In our latest designer profile we sit down with one half of the team behind new accessories label auor to talk design, art and slow fashion.
For some time now, I have been pining for something green. Perhaps its because spring is now here and verdant greenery is seemingly everywhere. Or perhaps its just that green is just a damn appealing colour.
As is often the case these days, I found just the fashion item to fill my green coloured void while casually scrolling through Instagram. There they were: celery green hoop earrings just begging to find a home on my ears. They were divine and with a hit to my credit card, I made them mine.
Those babies, along with other jewellery, eyewear and delightful bits and bobs, were made by new accessories label auór. Founded by Claire and Kristen, the label specialises in minimal, timeless designs that are made for the long haul. I caught up with Claire to find out more.
Leiden: How did auór come to be?
Claire: Auór happened very organically. We both worked together in the textile industry for three years before we established the brand. Kristen has a background in product design and myself in marketing and social media. It was a natural evolution from where we are at professionally and personally, combined with a genuine love and passion for fashion, and more importantly quality handmade products. We both also have a background in Fine Art and are graduates of UNSW Art & Design in Sydney. It’s been an easy and fun venture for us both and we are so lucky to have a strong working relationship as well as complimentary aesthetics. Auór is a curation of what we love and are interested in — eyewear, accessories, photography and art.
L: Take us through your design process.
C: Our eyewear and accessories are designed by us in Australia, with an emphasis on classic and simplistic styles which are made to last. We work directly with our production team in Italy to bring our ideas to fruition and only use carefully selected European materials for our products. It’s a joint process and we adore our team in Italy and their meticulous attention to detail. Our production team makes our eyewear in the traditional way. Each component is 100% handmade in Italy from the acetate used to make the frames, hinges and lenses. They even hand paint the logo and product information on our eyewear.
L: Tell us about your commitment to fair practice. Where are your products made and by whom?
C: Our products are manufactured in southern Italy. It is a small local factory where many young designers and producers from the region work. We know our makers personally and visited them for the first time in January this year. For us, it’s extremely important to be transparent and committed to fair practice, and we know our products are achieved through the best and fairest working conditions. A clean and ethical environment as well as fairness for both consumers and producers is at our core.
L: You are committed to slow fashion and creating designs that are made to last. Why is this important to you?
C: Auór isn’t about mass production. We are committed to making short runs of our products which are unique to the individual. Kristen and I want people to feel like they aren’t wearing what everyone else is. We advocate for good quality because we want our products to last the test of time and stay with people for the long haul. Personally, we both really adhere to that ethos and save to buy from brands who we know think in the same way.
L: From what or whom do you draw inspiration?
C: We are constantly sharing and bouncing ideas on a daily basis from all sorts of avenues: film, theatre, art, exhibitions, photographs, magazines, music and contemporary dance. Kristen still works in the design industry, and me in the performing arts at Carriageworks and The Opera House so that keeps us really engaged with what’s happening. I’m also completing my masters in fine arts, so I’m around creative and ideas people all the time.
Our favourite brands within the fashion community are Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Anna Kras, Kathkeen Whittaker, Sophie Buhai, Batsheva, and Paloma Wool. We all share a soft, feminine, elegant look and view of the world. Last night we saw the beautiful musician Julia Jacklin perform at The Landsdowne Hotel and both walked away with matching t-shirts. Huge fans. Couldn’t help ourselves. She’s a wonderful and inspiring woman!
L: How do you hope to see the broader fashion industry change with regards to how sustainability and ethical practice is considered?
C: We’ve spoken again at great length about this lately. Sustainability and ethical practice is something that is automatic for us, we both have experience working for fair trade organisations. Far too often, and particularly the retail experience in Sydney, we no longer have small independent brands with shops to ethically buy from. We’d like to see that shift. The online world is easy and efficient but there’s just something so nice about going into a local shop, knowing the owner, touching the products, having a chat and we feel that’s really missing. We hope to open up an auór shopfront in Sydney one day, and hopefully encourage others to do the same. Let’s bring the dynamic Australian independent fashion community we have back!
L: How would you like consumers to consider these issues?
C: By supporting the little guys, the fashion start-ups and thinking twice about where their products come from. We want to attract real people, who care about the world and interact on a meaningful level. If we can impact just one person about ethical buying we’ve done our job.
L: How would you like to see auór grow from here?
C: I think we’d both like to see auór grow into a dynamic retail experience where it’s not just about the product, but also creativity and dynamic thinking. We’ve got lots of artistic ideas bubbling away and people we’d love to collaborate with. The future is bright and there are no limits.