Friday, 17 March 2017

CHASING UNICORNS // 6 WHITE HORSES :: FREE AND WILD CHILD BLOG SPEAKS TO DESIGNER SARAH HUMPHREY



Hi my darlings!
I am so excited to share with you the wonderful campaign images from the lovely new brand, Chasing unicorns, alongside with a lovely interview with the gorgeous woman and mother of 4, Sarah Humphrey. You know Sarah from the gorgeous little brand 6 White horses, that launched their first collection in April 2016, to much success around the world. Sarah's style is a lovely vintage and gorgeous fabrics and embroideries, inspired by the lovely 60's and 70's. Sarah spares no detail and she makes magic with everything she touches and her new brand, Chasing unicorns, launches their first collection today in the afternoon! So get ready to fall in love with Sarah's amazing creative talents, all over again!

I am a mother of 4. The eldest is 6 and the youngest 8 months. I live on 11 acres in Goonengerry. It's in the Byron hills right next to federal. A lovely spot. We don't have a house yet. We will build one but currently sleep in a 70's bus and have a shed that we cook and hang in. We have an outside shower and a drop toilet. And LOTS of animals.

Where did you grow up? I grew up outside Boston in America.

How long have you been designing/ working in fashion and how did this all begin? The love and fascination etc. I have no formal training in fashion. I have a science degree and was headed for medical school before I became a travelling vagabond for 10 years strait that derailed me. I have always adored fashion and had a very strong personal style. I've always loved vintage clothing (way before it was "cool". I wore a 1930s tulle gown to my high school prom at the height of 90s minimalism when everyone else was wearing slip dresses) and hand embellishments and have collected it my whole life. Upon moving to Byron Bay in 2008, I got more involved in the fashion industry through friends businesses and occasionally through styling.

How did you come up with the name Chasing unicorns? It has multiple meanings. I'm vintage clothing acquisition, you are always looking for those incredible, out of this world pieces that are rare as can be and close your mind...."unicorns". Also, when I started 6 white horses, it really felt like I had found my calling- it was work but I was so stimulated and fulfilled and happy and it felt like I was doing exactly what I was always meant to. When they label didn't work for internal business partnership reasons, I felt that having a label was like chasing my dreams. Thus, the name "chasing unicorns".

A lot of my readers will know you from the brand 6 White horses, which launched its first collection one year ago exactly and was an immediate success all around the world, even available through Spell / Byron... it must have been a very powerful experience?  I was so happy by how it was received and so grateful for everyones support. I had been confident that it could work but was taken back by how quickly everyone jumped on board and showed support. So much gratitude!

What is the biggest lesson you take with you from 6 white horses that you will apply in your way of doing business with chasing unicorns? To trust in myself! I have the skills and understanding of how to do it business-wise, a very strong drive creatively, a strong ethos to the brand, and an understanding of my aesthetic. I was much too naive in entering a partnership. I believe that partnerships can be amazing but personally, I will be staying away from them for a while.

What music do you find inspire you? I am in love with music from the '60s and '70s and pretty much can't name a single contemporary artist. Life as a mother is busy, how do you find the time and opportunity to get into your creative space? Life is so crazy! I take comfort in knowing that it's crazy for all mummas who are self employed and I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed sometimes. I don't send my kids to day care (just school for the school aged ones) so I literally ALWAYS have kids with me. Finding space is hard but I feel very inspired creatively so I just roll with sneaking moments of work amongst feeding people, breaking up fights and trying to keep my household somewhat tidy...

Have you always had a passion for the vintage and retro? As long as I can remember! I was buying vintage clothing from flea markets before I was a teen and never stopped.

Who inspire you the most? I am inspired by no one person. More of a type of women. I love women who are intelligent have strong opinions and a strong fashion aesthetic. Women who don't look like the masses and who think for themselves. History and current society are riddles with these inspirational beauties!

As you read about mothers/designers of children's wear it's very often brought on by having children... Did motherhood lead you down the road of children's fashion? Motherhood definitely gave the the confidence to enter fashion. Because motherhood cements our sense of self, our priorities and helps us to come into our own strength. Plus, I was feeling like the only clothes that I had for my children that was worth keeping for their kids, was their vintage clothing. I feel too much of what is sold these days is essentially "disposable" which I don't agree with ethically. Therefore, felt inspired to attempt to create a few pieces worthy of being keepsakes. I try to do this by adding special hand finishes to the pieces to make them special And worthy of holding on to, by using natural fabrics that withstand wear better than synthetics (ie: cotton that will soften and improve with age while something like rayon will pill and pull at the seams) and techniques that provide maximal strength on the seams (turned seams as opposed to over-locking).

What made you choose the type of manufacturing you have chosen? Surely this would make production take longer and cost you much more? Yes. But I do not believe in "fast fashion". Fashion is rated as the 3rd worst industry due to chemical waste (in dying, the production of man-made fabrics, the treatment of fabrics) and the physical waste of discarded garments due to over consumption. I believe in things made slowly, by hand, under fair and agreeable financial terms for all and in an environment that is pleasurable to be in ( most of my clothes are made at home by mothers and grandmothers while they tend their kids and house). I believe the human touch on each individual garment is what makes it special.

How important is ethics to you in the way you shop and make clothes? I believe that people should consume less in volume and with a greater level of consideration, consciousness and intention. I believe that people should purchase with the purpose of buying something really special that they love and intend to keep and wear for a long time. This is the prevailing ethos to my own purchasing and my brand philosophy. I have dresses that are 100 years old that I have owned for 25 years and have worn instead of purchasing countless "throw-away" dresses along the way.

I read that you have always searched for the perfect rock jacket.. do you feel that you nailed it with your red velvet jacket? Haha, not nailed it! I'm sure I will think that another is the ultimate sometime in the future but I am adoring it at the moment and I will wear it forever even if another jacket takes it's throne. It is so soft and pleasurable to wear and adds an instant edge to any outfit. .. 

Will this style be available only for adults or children as well? Yes, it will. I am doing kids clothing, woman's clothing and a collection of curated genuine vintage clothing for women and children,

 Can we expect to see a Mongolian lambskin wonder eventually? I probably won't make a Mongolian lamb one.. but never say never...

When does your chasing unicorns collection launch? Hopefully next week! My beautiful web designer is madly working on it while juggling her own 3 children. She is one of us. Xxx Sarah

I am happy to let you know that Chasing unicorns amazing new collection is now live, and you should head right over and have a look, for I know you will fall in love.

Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, Sarah. I know how busy you are!!

All the love and much gratitude

///

Karianne

All images in collage from Sarah Humphrey's instagram account @chasing__unicorns