businesses selling clothing with Indigenous artwork, so do your research. Buying from Indigenous-owned labels not only strengthens self-determination, but also decreases cultural appropriation and Indigenous artists getting exploited.
Another great way to support Indigenous people is to educate yourself. This is so important. Although it might seem easier to ask Indigenous people to educate you, this becomes a toll on Indigenous people. It can mean reliving trauma every time we have to repeat traumatic experiences and it also takes up time we could be using to better ourselves and our people.
Donate to organisations like Sisters Inside, Change the Record, Original Power and others that are doing life-changing work.
What are some of your favourite Aboriginal social media accounts?
- WAR — Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance
- Arkie the Label
- Taylah Aimmee
- Yukul Art
- First Nations Fashion + Design
- Allara Briggs
- Alice Skye
- Jacinta Keefe Photography
- Earth Blended
What’s next for Amber Days?
We are excited to announce that in our upcoming collection we are releasing a women’s collection! Keep an eye on our socials and sign up to our mailing list to be the first to have a sneak peek.
For more, visit amberdays.com.au