Whether you’re a mother, daughter, friend or lover, we hope you felt the love on International Women’s Day. A day of reflection, love and celebration as women band together to appreciate how far we have come and how far we have to go for gender equality.
While it’s so great to celebrate women on the 8th of March every year, we remind ourselves that it should be an everyday thing. Being in the fashion industry, I’m constantly surrounded by great women. From my mother who raised me and fostered my creativity, to women who are doing amazing things in the sustainable fashion world.
One of those women is Lois Hazel, who is my workshop neighbour and an all-round powerhouse of a human. Lois launched her ethical fashion label in 2015 and she inspires me to keep creating and make a positive change. I chatted to Lois about her beautiful brand of Australian made clothing, sustainable practices and what makes her tick.
Tell us about your sustainable and ethical practices?
All Lois Hazel pieces are made locally in Melbourne. Either in-house in my Brunswick studio, down the road at a family-run factory or by my incredible seamstress, Thi.
Through making everything locally, I’m able to ensure that my makers are paid a fair and living wage, working in good and safe conditions, and putting a face to the hands that help create my pieces.
Another thing I do is use responsible fabrics, such as deadstock fabrics, organic and natural fabrics and traceable fabrics.
Deadstock fabrics are leftover or over-ordered from other designers and manufacturers. This allows us to reuse and divert these materials from landfill, and give them a new life in our customer’s wardrobe.
Organic fabrics such as hemp and cotton are grown from non-genetically modified plants and without the use of synthetic chemicals such as fertilisers or pesticides. They are also natural, so they will biodegrade and return to nature once disposed of. The traceable fabrics we use can be traced right back to its raw form, where it was grown, spun and produced.
There is so much more I can be doing, and I feel I’m always learning new ways to be more sustainable and ethical in my business. Every time I’m able to implement a new ethical practice I get so excited.
What kind of pieces can we find in your collection and how would you describe your style?
I just launched the first drop from my newest collection ‘RISE’ last week, which features a range of new styles, classics and some updated pieces too.
You’ll find some jersey staples made out of an incredible GOTS certified organic cotton, some versatile shirt dresses and tops both with a gathering detail, as well as some pretty special pieces made out of a beautiful plaid.
What motivates you every day?
The people around me. I’m so lucky to share a studio space with a number of incredible creatives. Coming to work every day and being surrounded by people who are chasing their dreams like I am really helps me keep going - especially when I feel like giving up!
My family, they are so supportive and are always there for me through thick and thin. Also knowing that I am making a difference and am a part of the change happening in the industry.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
To celebrate being a women, and take time to appreciate all the incredible women that are in our life.
Check out the beautiful wares from Lois Hazel here.
Other women we love
(and think you will too)
Someone you should follow: Clare Press
Journalist, author and eco-warrior, Clare Press is a passionate activist for sustainable and ethical fashion.
Currently the Australian Vogue’s Sustainability Editor, Clare is also on the Australian advisory board of Fashion Revolution, the creator of her podcast ‘Wardrobe Crisis’ (a must-listen for any fashion decision maker, ie. everyone), and writer of three must-read books.
“What if ethical brands became the norm rather than the exception?” What if every red carpet turned green?”
– Clare Press
Check Clare's podcast and on Instagram: @mrspress
Someone who inspires me: Frida Kahlo
An incredible painter, feminist and a woman definitely before her time, Frida Kahlo is one of the most renowned and iconic female artists in the world.
Born in 1907, Frida had a life of injury, sickness and oppression and overcame it all to become a female voice in Mexican politics. She inspires me to be unapologetically myself, to believe that I can make a change in the world and of course, to always be creative.
She used her paintings as a form of therapy and self-acceptance, with a third of Frida’s paintings being self-portraits. I would encourage anyone to take a dive into her art and history.
“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”
– Frida Kahlo
Someone who empowers me: My mum
My mum was the inspiration that led me to be creative and ultimately study and work in the fashion industry. Mum was creative too, having sewn her own clothes (mum's chevron dress in the photograph was designed and made by her!). She always encouraged my creative pursuits growing up, teaching me how to knit, crochet and sew at a young age - which I absolutely loved.
Mum devoted her whole life to my family. It wasn't until I got older and left the family home that I realised this. I think at that point I learned the power of self-advocacy and self-empowerment and the impact it has on a woman's life.
Because of mum, my creative outlets have always been there for me - encouraging me, fulfilling me and pushing me to higher plains. Without those things in my life I would probably carry more self-doubt and concern about my place in the world.
Having a creative outlet is a powerful thing and, if you haven't already, I encourage everyone to explore something that you can lose yourself in - find your niche. I was lucky enough to find mine early in life.
Thanks to mum and to all the amazing women in my life,
Clare Press quote: https://peppermintmag.com/last-word-clare-press/
Clare Press images sourced from @mrspress
Frida Kahlo images: