I moved to Sydney two years ago and live in Coogee, a coastal suburb, which has great beaches. Australians have an enviably insouciant style I try to emulate. Simple outfits are pulled together with vintage jewellery, fabulous sunglasses and a hat. The city style is definitely business chic, and as the temperature rises, comfort is a priority. Neutral dresses in breathable fabrics, such as linen and cotton, and smart open-toe heels are staples.
From once having an all-black uniform, with an emphasis on layering against the cold in Ireland, my clothing choices are now a lot more feminine. I wear more pastels as well as floaty dresses, light denim jeans and tank tops. In the process of adapting to my new environment, I’ve discovered local brands owned by young female entrepreneurs, who prioritise sustainability: Sabo Skirt, Arnhem clothing and Peony swimwear are my favourites. Surprisingly, I have also been converted to loving Birkenstocks which I never liked before.
At the weekend, there are lots of different districts of the city to explore. Newtown has excellent secondhand thrift stores; then there’s Hope & May boutique in Bondi Bay, Spell in Byron Bay and Zulu and Zephyr which all champion quality, sustainability and creativity. Australians love finding secondhand items and giving them a new lease of life, and companies such as Cotton On have great sustainable initiatives.
These principles align with our family business, White & Green, which makes high quality organic bedlinen. I work alongside my mother Sari, a former interior designer, and my sister Rebecca, who used to be a professional singer. We each bring our diverse experiences and expertise to the business. As a model I walked the catwalks in New York, Paris, London and LA and now I try to bring my insights into fashion and design to White & Green. We work directly with organic cotton farmers and our Fairtrade factory in India. All of our products are certified organic, no toxic pesticides or dyes are utilised in the production. This means longer lasting bedlinen, softer with every wash. Since we launched White & Green in Australia two months ago, we’ve had a very positive response. Our bestselling items are our bundle sets which offer a full bedsheet set at a discounted price. Our silk pillowcases are also very popular and are cruelty-free as no silkworms have been harmed in their making, and we can’t keep our cotton scarves in stock due to demand. Part of my job is to raise our profile and also lead by example. I now buy less but more wisely than I did when I was younger. I never buy cheap fabrics like nylon or polyester. I find the culture of buying a dress for one occasion and never wearing it again quite ridiculous and, of course, very damaging to the planet.
Photograph by Andrew Ratter
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