New botanic fashion label with eco layers

As models took to the catwalk at Raj House in the city of Adelaide last week, Lauren Crago saw the fruits of her design labour appearing in more ways than one.

Not only was she showing the first ever Solomon Street collection of ethical clothing after a hard year planning and designing – the collection also centred around her own designs featuring bold, fruit-inspired prints.

“At the moment the designs are inspired by fruit and vegetables, there is a real beauty in them,” Lauren says.

“The current prints are focused mainly on apricots and figs, they hold a special place in my heart with family, my mum and grandma, and my love for cooking…. I have great memories of me and my mum picking figs.”

The clothing range is also remarkable on another layer. All the garments were made from carefully selected, sustainable fabrics including recycled fishing nets, and were printed in Australia. The label was greeted with strong support for the launch at the Feast Festival headquarters in Adelaide’s West End.

Among the family, friends and loyal customers were other local makers and those involved with other eco fashion brands including Huntermade and organic sleepwear label Jager.

Solomon Street’s pieces are centred around fruit and vegetable prints and made from sustainable fabrics.

It’s been a whirlwind month for the entrepreneurial 25-year-old as her burgeoning label also opened its first bricks and mortar home in historic Regent Arcade off Rundle Mall with support from Renew Adelaide.

In a world dominated by consumerism, Lauren says it’s been a passionate pursuit. She first started Solomon Street to sell eco-friendly biodegradable textiles and stationery online about a year ago, creating bound books she designed and cut herself along with cards.

The name for the clothing and stationery label came from the street in the Adelaide CBD where Lauren previously worked at Fairweather coffee as a barista.

But she kept her eyes on the end goal; to produce her own eco fashion label. She is now creating bold designs then taking them to a Melbourne manufacturer for the fabric to be printed.

The fabrics range from organic cotton, a linen and cotton blend, and recycled nylon made from fishing nets in Italy, used in her line of swimwear.

Garments including bathers, leisure wear and jumpsuits are then sewn either by Lauren or through another Adelaide business with the final products landing in the store or being sold online.

Lauren Crago recently celebrated the opening of her bricks and mortar fashion store in Regent Arcade, off Rundle Mall.

“My inspiration comes from changing the way businesses behave, we are a very consumerist society, the fashion side of things is a large part of the business,” she says.

“There are so many facets to the designs. I wanted to create clothing that was comfortable to wear but in a flattering silhouette, it’s reminiscent of the ‘70s, A-frame dresses and flared, wide-leg pants. They are vibrant and fun but comfortable and they will last a really long time.”

It’s been a boost for Lauren, moving into the like-minded hub of Regent Arcade.

There’s a vegan juice bar nearby along with Have you met Charlie?, a gift store featuring homewares, jewellery and prints from independent South Australian makers, many with a sustainable bent.

Oh Deer Sugar is nearby with its non-edible bakery making ‘food for the skin’ bath and body products – all handmade in Adelaide using cruelty free, vegan ingredients to replicate desserts.

And there’s the small design studio Leatherworks Adelaide that specialises in quality, handmade leather goods. It’s owned by Lauren’s family friends and she created the store branding.

“I’m really excited to be in Regent Arcade, it’s known as a hub for a lot of young and up and coming designers in Adelaide and being part of that cohort is pretty cool,” she says.

Solomon Street’s line of swimwear is made from recycled nylon from fishing nets in Italy.

Lauren is also working hard to make Solomon Street a zero-waste brand with the current packaging bio-degradable and products which can be recycled or are also biodegradable.

She also says customers buying her clothing can bring them back for alterations – like tightening straps – to ensure they last longer.

There are plans to use some of the sales profits as loans for those experiencing poverty to gain financial support.

“I want to create ethical and sustainable fabric and paper products from beautiful prints that fund life-bettering projects for our local and international community,” Lauren says.

“We believe that humans are innately generous and kind. Our beliefs lie in the idea that even as one person, one team, one community, we can make the world into a better place.”

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]


Kangaroo Island spins its own unique wool story

When sheep and grain farmer Christine Berry walked into a Japanese clothing store and saw suits tagged with ‘made from Kangaroo Island wool’, she couldn’t resist buying a jacket to take home to Australia.

“When we walked into United Arrows, it’s like Myer in Japan, and saw a suit presented so beautifully and with the Kangaroo Island label it was wonderful, it was so powerful,” the chair of Kangaroo Island Wool says.

It’s been a dramatic change in approach for the collaborative group of 22 shareholders and producers who joined forces in 2012 to create a new way to market and sell their wool.

Before Kangaroo Island Wool was jointly started with veterinarians Greg Johnsson and Deb Lehmann, local producers would sell their produce with little idea of its end destination.

“Traditionally, our wool would take us 12 months to grow on the island, we’d shear and the bales would go to Adelaide and then be sold in Melbourne, we’d have no idea where it would go,” Christine says.

The fabric of the island.

Now they can trace where their wool lands in a global market and they are paid a premium for the high quality product.

This year, they’ve even managed to take it to the next level in selling their own range of wool jumpers, beanies and scarves online and at seven Kangaroo Island stores.

“For me personally, I’ve always wanted to wear a garment made from wool from our farm,” Christine says.

“I do now, I wear a jumper every day made from our wool, it makes me feel proud, I love what we do on Kangaroo Island.”

There’s a strong emphasis on sustainability and animal welfare for the producers who mainly sell through their biggest customer, Australian Wool Network.

The network combines Kangaroo Island wool with New Zealand possum fur to make luxury knitwear for MerinoSnug, and is now also helping to produce products for the group’s own brand.

In fact, it was Kangaroo Island that was the first region in the nation to help launch the Australian Wool Network’s unique Direct Network Advantage (DNA) wool supply program in 2015.

The DNA scheme enables consumers to follow the wool’s journey from bale to garment – when they buy a MerinoSnug product it comes with a QR code to scan and links to a video showing how the wool was produced.

Kangaroo Island wool grower Geoff Nutt.

Christine says the group is committed to a code of practice ensuring farmers focus on sheep health and welfare, social good and environmental care.

And, as a result, the company has a reputation for producing high-end fibre, consistently producing wool finer than the national average.

“As professional woolgrowers our simple philosophy is that looking after our sheep will ensure they look after us,” according to the group.

As demand for the group’s new range grows, it has employed Lucy McNaught as sales and marketing officer and plans are afoot to design a 100% Kangaroo Island wool rug with a local artist.

“On the island we have beautiful food and we have beautiful wine and honey, we know people love that but they are all consumables and we thought there was space for a tangible product for people to buy and take home to remember Kangaroo Island,” Christine says.

At her own farm Deep Dene, she cares for more than 5000 merino sheep with her husband Lloyd and daughter Caitlin.

Kangaroo Island Wool chair Christine Berry.

Lloyd’s parents arrived as Soldier Settlers in 1955 and when Caitlin returned to the island in 2015 after studying animal husbandry in Adelaide, she became the third generation to be farming the land.

They also crop 600ha with GM-free canola, broad beans and wheat, and “we can trace where everything we produce ends up,” Christine says.

Much of the wheat is sold to South Australian company Laucke Flour Mills at Strathalbyn for bread flour and Arnott’s for biscuits.

The family is part of a proud history for the island that began farming sheep in 1836 and, at its peak, was home to 1.24 million of them.

Others among the Kangaroo Island Wool ranks are third generation farmer Simon Wheaton, whose family has been working land across the water from Kingscote at Redbanks for 100 years.

While Mitch Wilson is a fifth generation farmer whose ancestors arrived from England in the early 1860s, buying land at Willson River in 1867.

He and his wife, Ros, now shear about 12,000 sheep a year.

“Wool is a natural, renewable fibre, and Kangaroo Island Wool is dedicated to the long-term development of an industry that is socially and environmentally responsible,” the Wilsons add.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>

These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:

Major Partner[logooos_saved id=”5491″]Program Partners

[logooos_saved id=”29687″]

Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

[logooos_saved id=”32128″]

Harvey The Label stitches towards a sustainable future

In a world of fast fashion, one South Australian label is standing out from the crowd by designing and producing socially sustainable clothing.

“One of the core elements of our mission statement is not to mass produce,” explains Harvey The Label founder and designer Mim Harvey.

“I only order enough of each style to fulfil our wholesalers’ orders and stock our Rundle Street flagship store.”

The garments themselves are naturally sustainable due to their multiway styling – some having the ability to be worn up to 17 ways.

Adelaide’s Mim Harvey, of Harvey The Label on Rundle Street.

With the designs not being tied to seasonal trends and made with trans-seasonal fabrics, they can work back with every wardrobe for years to come.

“The Harvey ethos is to make designer clothing accessible, wearable and versatile,” Mim says.

“All clothing and prints are designed in-house from our Rundle Street office, above the store, which gives us daily feedback direct from our customers to our design room.”

This year has seen Harvey The Label take flight from Adelaide to the runways of New York, for the 2018 Fashion Palette show, held during New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

“The organisers of Fashion Palette had seen us via our Instagram and the influencers we work with and extended the invitation,” Mim says.

“We were amazed with the outcome. After the runway show, we had five meetings a day with agencies and stores reaching out to us. To say we were overwhelmed when we got back is an understatement.”

Harvey The Label at NYFW’s Fashion Palette.

Mim has since been in contact with major US-based PR and sales agencies and has signed with POSH Showrooms in LA to begin the wholesale expansion of Harvey The Label into the west coast.

“Our US expansion strategy is a slow and curated one which we are not rushing as we need much more re-con and to see the fruits of the seeds we planted while over there.”

Mim is now back on home soil and gearing up for this year’s Adelaide Fashion Festival (AFF).

“It’s an amazing opportunity for our local fashion community to shine and showcase their work on a well-publicised and celebrated platform.”

Harvey The Label will feature in the SA Designer Showcase on Thursday 18 October alongside a number of other talents who have pursed their fashion careers in the state.

Harvey The Label at NYFW’s Fashion Palette.

“We will be showing our SS19 collection from the NYFW runway and also debuting some pieces that will be shown on the AFF runway for the very first time,” Mim says.

“It’s a romantic collection with a clash of prints, colour, signature multiway pieces juxtaposed with florals and bold linear prints.”

Joining Harvey The Label on the runway in the SA Designer Showcase is a mix of emerging and familiar favourites, including: Binny, Cinquante, Georgy Collection, Holiday Trading, Katya Komarova, Naomi Murrell, Ryderwear, Stephanie Chehade, Sylvy Earl, The Daily Edited, Tiff Manuell, and The Wolf Gang.

The runway show will be styled by Vogue Australia fashion editor Philippa Moroney, who has featured local designers and models regularly in the pages of the famous title.

Connect with Harvey The Label on Facebook and Instagram.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

[logooos_saved id=”13411″]

Streaky Bay’s Courela Clothing keeping shearers happy for 30 years

Enter a shearing shed anywhere on the Eyre Peninsula and it’s likely you’ll spot the Courela Clothing logo slapped on a shearer’s trousers.

The Streaky Bay business has been a shearer’s brand of choice for 30 years, with customers in the US, UK, Europe, New Zealand and Israel donning the South Australian-made gear.

Courela Clothing has come a long way from its beginnings in the 1980s in Kerry and Noel Johnson’s lounge room.

Kerry began making shearing clothes from home for her husband Noel – a former shearer also known as ‘Grub’ – while their young children were at school.

Word soon spread throughout shearing sheds about the comfortable and hard-wearing pants, made from breathable, stretchier ‘shearer’s denim’.

Kerry Johnson of Courela Clothing. Photo courtesy of the West Coast Sentinel.

“We would drive miles and miles to sell gear at regional shops and rural areas,” Kerry says.

“There wasn’t a lot around because there was no internet then. Thirty years ago you couldn’t just Google things, you had to use the Yellow Pages.”

The Courela Clothing line consists of three key pieces – shearing trousers, singlets and jumpers.

Made from a stretch denim cloth, the trousers are high-waisted and can withstand greater wear and tear compared to typical denim jeans.

“They are long-lasting and the fabric doesn’t catch prickles which can be in the sheep’s wool and perforate through normal fabric,” Kerry says.

“Shearers often pick up a sheep with their hands and the sheep rests on their legs as it is shorn, so there is abrasion on the inner legs all day.”

Kerry says the designs have evolved over the years, with Noel and her son often giving feedback on the clothing after being out on the job.

“They’d come back and say the fabric wears out here, and this needs to be fixed,” she says.

With the word about Courela – which is also the name of their family farm – having spread throughout the Eyre Peninsula, it soon became a well-known shearing clothing brand across Australia and overseas.

“Shearers travel overseas a lot, and that’s how the word spreads,” Kerry says.

“We have a local man here who has travelled every year to Italy for the last 25 years to shear.”

Kerry estimates that Courela Clothing has sold “thousands” of items over the past three decades.

A team of five staff work from the Courela workshop at the Johnson’s Streaky Bay property.

Noel also sells and repairs shearing tools and equipment.

While the rural town isn’t as renowned for shearing as SA’s Limestone Coast, Kerry says it’s still home to many mixed farms.

She is one of four daughters who all were taught how to sew by their mother from a young age.

Aside from handling a sewing machine, they also know how to work the shears.

“I wasn’t a prissy little girl, my dad taught me how to shear when I was about 12,” Kerry says.

“Shearers are a very diverse bunch, but they’re generous and really down-to-earth, hard-working blokes.

“It’s predominantly a man’s world, although not as much these days as there are many women shearers.”

The improving gender balance in the shearing industry was made evident this week when TAFE SA announced that a 25-year-old woman had become the state’s first female to complete a Certificate III in Shearing.

Kerry says one of Courela Clothing’s biggest achievements was its ability to survive in the manufacturing world.

“Our biggest achievement has simply been surviving as a small business, that to me has been the biggest challenge,” she says.

“It’s hard work, and we strive to keep our quality.

“Supporting small local businesses is so important because it means jobs for our towns.

“Plus, people know they’re getting something that is Australian-made.”

[mappress mapid=”265”]

Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>

These inspiring regional stories are made possible by:

Major Partner[logooos_saved id=”5491″]Program Partners[logooos_saved id=”17589″]Major Media Partner[logooos_saved id=”5506″]