Leather love: The St. Agni story
We’ve been wildly inspired by St Agni founder, Lara Bluett, ever since she and her husband first opened their doors in Byron Bay in 2014.

What is a quality you love about yourself and another you love about your work?

The qualities I value most about myself are my determination and positivity. I think these have been crucial in enhancing so many aspects of my life. In work I love being able to have flexibility and diversity.

How was St. Agni created and why?

My partner and I started St. Agni from square one. We had $3000, little to no experience and not a lot of free time (due to us both having full-time jobs). What we did have was an idea to create simple pieces we felt were difficult to find in the market. We launched the label in 2014 with just three bags and it has been growing ever since.

Can you share the story behind your name, St. Agni?

St Agni, pronounced ‘saint ag-nee’, is the name of my Nona. She really is a true saint in our eyes. Nona immigrated to Australia from Greece in the 1970s when my mother was four. She lived through many obstacles and is a true inspiration to everyone she encounters. Her attitude is so positive and she is the most kind, gracious and caring person.

What are the values of St. Agni?

The values of St. Agni are basically our personal values that extend through our lives and our company:

  1. Be kind — to others, to yourself and to the earth.
  2. Be authentic and genuine — we aim to be real in everything we do, including what we produce and how we communicate.
  3. Quality – create quality products using natural materials.
  4. Be passionate – passionate in our hearts and minds.
  5. Enjoy the journey.

Where do you source your materials and how important is sourcing quality/sustainable products?

As we have grown, the places we source materials from have also expanded. We try to source our materials locally and in close proximity to where the product is being manufactured. It is also really important to us that the materials we use are natural. Tracing the true source of our materials is something we want to improve on — it’s a big job to trace where every piece of hardware originates, but it is certainly something we are working towards.

What is your favourite part of the creation process?

I actually enjoy all parts of the process. I really love the beginning when we research and imagine up a new season, and then I love sampling and seeing our ideas start to develop. And, of course, I love seeing when it all comes together and then merchandising it in our stores. By the time all of that is done, I’m ready and excited to do it all over again for a new season. Our seasons are relatively slow compared to a lot of other brands, so it’s nice to enjoy every step. We have recently hired another designer and it’s great to be working alongside someone else and bounce ideas around.

You note that St. Agni has a love of nostalgia. We’d love to hear more about how you weave nostalgia into your products.

One of our favourite references when researching new collections is the past. I love taking something from an era like the 1960s and making it new and modern, and putting our twist on it.

How does your location in Byron Bay influence your designs and brand?

I feel so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful corner of the world. Byron Bay is a really unique place in that there are so many flourishing start-up businesses here and they all support each other and work together to grow and learn collectively. Byron is really relaxed, which influences our design and colours. You can’t help but be inspired here.

How would you describe your personal style?

It’s very simple. You will likely find me wearing vintage denim and a simple white tee most days. My wardrobe is basically all denim — white and natural. I don’t buy into trends; instead I invest in pieces that I will wear for years and items that are made from natural materials.

What do you think the future of fashion is in terms of sustainability?

This is a huge question to answer. Unfortunately, I don’t think fashion can be sustainable. Buying new items isn’t entirely sustainable, however I think it’s about making the right choices when we choose to consume. It’s best to avoid fast fashion items that will end up unwanted in landfill. Some ways you can do this is by buying from brands that have recyclable or biodegradable materials and packaging; by choosing natural fabrics; and by choosing pieces you will want to wear forever.

The brand is expanding rapidly with the opening of your new Brisbane boutique. Where do you see St. Agni in a few years’ time?
We are really happy with how things are going and where we are at. The business has grown so fast and now we just really want to nurture every aspect and focus on all the amazing partnerships we have built and grown, as well as our team, and ultimately create a really strong foundation. Then perhaps open a few more stores!

For more, visit st-agni.com